Oxymoron of the Week: Institute for Advertising Ethics

ashtray ROFLMFAO.  According to Advertising Age, “the American Advertising Foundation is teaming up with the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute this week to launch an Institute for Advertising Ethics.”

Led by an apparently undiagnosed Alzheimer’s victim named Wally Snyder, the new Institute aims, of course, not for the inherently impossible and ridiculous — honest advertising.  That is a pure oxymoron, as the entire point of modern corporate marketing is scientifically crafted deception.

What the new Institute wants to achieve instead is, of course again, “building consumer trust and brand loyalty in the new global and digital economy” by getting “[t]he advertising industry [to] take a proactive stance on ethics.”  Advertising advertising, in other words.

The promise?  In Wally Snyder’s words, “research reported by the Wall Street Journal showed that consumers are willing to pay more for an ethically produced product.”  Translation:  If you can trick people into thinking your trickery is honesty, you can trick them even better.

Meanwhile, the American public remains dangerously mis-informed on this topic.  Ad Age reports:

In a 2007 Gallup/USA Today Poll, advertising practitioners ranked third from last among professions in public perception of honesty and ethics, just ahead of lobbyists and car salesmen.

When it comes to dishonesty and manipulation, lobbyists and car salesmen are mere dabblers compared to corporate marketers.

Remember When?

click for larger view

Remember when the government raised MPG requirements for automobile manufacturing, and the industry complied? It was in the same epoch in which commoners could also deduct their credit card interest from their tax bills.

Heard either idea from Saint Change?

Not quite…far too busy abandoning campaign promises made to voters…

Etrade: Selling Stocks With Racism

racismWhile stuck watching the profoundly moronic and outdated Belmont Stakes in my apartment’s exercise room last weekend, I encountered E-Trade’s notorious “black baby” commercials.  I almost fell off my treadmill.

Watch this appalling shit here and here.

As the white baby controls all aspects of the situation and voices all the reasoned thoughts, the black baby sings, trips out, echoes white logic, and makes a sexual come-on.  Can you imagine these ads getting made and aired if the skin colors were reversed?  No chance in hell.

I guarantee you that all of this was carefully planned by E-Trade’s marketing team.  As I documented in my book, The Consumer Trap, big business marketers are extremely sensitive to racial stereotypes, and are driven by the logic of their enterprise to exploit and perpetuate, not challenge, them.

The other important aspect of this blatant neo-racism is that it is targeted at elite audiences, who absolutely eat it up, not least because they think it’s a great thing for they themselves to be willing even to look at and possibly, maybe interact with a black person (both acts they have only recently begun to contemplate).

The truth, of course, is that contrary to long-running claims that Joe Sixpack is the source of all benightedness, our lovely overclass has always held by far the worst and least accurate view of human beings and human affairs.

All Creep, All the Time

duckcreepBack in the hoary yesteryear of 2007, there was a minor brouhaha over the State Farm Insurance Company’s placement of its logo on the cross-bars of basketball stanchions during NCAA games.  At the time, The New York Times‘ fine advertising columnist, Stuart Elliott, reported on the marketing advance, naming it as a good example of ad creep.

Elliott contacted State Farm marketers, who disclosed their motives:

“Consumers consume media differently from three years ago,” said Mark Gibson, assistant vice president for advertising at State Farm in Bloomington, Ill. “It’s not enough to just run a 30-second commercial in a program.”

This admission of existing marketing-stimuli being “not enough” was, of course, followed by de rigueur professions of the corporation’s tender concerns for “consumers”:

In seeking alternatives to traditional ads, State Farm’s goal is “naturally, seamlessly integrating
the brand into a venue in a way that doesn’t take away from the event,” Mr. Gibson said.

If it causes disruption or becomes something people don’t like, it’s an issue,” he added, “and
consumers will let you know in their own way.”

So far, Mr. Gibson said, there have been no complaints about the signs. They are appearing at
universities that include Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Brigham Young, Florida State, Iowa State, Marshall, Miami, North Carolina State, Purdue, Texas A&M, the University of Colorado, Vanderbilt and the University of California, Los Angeles.

“State Farm was very sensitive about the schools doing this and didn’t push if a school felt it
was not right,” said Greg Brown, president at the Learfield Sports division of Learfield Communications in Plano, Tex., which represents 32 universities in their dealings with corporate marketers.

“The college landscape is a much more reserved landscape than Nascar or a variety of other
sports enterprises,” Mr. Brown said. “There’s headroom in what we do, by comparison, but we
don’t do something the schools won’t agree with.”

Mr. Brown says he believes “we’ve struck a nice balance” with the State Farm signs, because
they are visible to fans at the games as well as viewers on TV but are “not in your face.”

Time travel with me now to the year 2009, won’t you.  What do we find here?







What’s Leaving YOUR Wallet?

Click here to peruse the credit-card “change of terms” notice I got yesterday from Capital One.

“The rate will be determined by adding 26.15% to the Prime rate.”

This game is so over, folks…

Don’t hold your breath for help.  Hit the shred button instead.

The Plug-In Drug

Here it comes, folks.  They’re beginning the serious ramp-up for selling you “hybrid” automobiles.

This sales effort is going to rely on you remaining woefully under-informed about the basic physics of cars and cars-first transportation.

They want you thinking like this:

To keep you there, they have to hide many facts, including the fact that, in this universe, nothing comes from nowhere.  Hence, having everybody frequently rolling around at high speeds in fragile metal boxes with up to 8,000 often complex parts in them is always going to be the quintessence of an unsustainable activity.

Making lithium-ion batteries, for instance, requires vast extraction of a finite natural resource, production of which starts like this:

As the corporate capitalist hybrid hype mounts, you are also going to continue to be denied access to knowledge of the fact that, even in the best-case scenario — complete fleet replacement, the cessation of aggressive driving habits, etc. — plug-in hybrid  electric vehicles (a.k.a., PHEVs) would only reduce per-vehicle petroleum use by 45% in the USA.

Meanwhile, “the long-term incremental costs of these vehicles are projected to exceed US$8,000, with near-term costs being significantly higher.”

In other words, who among us is going to be able to buy these rolling distractions-from-reality?