And even though marketers are responsible for many of us buying piles of tat we don’t need, interest in television shows such as drama series Mad Men or a magazine documentary such as Channel 4’s Top 100 TV Adverts (2003) shows you don’t have to be a fresh-faced marketing wannabe to be interested in the advertising that populates our world or the creativity that’s gone into making them. Continue reading
Everyday robots just touch phones.
Image: Aaron Lee
Goldsmiths’ marketing and branding department needs to be congratulated for making their latest advertising campaign so spectacularly bad it’s funny.
From September 2011, you could find the advert below for Goldsmiths’ 2012 intake on trains travelling on the east London line:
Brands. They’re much more than colourful logos these days. They define policy, service quality and the personality of a company. And these days, companies are increasingly interested in giving customers an identity through their brand. In other words, companies and the idea of ‘branding’ have evolved to appeal to your values and personality. You only have to look at the astronomical uptake of Facebook fan pages to realise at people like making aspiration statements about themselves.
While the progression from print and billboard adverts, to television and now the internet has had many transformative effects – mostly advertisers’ globe reach, the subject of branding and ideology is one that’s given me much to ponder. Particularly where journalism sits, in the no man’s land of cajoling PR hands and a duty to audiences to provide balance, facts and truth.
After all, media is a business and a business aims to make money. My university studies and wider reading into the financial and ethical influences on journalists has helped me to look at such topics in a commercial, but also moral, way. It’s like shifting roles between promoter and advisor. It’s the combination of intellectual material and associated values that are packaged up to make a media brand. For example, when the sales team at Elle, NME or even Official PlayStation Magazine are pitching to advertisers, they’re referring to me and you as the magazine’s ‘imagined audience’. The values and beliefs of a magazine’s imagined audience can be quite different – for Elle they might be targeting young, aspirational women, with plenty of disposable income and who regularly indulge in new fashions. And they want to convince advertisers that their readers trust the magazine brand like an intimate friend, so will be receptive of the recommendations (paid adverts) from that friend.
For me personally, I have to admit that over the years I’ve slowly surrounded myself with more and more brands that some part of my subconscious probably hopes will build an ephemeral identity of association for me: OPM, Edge, MCV, The Guardian, Wired, BBC Click. Picture the scene; I’m at a plush delegate’s party. All the attendees are media players, people who could set me up with my dream job. I’m nervous. Gulping down a bubbly alcoholic beverage, I approach a circle of editors, radio presenters and TV producers. “So, what do you read?” says one. “Oh, you know, the usual…” I say, and begin to rattle off a long list of brand names that I’m hoping they associate with creativity, curiosity and intelligence.
Buying into intellectual brands does give me the substance I need to enrich my mind with established publications’ style, views and stories, as well as the important stimulus to keep me striving towards my goal. But too large a proportion of the media sees people as ‘consumers’ rather than ‘citizens’ nowadays. Business is important, but I’m a liberal people person first and foremost. Brands aren’t bad in themselves, but what’s more important are the people and substance behind the ‘consumer ideology’ and that the public are aware of them (the Nestlé boycott sticks out in my mind). I’m motivated by sharing facts, stories and opinions, and though I’m just another impressionable mind, I don’t plan on letting the brand men take me or my craft without a fight.