Growing up during the 1990s, many afternoons were spent in front of the television set in the living room, watching TV and being entertained with an animated show for about five minutes, followed by ten minutes of commercials, returning to another five minutes of show, then more commercials. This repetitive process would continue on any weekday for about four hours until being called to the table for dinner or from 7:00 a.m. until noon on Saturday morning.
Being bombarded with commercials targeting appropriate age groups advertising everything from sugar-filled breakfast cereals to the newest Lego sets was what most people were actually turning in to watch. What is commercial marketing if not that. Sifting through the content we were being exposed to, the shows indeed themselves were commercials, created and sponsored by the corporations who manufactured the playthings. For example, during the closing credits of “The Transformers,” anyone can clearly see the name of the toy company Hasbro quickly appearing at the end. For those who are younger, the Bandai toy manufacturer’s name appears following the conclusion of every episode of “The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.” Coincidence or manipulative marketing?
Unfortunately children who were raised during the “pre-daily-use-of-the-internet” era have not outgrown the sneaky marketing techniques utilized by many firms. In fact, the tactics have become even cleverer almost to the point of delivering their messages subliminally and hidden. Many have become so frustrated with the constant stream of commercials that they have unplugged TV and considered cancelling satellite-provider’s services. The reason for this action is due to several mistakes businesses have made when it involves marketing their product:
Affiliating every product or service with sex.
Audiences understand that firms want to grab their attention in the first few seconds before they get up for a snack or use the restroom during a commercial break. However, they do not need to be reminded of what they could be enjoying instead of the candy bar or alcoholic beverage they are about to consume. Sometimes a Snickers Bar is just a candy bar and a Bud Light is just a beer.
Assuming everyone in Generation Y wants the newest cellular telephone or vehicle.
Observing members of this generation as well as myself being considered a “Gen Y”, not all of them have the fancy office jobs or make the well-compensated salaries to purchase the newest electronic device. Currently they are more concerned with finding better jobs, making enough money to survive, and being able to afford the basic necessities such as food and shelter.
Stereotyping and offending your target market, especially those who cannot afford your product.
Not only does this coincide with the above-mentioned mistake, but with the “baby boomers” as well. They do not need to be reminded of their inadequacies in the bedroom on top of their other problems, such as not having enough capital to pay their mortgage or not being able to afford next year’s model of automobile. Doing some research will yield a more accurate and highly discussed commercial.
Directly referring to a product in a television show without attempting to hide it.
There is obviously a great reason for product placement in a TV show: to continue producing more episodes of that show. Producers of the show, if they want to continue doing this successfully, must do so subtly such as placing the item in the background or mentioning it in casual conversation between characters but not in plain site and for five to ten minutes.
Causing many people to feel sad and depressed with some of their holiday-timed commercials, especially those involving couples and happy families.
This is self explanatory, but for those businesses who want to exist for another year, do not remind single people every few seconds during Christmas and Valentine’s Day about how alone they are. Watching TV is supposed to inform and entertain, not to condescend and upset. There is already enough stress and hopelessness in peoples’ lives; please do not remind them yet again of what they do or do not possess.