“I don’t know,” she recited, as if litany, “where you get all that.” “Don’t you ever follow the stories in the ads?” he asked, as if it was the most obvious question in the world. “No,” she responded, and her tone, as well, suggested she thought this the most obvious of truths.
In recent days, two television adverts, one for an insurance company and another for home security services, have drawn my attention for alleged customer testimonial that skipped over first responders. No, really:
• Crime, therefore call insurance company before callng police.
• Fire, therefore call home security company, who in turn called fire department for you.
In truth, I have no idea how to feel about this. And, you know, there was also something else that flitted by in those spots, but, honestly, the implications of spinning narrative would be entirely on my own conscience, and it’s not a pleasing prospect; even worse would be noticing something we are expected to notice—you know, a feature, not a bug. Never mind. It is enough to simply wonder at skipping out on first responders.
The death of the click, as such, sounds dramatic:
For the past 10 years, we’ve operated on the premise that the most important digital metric is the click that refers a person to a website. That click usually comes from a social distribution channel, like Facebook or Twitter, or a search engine, like Google or Bing. But according to industry experts, the click referral is becoming an idea of the past, soon to be replaced by content exposure.
It would behoove us to pay attention. To the one, it is already happening. To the other … er … ah … well, yeah, there is, in fact, a point to wondering what the big deal is. But that’s the thing. As the Axios report explains:
Clicks look like a high-performing tactic, but a lot of work is done to get you to type something into a search bar to begin with,” AdRoll President Adam Berke tells Axios. Marketers are starting to attribute marketing success towards content exposure that drives you to click something, instead of the click itself. Two key formats increase content exposure: video and passive scrolling. Google and Facebook are investing heavily in products that embody these formats: YouTube and Instagram.
The bottom line is that your daily habit isn’t going to change for evolving necessity; rather, how you interact with the world will become more and more bound to theses of behavioral economics applied within a marketing context intended to backfill its justification post hoc―that is to say, your behavior will change to suit someone else’s business model.
And, yeah, that might sound a bit dramatic, but most people probably won’t notice, except to grumble a bit, like they did with Apple and … I don’t know, that dating app.
Meanwhile, for the business community the definition of success becomes even hazier. Good enough for government work, is better redefined as, Good enough for the tech sector. Then again, the definition of government work might well be unsettled for the momemt, as well, so … you know.
Fischer, Sara. “The death of the click”. Axios. 20 February 2017.
I’m not sure how I feel about this.
First note: I don’t use Yahoo!, except on the occasion that some blog post leads me to Yahoo! News.
Second note: I do, obviously, use Facebook, but I’m not what you would call a fan of the site.
Either way, I’m uncertain about the idea of such targeted advertising. Indeed, when using the “Login with Facebook” feature at various websites, I take a moment to make certain I’m not littering my timeline with a bunch of automatic notifications. And because of the way Facebook likes to tell everyone what its users are doing, I generally don’t respond to invitations to play various games, or enter my birthday on a calendar, and so on.
To the other, it’s Facebook, so … yeah. I kind of knew what I was getting into when I signed up for an account.
But I would prefer my social networking to network according to my wishes. I do not accept the proposition that my friends, or the world in general, need to know everything I’m doing online.
Some friends have finally given me a reason to play around with that social networking phenomenon known as Twitter, and for the time I won’t knock it. Nor will I encourage it.
But Twitter, indeed, brings me today’s great betrayal. No, no, it’s not anything profound. I’m not talking about the Obama presidency. Nor would I deign to comment on Disney’s posturing as a family-oriented company. Rather, it’s just a small thing:
As we contemplate the complexities of the reality check presented us by the proposition of a bunch of Hollywood A-listers getting gaga over British royalty, we also note with quiet and passing dignity that social networks are just one more way in which the internet allows truly clueless people to feel important.
I don’t know. These people are following me. Likely because I got myself one o’them Tweedledee thingies. You know, so I can Twit my grocery list to … oh, never mind. It’s a stupid joke, anyway.
But, yes, apparently some rich, famous folks in southern California were made slightly uncomfortable by having to think about eating under regal scrutiny.
Yeah. I needed to know this. Look, if a robot is going to “follow” me, can it at least be an intelligent one? I’ll even take sinister. Yeah, like those slow-assed shiny things from the original Battlestar Galactica series, with the Vocoder talkboxes? Yeah. I’d love to be chased by one of those. I can outrun it. The damn thing can’t shoot straight. And it sounds really groovy when I’m stoned.
Oh, right. Betrayal. Yeah. Reality check. Tinseltown and royalty. Those two sentences are very nearly mutually exclusive.
Rule number one of Twitter: If you want to Tweet, get used to looking like an idiot. Well, in the first place because you’re Tweeting. And, in the second, a lot of stupid people will follow you just because they want you to think they’re somehow important or admirable, yet they’re just morons who would suggest that some manner of “reality check” can be achieved by giving a damn about what Tom Hanks thinks about Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
Two words: Old Navy.
Two more words: “Booty Reader“.
See, this is what the censors of the 1980s Music Wars never figured out. The advert is not offensive because it includes fortune telling. It is not offensive because it includes tight asses in tight jeans. Rather, it is offensive because it is ultimately stupid.
Many believe that there is no such thing as bad press, and perhaps in the case of Old Navy, the axiom still holds true. For my part, though, seeing an advert like that does not inspire me to shop at Old Navy. Indeed, it reminds me why nobody should ever shop there, for anything, for anyone, or for any reason.
Old Navy can hang itself, for all I care. If it went away tomorrow, the only reason I would notice would be that the world suddenly and mysteriously got better. As such, it is in a class not of its own, but alongside FOX News, Levi Johnston, and Chevrolet. That is, I don’t attend any of these things, but I would probably notice when their worthless spectres finally disappeared from the world.
Step away from the goddamn booty, indeed.
For my generation, those simplistic “educational” reels alleging to inform people about vital issues have become something of a cultural joke. To wit, The Simpsons, which frequently mocks these films, as in “Homer’s Odyssey” (nuclear power), or “Bart’s Friend Falls in Love” (sex education).
On Friday, in the Washington Post, Washington Senator Maria Cantwell and Republican Susan Collins of Maine, wrote:
There has been much talk recently about whether Republicans and Democrats in Washington can produce a bipartisan clean-energy and jobs bill. The answer is: We already have.
Already have produced, yes. Already passed in the U.S. Senate? No.
Which is why, with clean energy now at the front of everyone’s mind because of the very dirty energy that’s on perpetual display down in the Gulf of Mexico, Cantwell is headed to the White House this Wednesday (along with Harry Reid, John Kerry, and others) to talk with President Obama about what needs to happen—and what can, realistically, get through the Senate.
Which brings us back to simplistic informational films:
It’s simple: If they can deliver ….
I know, I know. It’s Congress, and trying to be bipartisan, at that. Still, though, if Sens. Cantwell and Collins can bring us everything that video promises, I’ll raise a glass to their honor, at least.
Best of luck to them.
And there is this, last week, from Monica Guzman for SeattlePI.com’s Big Blog:
They say Seattle is a secular city, but not everyone here agrees with the statement on the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s latest Seattle bus ad.
Photographer Josh Trujillo spotted this alteration on a Metro bus last week. The full message? “Yes, Virginia … There is no God.”
Freedom From Religion is no stranger to controversy — even here. Last year the group stirred up trouble in Olympia when it placed a sign alongside a Christian Nativity scene in the Capitol announcing calling religion “myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”
This year’s holiday-themed message is a bit more tame, but no less stern, said foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor.
“The main purpose is to express something that’s true that doesn’t get said very much — there is no god — and it shouldn’t be a taboo,” she said. “If people are mad about it, it’s because it’s true.”
And she also put together a lovely little capsule timeline of the last twenty-five years of Washington state’s blithering and dithering over religion.
Happy Winter Feel Good Time! May these days, and all others, too, treat you well.
Some people just don’t appreciate subtlety. Still, though, it’s other people catching these little moments and posting them, so even though I would have done it without the big red letters mucking up the scene, my hat is off to a fellow named Jerry who forwarded this image along to one of his favorite columnists:
And that one came in response to this capture:
Perhaps the phrase background sexism seems a misnomer to some, but here’s the thing: While many of us—including men—would claim feminist sympathies in our outlook, it seems that a woman’s value is all too often integrally linked to her sex appeal.
Consider the image at right. While there is always something to be said for aesthetics in advertising, there are other forms of beauty—both generally in nature and specifically about women—that are not sexual. Yet advertising appeals to sexuality because marketing data suggests that doing so is somehow effective.
What, then, does this say about the people who compose the marketplace? Would the advertisement be nearly as effective if, instead of a “hot” woman, the spot used a buff, handsome man?
After all, what is a sexy man? The buff, clean, handsome man is often associated with gay appeal, and there is often a sort of Janet Weiss thing among women: “I don’t like a man with too many muscles.”
So what is sexy among males? Emo? Intellectual? Savvy? Archetypal physical specimen? What is the generic male equivalent of the “hot chick”?
Men can be successful or desirable according to a fairly diverse array of standards, but there persists, front and center in the culture, the necessity of a woman’s sex appeal. And perhaps front and center is a strange place to find background sexism, but more often than not, even those of us who would pronounce our feminist sympathies either look past the hot woman in the advertisement, or simply play along.