May 11, 2016

Advertising Eats The World

It's difficult to imagine that there was a time, not long ago, when advertising was said to be "dead."
  • In 2004, research company Forrester & Co, proclaimed that we had reached “the end of the era of mass marketing.
  • In 2009, Advertising Age, said “the post-advertising age is under way.” 
  • Advertising Is Dead,” headlined the Huffington Post last year, 
I'll save you the tedium of reading the thousands of other quotes about how the web was ushering in the death of advertising.

What has happened, of course, is exactly the opposite. The web and all other forms of media have been bitten, chewed, and swallowed by advertising. All media are now prisoners of the advertising business.

Media aristocrats are now walking around with their knickers down begging advertisers to have a peek.

They will do anything, and eschew no compromise in integrity, to get their sweaty hands on advertising dollars. The New York Times said it best:
"Caty Burgess, the senior vice president for media strategies at the CW television network, said, “Is the question, ‘What is an ad?’ or ‘What isn’t an ad?’
The squalid corruption of media is not just limited to product placements and "native advertising" (gag me) in TV, movies, print, and online. It has now infected the news.
“We believe branded content and native solutions is a large-scale opportunity for Time Inc.,” Joseph A. Ripp, chief executive of Time Inc., 
"Branded content" and "native solutions" are just fancy-ass bullshit for advertising disguised as editorial. (And just a word, Mr. Ripp, "branded content and native solutions" are two different things and require a plural verb. But I guess we can't expect much from the chief executive of a major publication these days.)

And if you think this kind of whoring is limited to second-rate media...
"Many publishers, including...The New York Times, have formed what are essentially internal agencies that create ads for brands. And many already boast of success, or at least the promise of it."
Jennifer L. Wong, president of digital for Time Inc., says they are...
 “...helping brands develop original content” and added, “Working with us is easy.”  
Remember when the news industry saw themselves as protectors of integrity and enemies of irresponsible horseshit? Not any more. Now, if you have money to spend “Working with us is easy.” 

The Times says online advertising is about to surpass TV as the largest consumer-facing medium. Other sources still claim that TV is about 25-30 billion larger than the web. But whatever numbers you choose to believe there's one thing that's incontrovertible: The fast and loose ethics of the web have infected all other media.

This is a terrible development for civil society and a looming danger to democratic institutions.

Our news media have always been privately subjected to the insidious pressure of marketing hustlers. But never before have they so proudly auctioned their virtue to the highest bidders.

The only fools bigger than the ones who claim "advertising is dead" are the imbeciles who say "the consumer is in charge."

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