Monday, May 12, 2008

After All Tomarrow is Another Day

(Watch title video link)

Advertisement: the action of making generally known; a calling to the attention of the public.

How does something so factually defined in a dictionary, become an integral part of our seemingly organic lives?
From as early as 4000 BCE ads have been influencing mankind: Ancient Arabia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and South America were some of the earliest places to actively involve advertising in their daily lives. Some of the first advertisements were implemented in the persuasion of government. This presented a choice: a purpose for advertising. When people could identify with the Ad, a part of them was instantly defined. In our society, it is apparent that we are increasingly defined by the brands we support. We have become members of genres, symbols, prices, and fashions. We have been defined like a product because we have neglected to maintain definition. We are told to "network ourselves" and "sell ourselves": words that are used to encourage us to a path of success.

What is the cost to mankind?
My sister is 12, and she is in sixth grade, an average student. This week she was doing a project about Rome and Greece. She was copying down notes from her textbook and adding them to the brochure she was assigned to make, but it seemed that every five minutes she would ask me for the answers. When I sent her back to the book to find the answer she would give up. She continued to give up throughout the day. Overall, it took her about five hours to do this simple task because she did not take the time previously to familiarize herself with the material. As soon as we got in my car a Hip Hop song came on and she knew every line. I saw this as more than just interest in music over school work; I saw it was an issue with priorities. Schools as well as children are neglecting true education. It is estimated that most kids from ages 6-17 spend about 20% of their time on academics, 30% sleeping, about 10% of their time watching TV or being on the computer, and the other 40% being around peers and adults. Thanks to advertisers working 100% of the time to reach out to these children they spend about 70% of their time being marketed to. This creates an unfair, and intentional, advantage for marketers. It also creates a type of planned obsolescence that prohibits children from making the transition from consumers to innovators. In the city that I grew up, the number of teachers and schools are dropping because of insufficient funding. Our schools do not have the option of competing with our advertisers because of this deficit in public schooling. However, if anything deserves the attention of the pubic it is this. It is as if we a battling for our youths education. When they are defined by genres, symbols, prices, and fashions 70% of the time, they lose insight to the past and foresight that we rely on for the future, and this is the dangerous affect this human branding has on society.

Outside the box:
There is a comedy "Idiocracy" that pokes fun at this idea, but there is an undertone that is very possible. Our "average American" could easily be one of the most intelligent people in the world in 500 years. It is my belief that marketing is dumbing-down our personal intelligence. By requiring nothing from us, other than support. Marketers want to make a brand experience, but what if we recognized experiences as something that is owned intrinsically and were able to identify marketing as a process. In this case I don't feel that the lines of importance would be blurred between education and consumption, or any other human crisis. (This graph show a slowed increase of both academic involvement as well as public providers)

How can I help?
I feel passionately about marketing in the sense that I would like to help in redirecting where I feel marketing is guiding society. By small strides and support of meaningful integration of marketing we have the opportunity to make all ads meaningful. People can be defined intrinsically and intelligently, and we can value the experiences that have made us rather than the brands that make define us.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Classes Classes and Champeign Glasses

As most Alfred University Students say cheers to summer, I am rolling out the red carpet overseas for the Cannes International Advertising Festival. Alfred University offered me this amazing opportunity in this spring, and I have been looking forward to it ever since.

We have had classes to familiarize ourselves with our itinerary, and the way that the marketing world is evolving; but I'm looking forward to going overseas for my very first time! I took French for five years, and though I've lost my fluency in it, I like the idea of being a part of that culture. I just know there is so much to learn and I'm walking in with wide eyes.

Recently, we learned about how websites and online resources are becoming the one-stop-shop of social networking: You need to have infinite outlets. However, this seems like a hassle. I feel frustrated when I see that Facebook has a chat function that it didn't have before. There's no arguing that these hybrid type social networks are the most successful, but it's important to stay on board because, like with Facebook, if your timing is off you could just annoy people.

After some further reflection, I couldn't help but relate it to the idea of a grocery store. People used to go to the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker. But now it's the grocery store and everything is in one place. The more centralized and user friendly our online resources are the more successful they should be right?

Well, I can't help but think of my peers and those younger than me who really drive the popularization of the major social networks. Looking back at high school and junior high I know that everyone wanted to have their "thing". Whether it be a sport, club, or click, people just wanted to feel elite. Thus, builders of these websites have to watch out for the emergence of these wonderful subcultures and really nurture the to grow.

Of coarse this is all old news, but it is just me slowly working out my understanding of social networks, blogs, and online influence.