Tuesday, January 18, 2005
It's the basic conundrum of marketing. You have to advertise to compete in the marketplace, but the more ads there are, the more people tune them out, so you have to continually find newer, brighter, shriller ways to get attention.
Meanwhile, as the advertising industry devises new ways to get its messages across, technologies are continually being developed that make it possible for people to skip or avoid ads. Online, you can use browsers like Firefox, which blocks pop-up ads. You can fast-forward previews on DVDs (as you have been able to do for 20-some years with videocassettes). You can skip commercials with TIVO (as, again, you have been able to do with shows taped on video). You can even share movies or TV shows online, ad-free.
These attempts to skip commercials offend some television executives.
"When we watch ads, we become the media's workforce," says Sut Jhally, author, media critic and founder of the Media Education Foundation. "They are, in effect, organizing our time. They have even said that there is an implicit contract with the audience. If a person chooses to watch a movie or TV, they say it's immoral to skip the ads."