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Shows or rip-offs?

By Ian Nance - posted Wednesday, 16 December 2009

We live in a society in which we pay to have advertising inflicted upon us.

For decades we purchased our newspaper without understanding that the main economic objective of newspaper publishers is the revenue from advertisements. News and magazine-style articles are the hooks for our purchase, but there would be no financial gain in printing these without advertising. That is the tree on which the money grows (allegedly, in these times!)

Take another form of perceived entertainment - pay television. This is more in the newspaper model; paid entertainment for the subscriber, coupled with lucrative advertising revenue.


Cinema advertising takes a similar position, by charging substantial admission fees then inflicting screen ads on captive audiences.

At least with free-to-air television if we do not wish to watch the ads we can always change channel to the ABC - then be regaled by advertising for ABC Shop products. Or not watch TV at all!

Advertising has been a feature of our capitalist society for a very long time. It is the main way that potential consumers can learn about new products, or services and works best with a high frequency of impacts, coupled with a memorable style.

It can position advertisers very positively in the consumer’s eye.

That is, unless you were a recipient of some of the deliberately irritating and gross television advertising I used to create when working for ad guru, John Singleton. Our strategy was very carefully planned; to make advertising that could not fail to be noticed, and our retail clients’ cash registers showed outstandingly clear proof of its success after airing. Boundaries were there to be stretched, but we never inflicted deceptive costing on the viewers to watch that advertising.

Trends now exist in growing amounts where people are being duped into paying money to attend what are really marketing exhibitions, operated under the pretext of entertainment.


The cost of advertising can be substantial, and is part of the business costs of manufacturers and distributors of products and services. What a clever idea if you can induce the customer to pay to be marketed to!

Businesses create brands to build awareness, positioning, and customer loyalty, often with the aid of slogans.

Let’s say you want to buy a Toyota - you may walk into a dealership thinking “Oh … what a feeling”.

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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