Privacy for America!

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Our overclass doesn’t lack for chutzpah. As reported by Advertising Age, corporate marketers are hoping to get Congress to pass new “privacy” rules for data-use. By “privacy,” they mean “exposure,” of course.

The comprehensive dishonesty of the effort’s official explanation would, like the very name of its sponsoring group, make Big Brother choke on his Irish coffee. It is also, to put it one way, a true sign of the times.

The real story here is that the proposed new rules would, as Ad Age reports, be gestural and toothless, and would, thanks to their existence at the federal level, put a stop to individual states trying to create actual limits on big businesses’ behavior-surveillance efforts.

For students of propaganda, one interesting — and demanding — task would be to add notes and revisions correcting this official mission statement, to make it speak the actual, behind-the-scenes truth about its actual purpose. Literally every sentence here would require important changes. Some sentences lie with their every single word.

And this is no side effort. As Ad Age explains,

Five of the ad industry’s largest trade bodies have banded together to create “Privacy for America,” a coalition that aims to sway Congress in creating federal legislation on consumer data privacy.

The trade bodies — which include the 4A’s, Association of National Advertisers, Digital Advertising Alliance, Interactive Advertising Bureau and Network Advertising Initiative — are in a race to influence Congress in how lawmakers create federal guidelines surrounding user data for digital marketing.

Companies including Google, Facebook, AT&T, Hearst, Conde Nast, Disney, CBS and Amazon are all represented by trade bodies in the new group.

Frequent readers will know that TCT is fond of repeating Robert Heilbroner’s quotation about the dire long-term implications of building a human culture around telling ornate lies for money. As “Privacy for America” shows, we now have a culture in which the most powerful players tell ornate lies about telling ornate lies for money.

Jimmying the System

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Jimmy Fallon is to comedy what Pat Boone is to rock-and-roll.

No wonder, then, that he is helping his paymasters pioneer a return to the days when advertisers didn’t pretend to be separate from the content they push.

The problem, of course, is that we, the people, hate advertising and have recently gained some increased ability to avoid it. Hence, in this “free market” system, we have to be forced back to doing what the system requires us to do, which is expose our sensory organs to the marketing stimuli that are the point of the whole media/tech shebang.

The Work of the Eardrum Managers

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How do the agents of big business marketing who manage enterprises in the realm of audio broadcasting view their customers? Like all corporate marketers: as animals to be controlled on behalf of profit-seeking sponsors.

What, in the audio-commodity endeavor, is the experience their wares are designed to mimic? What is the lure?

“We’re companionship,” Robert Pittman, CEO of iHeartRadio, tells Advertising Age.

Big Brother, as always, would be purple with jealousy. Corporate radio and the headphone/earbud life are now passing as togetherness.

Farewell to an Empty Soul

Lee Clow image Very sorry, but TCT just has to ask it: At what point did he drop the “n”?

The marketing press just now is abuzz over the retirement of Lee Clow, the Chiat/Day agency bigwig whom Advertising Age breathlessly describes as “the creative mind behind ads like Apple’s ‘Think Different’ and Adidas’ ‘Impossible is Nothing.'”

Marketing honchos provide an interesting window into the psychopathology of excessive privilege. Having spent their years creating particularly shameless forms of propaganda, they are usually, upon such occasions, extra loquacious about their own endeavors.

To celebrate his own retirement, Mr. Clow, who obviously fancies himself something of a hippie/rebel, has released a “love letter to advertising.”

What’s in it? Apart from triteness and narcissism, very, very little.

Fascinating, meanwhile, that the big farewell of a supposedly major brain who retires the same week as scientists warn about the impending extinction of all insect life on Earth has nothing to say about the various wider effects of an industry that exists to “make people…maybe even buy something.”

History, should we figure out how to continue it, is very unlikely to smile upon the solipsism of such multi-millionaire clowns.

Meanwhile, it would be interesting if we were somehow able to debate how much creativity really went into “Think Different” and “Impossible is Nothing.” Doesn’t seem all that impressive, does it?

Hicksie-Palooza

The Super Bowl’s extra-lucrative marketing flow always lures forth some deserving new recipients of the much-uncoveted Golden Hicksie.

2019 will apparently be no disappointment.

Behold the forthcoming SB ad for one of AnheuserBuschInBev‘s wares:

Could anybody cram more iconic mediocrities into one small frame? Jeff Bridges and Sarah-Jessica Parker? The Coen Brothers? The post-feminism of Sex Man-Chasing in the City? The sleep-inducing bore who is the Big Little Lebowski? Stella Artois beer?

Golden Hicksies all around! Shame on all these rich, over-rated people and things. May Bill Hicks’ immortal words haunt your nightly dreams.