Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pet Peeve: When Real Advertisements Become Fake News


Every year this drives me insane: various news outlets and bloggers "reporting" on the advertisements which will run (or have already run) during the Super Bowl.

"Here's my favorite Super Bowl ad," one blog exclaims, while another asks, "What's your favorite Super Bowl ad?" Meanwhile, all the Yahoos and Huffington Things (see above) and etc. offer helpful "Watch all the Super Bowl ads here!" features. TV news programs actually show commercials for free as if they are news!

Look, while ads can be entertaining, they are not entertainment. If you post something like the above on your blog or website, you are not "reporting" nor are you "informing" or, really, doing anything at all other than being a massive sucker and airing ads for free. The existence of expensive commercials on a widely watched television program is not news; it is to be expected.

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.

11 comments:

Fran said...

I could not agree more. And many bloggers think that they are being funny, cute, or even wildly imaginable when they do this. Thanks for reducing the ad budge and increasing the reach and frequency for free, suckers!

(BTW, what is this Super Bowl that you speak of?)

Peteykins said...

It's some kind of "sportsball" thing.

HRH King Friday XIII, Ret. said...

"Brought to you by Carl's Junior."

dianegsocialist said...

Yes. We are so warped by commerce. It's tragic and it may kill us all off eventually.

Paul Sunstone said...

Good post!

I can't imagine the advertisers doing anything but laughing at all the free exposure their ads get.

samael7 said...

I blame this on the "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" 1980s, actually. Not the show. Just the 80s obsession with money.

Once upon a time, it really kinda-sorta was "news" that giant multinational corporations would plop down millions of dollars on an ad slot. I also recall that many of those commercials would use then-cutting-edge production tech in those ads, which was also a kind of "news" to people who hadn't seen or heard of it.

It's no longer "news," of course, since it happens every damn year. But the onslaught of these non-stories (see also: Super Bowl halftime acts) will continue to assault Petey and the rest of us because the ROI for such lazy/easy reporting is high. Lots of buzz for very little work.

* I use "news" in scare quotes only partly because I have a pretty severe definition of "news." But also because the lines between news and entertainment and commercialism have also been steadily erased since the (you guessed it) 1980s.

** I also think some of this is the way that football and television came of age alongside each other. The Super Bowl was designed to be a televised spectacle. But that's an armchair-and-cognac musing for another day.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they ever talk about the ads that we'll see during the Puppy Bowl? Now, THAT'S important.

Johannes der Taucher said...

OMG!

I've been going around, acting like a know-it-all, calling it "The Superb Owl."

desertwind said...

They don't call it The Stupor Bowl for nothin'.

Liquid said...

I gave my partner a copy of 'Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television' for Christmas a few years ago, and he leant it out before I could read it. However, he relayed huge chunks to me as he was reading it.

It's written by a former ad exec who was there in the advent of modern television, and one of the things he argues is, like the soap opera, TV was essentially seen as an ad-selling tool -- not figuratively, but literally. (It's one of the reasons why he quit the business.) So, I'm not at all surprised by the phenomenon you're talking about. And happy to hear it railed against.
It's well worth a read.

Lulu Maude said...

I happily missed it all, but I noticed complaints, not lists of favorites, all over the 'net yesterday.

I can only imagine the ads' target audience...