If you work in the advertising industry, you never get off work. I had to find that out again yesterday, when I just wanted to throw myself on my old living room sofa with a cold beer and stare at the TV for an hour. Finally, a bit of a switch off. No way! At the sight of the golden-yellow brew in my glass, images of trench-coat types falling backwards into the dune sand on the beach popped into my head. Scenes of styled zeitgeist adventurers sailing “away” on an all-knowing ship. And then you get to hear: “Look only. Don’t touch.” Or something like that. But can I really still assign all the images and words that spread in my mind as soon as I hear the trigger “golden yellow” to the right products? I’ll put it to the test: my hit rate is shameful. What’s the matter?
When I was a kid, the advertising world seemed clearly defined to me: Ads with pretty pictures in magazines. Clementine with her detergent on TV. The Marlboro Man on the billboard. Today, on the other hand, everything seems to be advertising – the ringtone for the cinema spot for the cinema film with the brand of car the hero drives, the cinema advertisement for the computer game for the football World Cup with the perimeter advertising and the club sponsor logo on the jerseys for the exclusive beer brand of the event in the Easycredit Stadium next to the Arena, the home of the Sinupret Ice Tigers …
… and as I write this, various banners are flashing at me in my browser window (no idea for what). I click away several pop-up ads to finally read in peace. At the same time, on the supposedly so neutral TV news, a well-known politician poses in front of a car whose manufacturer is acutely threatened with bankruptcy due to the financial crisis …
Advertising permeates all areas of life today. This makes it hard to keep track of everything. If you want to attract attention these days, you have to come up with something special – like an annoying screaming child who just slams dairy products at your ears. Or just guerrilla marketing, the magic word of the last few years. This can go well, like an advertisement for a charity. There, on a live news broadcast, a person would periodically show up to steal a glass of water. Donations poured in because the whole thing was likeable, funny and wacky. Or the guerrilla campaign is a complete failure because no one understands it – for example, when fake Internet pages created especially for a campaign look so “real” that the user never realizes the actual purpose.
In general: the transition between reality and advertising is sometimes so fluid that one can almost feel queasy. For example, when in the middle of a midnight sale for a cult computer game, the bloodied victim of an assassination staggers through the crowd and everyone initially thinks it’s a publicity stunt.
But let’s face it, aren’t we all a bit of an advertisement already? With the cool Jägermeister T-shirt. With the red Ferrari baseball cap. With all the claims that have already found their way into our everyday language.
Are you still alive or are you already advertising? I’m not that stupid!
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