Sunday, February 17, 2008

If he was such a great leader, the ads wouldn't be necessary

Terry O'Reilly has one of the most outstanding programs on CBC radio. Entitled The Age of Persuasion, he exposes the sordid underbelly of the advertising/marketing world. And O'Reilly is fully qualified to tell us about how we've been manipulated, psychoanalyzed and misled by the captains of free-enterprize because, as he readily points out, he's been there. He's lived in the marketing world and his program provides us with a view of marketing most of us would never see. Best of all though is that O'Reilly goes to the headwaters. He explains where modern advertising originated and how it got to where it is today. He explains "the countless ways marketers permeate your life, from media, art, and language, to politics, religion, and fashion".

When the Harperites unveiled their latest political advertising scam I immediately thought about one of Terry O'Reilly's recent programs. In fact, I thought about the underlying theme in many of O'Reilly's programs: marketing has nothing to do with whether a product is a requirement in your life, or whether it's useful to you, or even if it even does anything; marketing is about convincing you that you want it.

So, I was taken back to Terry O'Reilly's program on political "attack" ads: There's Never a Marques of Queensbury Around When You Need One. It's worth listening to all 27 minutes of the broadcast.
Terry explores the long history of “attack ads” and political dirty tricks, and shows how changing media have changed the nature of election campaigns, from a discussion of issues to an assessment of personalities.

Major campaign ads are assembled by hand-picked “dream teams” comprised of many of the greatest creative minds in the business. Yet somehow these campaigns invariably descend into a paint-by-numbers litany of personal attacks and stratospheric promises.

To voters they’re a blight, but to broadcasters, they’re manna from heaven: prompting hefty airtime buys from warring parties, and fueling news and political panel shows (who respond in kind: giving free airtime to the more incendiary ads.)
Throughout the program, that same underlying theme remains. The product (in this case a politician) may be completely and utterly useless, but the marketer is there to get your mind off that possibility in an attempt to get you thinking something completely different. To persuade you, by bombarding your senses, that you want what the marketer is offering.

And our own Wingnuterer has provided a pictorial which echoes Terry O'Reilly's message.

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