Advertising isn't Dead

I'm studying abroad with 8 other college ladies in the U.K. for the next few weeks. We're studying Jane Austen, and for one of our assignments we were asked to watch the new 'Becoming Jane' movie and compare the plot with the events in Austen's actual life. For the purpose of this blog, I will put aside my feelings about the movie itself and attack another issue.

Anyone who has traveled to Europe know there are 20 minutes of commercials intermixed with previews before a movie itself. In this 20 minutes, two rows of very giggly American girls (myself included) burst into peals of laughter during each and every commercial shown. They were entertaining, engaging and made people who are very used to ignoring commercials pay pretty close attention. Moreover, these commercials were for products familiar to each one of us- products we use regularly- whose commercial we all ignore.

So why did we all laugh to the point of annoying the rest of the audience? I think part of this was because they were new commercials. We saw common products in a new light, and inevitably our British counterparts had seen these ads numerous times already. There is something to be said for a heavy turnover in commercials, though. If you're trying to keep an audience, they have to be entertained. More than this though, I think some of these commercials took more risks, and pushed the propriety envelope a little father than any of us were used to.

In any case, the post-movie conversation involved the film as much as the commercials. This made me think that the never-ending conversations about how advertising is dead are completely unfounded. It's not dead; maybe it just needs a little tweaking.



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