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Old 06-25-2008, 08:41 AM   #601 (permalink)
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View: Frosted Mini-Wheats ad gets frosty review
Source: LA Times
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Frosted Mini-Wheats ad gets frosty review
Frosted Mini-Wheats ad gets frosty review
6:14 PM, June 24, 2008

An ad for Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats didn't wow the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which is part of the advertising industry's self-regulation program.

In the ad, a teacher says, "Where were we?" and a smarty-pants kid replies "We were on the third paragraph of page 57 and you were explaining that the stone structures made by ancient Romans were called aqueducts and as you were writing that up on the board, your chalk broke ... into three pieces." After a little cartoon Mini-Wheat expresses his pride, a voice-over describes a clinical study in which "kids who had a filling breakfast of Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal improved their attentiveness by nearly 20%." The ad division's problem with the ad: That voice didn't explain that the kids the Mini-Wheat group were compared with were kids who got no breakfast at all. (This was, however, explained in text that appeared with the ad at the same time.) In other words, there's no evidence that Mini-Wheats would be any better than Lucky Charms or a chunk of dry bread or a big bag of potato chips or a Big Mac, and that wasn't expressed straightly enough for the ad division's liking.

The National Advertising Division, according to its news release, also noted that "the commercial does not make clear how much time elapsed between the start of the lesson referenced by the teacher and the student's detailed recollection of the lesson." The longer the lag, the ad division says, "the stronger the performance claims and the uniqueness benefit attributed to the product." It recommends the ad be adjusted to make clear that the event the kid remembered had just happened (!).

The Kellogg Co. "accepts NAD's decision and will take it into future advertising relating to this issue," according to the same ad division release.

For the nutritional content of various cereals as compiled by the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, go here. (But note: the numbers are from 2006 .)
an interesting thing how simple the exclusion/ommission is but yet how powerful the message
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:35 PM   #602 (permalink)
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View: It’s American Brandstand: Marketers Underwrite Performers
Source: NYTimes
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It’s American Brandstand: Marketers Underwrite Performers
July 7, 2008
It’s American Brandstand: Marketers Underwrite Performers
By ROBERT LEVINE
The hip-hop and R&B producer Jermaine Dupri has discovered best-selling acts like Kris Kross and Da Brat, has produced hits for Mariah Carey and Jay-Z, and now runs the urban music division of the Island Def Jam Music Group. He’s also looking for fresh talent for a new label financed by a company new to the music industry.

The new player? Procter & Gamble.

The consumer goods giant is part of a wave of companies getting into the music business to promote their own products, essentially becoming record labels themselves.

Procter & Gamble, for example, is joining Island Def Jam in a joint venture called Tag Records, a label that will sign and release albums by new hip-hop acts. It is named after a brand of body spray that P.& G. acquired when it bought Gillette.

And Mr. Dupri, a music-industry veteran and the longtime partner of the singer Janet Jackson, sounds quite pleased with his new gig.

“I’ve never seen someone wanting to devote this much money to breaking new artists,” said Mr. Dupri, who will serve as president of Tag Records while keeping his position at Island Def Jam. “Nobody in the music business has the marketing budget that I have.”

At a time when online file-sharing is rampant, record stores are closing and consumers are buying singles instead of albums, getting into the music business might seem like running into a burning building. But as record labels struggle to adjust to a harsh new digital reality, other companies are stepping up their involvement in music, going far beyond standard endorsement contracts and the use of songs in commercials.

These companies — like Procter & Gamble, Red Bull and Nike — are stepping outside of their core businesses to promote, finance and even distribute music themselves.

A few months ago, Bacardi announced that it would help the English electronic music duo Groove Armada pay for and promote its next release. Caress, the body-care line owned by Unilever, commissioned the Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger to record a version of Duran Duran’s “Rio” that it gave away on its Web site to promote its “Brazilian body wash” product. The energy drink company Red Bull is starting a label that is expected to release music before the end of the year.

And at least some of this music is credible: a hip-hop song that Nike released by Kanye West, Nas, Rakim and KRS-One was nominated for a Grammy Award for best rap performance by a duo or group.

Unlike Starbucks, which got into the music business to sell CDs at its stores, these companies want to use music to promote products they already sell.

“It’s not about money,” said Sarah Tinsley, a global marketing manager at Bacardi. “It’s a branding exercise.”

Unlike the exclusive album deals that Wal-Mart is striking with groups like the Eagles, these companies are attracting artists at the height of their relevance. Two weeks ago, Converse released a single by a combination of artists that The Times of London called “a three-headed Frankenstein’s monster of coolness”: the Strokes singer Julian Casablancas, the producer Pharrell Williams and the R&B performer Santogold. Offered as a free download on Converse’s Web site, the song received mostly favorable reviews from both blogs and newspapers.

“Our instructions to them were to have fun, as though they were doing any song,” said Jon Cohen, co-founder of Cornerstone, a music marketing company that has set up music deals for Converse, Nike, Caress and Smirnoff. “It doesn’t matter where the music comes from as long as it’s great.”

A decade ago, signing a record contract with a body spray company would have been unthinkable for most artists. But at a time when labels’ promotion budgets are declining, consumer brands can offer valuable exposure in print and television ads. Jeff Straughn, Island Def Jam’s vice president for strategic marketing, said that Tag might spend seven times as much promoting a release as a traditional label.

“When I started in this business 10 years ago, it was hard to get an artist to stand in front of a sign with a logo on it,” said David Caruso, the co-founder of Acme, the agency that negotiated the deal between Island Def Jam and Tag. “Now brands are engaging their audiences with content.”

But the brands walk a fine line by making sure that consumers are aware that they financed a song without having it simply seem like a commercial.

“We wanted it to be like they were making their own record,” said Rob Stone, a Cornerstone co-founder, referring to the song that Kanye West, Nas and KRS-One made for Nike with a celebrated producer, Rick Rubin. “None of them had to mention the Air Force 1,” a Nike shoe.

Instead, Cornerstone asked the artists to write a track about the theme of timelessness and promoted it like any other song, making a video, promoting it to radio and selling it on iTunes. (Nike’s profits went to the Force4Change Fund, a charity for youth leadership programs.) As it turned out, the song, “Better Than I’ve Ever Been,” does mention the sneakers as well as “Nike’s straight classic.”

For artists, deals with brands can be more lucrative than traditional record contracts. Performers usually get an advance or fee in addition to a royalty rate higher than that given by record labels, which is usually $1 to $2 per sale. If the artist is signed to a label, he usually has to share the money he makes. In most cases, control of the recording copyright reverts to the artist or label after a set period of time.

In another deal Cornerstone negotiated, the electronic music duo Crystal Method remixed some of its songs to create a workout soundtrack that Nike could sell on its page in Apple’s iTunes store. The sneaker company gave Crystal Method a small advance but a generous royalty, according to Richard Bishop, the duo’s manager.

The mix sold nearly 40,000 copies online, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and more than 15,000 copies in traditional stores once Nike’s period of exclusivity ended. Crystal Method’s last traditional album sold 184,000 copies, but Mr. Bishop said the duo made more money on the Nike project because the royalty rate was so much better.

“I think in the world today, it doesn’t make a difference to the consumer if a record comes out on Warner Music, EMI, Red Bull or Diesel Jeans,” Mr. Bishop said. “Artists may be better advised to put their music out with a brand to get better reach and bigger advertising.”

Groove Armada should also do well in its deal with Bacardi, according to the band’s manager, Dan O’Neill. The yearlong contract calls for the duo to play 25 Bacardi events and give the liquor company online distribution rights to its new E.P. — a release with less music than a CD — which is due in October.

In exchange, Groove Armada receives a monthly fee, money for recording costs and a generous royalty on music Bacardi sells or gives away. It retains the copyright to its recording, as well as the right to sell its E.P. in traditional outlets, where it will presumably benefit from the money Bacardi spends on marketing.

Music executives say many of the acts now striking deals with brands are popular enough to do so because they have already benefited from major-label marketing campaigns: Crystal Method was signed to Interscope, Groove Armada to Sony.

Although consumer brands are taking on roles once reserved for labels, they are investing so much money in music because the same digital technology that whipsawed the music business is also making it harder to reach consumers.

“We don’t just want to talk to people,” said Anne Jensen, a brand-building director at Unilever who works with Caress. “We want to give them something that adds value to their lives.” She said that Ms. Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls was perfect for the campaign because she embodied the spirit of Brazil. (Though, truth be told, she is Hawaiian, Russian and Filipino.)

Ms. Scherzinger will get money from her deal with Caress as well as exposure in the brand’s television campaign — the kind of advertising that a major label would not buy, even for a star.

“If you’re only looking at these deals in terms of money, you’re going to miss what they do for each party,” said Jeff Haddad, who manages Ms. Scherzinger and the Pussycat Dolls.

Danny Goldberg, founder of the management company Gold Village Entertainment and former chairman and chief executive of Mercury Records, said that deals with brands would turn off fans of some bands but could be effective in promoting other performers.

“In another era, there was a stigma attached to this,” he said. “Now it’s just another way to expose your music.”
Procter and Gamble being in the music business????
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Old 07-07-2008, 06:36 PM   #603 (permalink)
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Your efforts lately to keep us informed here regarding these important issues is invaluable. Thanks for putting things we need to hear within range of our critical awareness.

Appreciated,
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Old 07-08-2008, 01:12 PM   #604 (permalink)
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I think I have an idea what ARTelevision is talking about. Most people in the world live on default and compare themselves to other people and mostly to Media icons. All people have to do is start living and doing the things that they want to do, and that would be thinking for yourself. Just continualy ask yourself, and be brutally honest, "Am I enjoying this?" "Do I feel good about this?" "Would I do that if I felt no fear?"
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Old 07-08-2008, 04:53 PM   #605 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ARTelevision
Cynthetiq,
Your efforts lately to keep us informed here regarding these important issues is invaluable. Thanks for putting things we need to hear within range of our critical awareness.

Appreciated,
Art
Just working it.

This article comes from Dec 24, 1992. The images that we can see as we read the point show how the power of advertising really saturates.

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View: THE MEDIA BUSINESS -- ADVERTISING; Seasonal Messages That Appeal or Annoy
Source: NYTimes
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THE MEDIA BUSINESS -- ADVERTISING; Seasonal Messages That Appeal or Annoy
December 24, 1992
THE MEDIA BUSINESS -- ADVERTISING; Seasonal Messages That Appeal or Annoy
By STUART ELLIOTT
ONE more day! One more day!

That is not the joyful chant of children eager to see what Santa Claus will leave under the tree, nor of workers anticipating a long weekend. It is the grateful cry of American consumers, counting the hours until Christmas arrives, bringing to an end the annual spate of coarse, crass and overcommercialized Christmas ad pitches.

Even those who believed themselves inured to the frenzied hyper bole of the holiday season must be dismayed at how deep the bottom turned out to be this year. A prestigious group of clergy even wrote a contentious open letter to Madison Avenue's "advertising lords," castigating them for having "reduced Christmas to a carnival of mass marketing."

It's enough to spur a sequel to "It's a Wonderful Life" in which George Bailey wishes that Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn had never been born.

All that is not to say that holiday themes should be verboten to advertisers. The season's spirited joys and harmonious impulses are particularly appropriate after a year as troubled as 1992. After all, as Angela Lansbury sang in "Mame," "We need a little Christmas" -- but, please, take note of the word "little."

What follows is a review of this year's holiday advertising highs and lows, as ranked on a special seasonal rating scale of "Ho, ho, ho!" (as welcome as Santa himself) or "Bah, humbug!" (an ad only a Scrooge could admire.)

Absolut. A colorful print advertisement for the vodka carrying the headline "Absolut Harmony," showing the New York Choral Society performing before the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, inspires festive thoughts. Ho, ho, ho! Agency: TBWA Advertising.

Campbell. "Have a red and white Christmas!," urges a print ad in which a can of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup wears a stocking cap, complete with pom-pom, and a striped scarf. Santa Claus as soup can -- not even Andy Warhol concocted such a travesty. Bah, humbug! Agency: Backer Spielvogel Bates Inc.

Coca-Cola Classic. In this seasonal spot, a boy who sees Santa Claus pausing at a Coke machine alerts his father, who thinks he means the picture of Santa appearing on holiday cans of Coke Classic. As syrupy as a soft drink before the fizz is added. Bah, humbug! Agency: McCann-Erickson.

Energizer. The battery brand's omnipresent bunny barges its way into a parody of those annoying Christmas music commercials, featuring a harpist who plucks implausible tunes like "Rapping with Santa." The satire is wickedly accurate, down to a toll-free telephone number briefly flashed on screen; dial it -- 800-729-0730 -- and the bunny interrupts a recording informing callers that imaginary order-taking operators are "presently busy." Ho, ho, ho! Agency: Chiat/ Day.

Hershey. A print ad wishes chocolate lovers "Happy holidays from Hershey's Kisses" with a photograph of Kisses in seasonal red and green foil (in addition to the regular silver variety.) The headline: "Free gift wrap." Ho, ho, ho! Agency: Ogilvy & Mather New York.

Marlboro. In a print ad reminiscent of a greeting card, wishing smokers "Merry Christmas from Marlboro Country," two cowboys on horseback, one with a tree, ride through a snowy Western night. Perhaps they're on their way to the hospital to cheer up a friend after his lung-cancer operation. Bah, humbug! Agency: Leo Burnett U.S.A.

Marriott Residence Inn. Dominating this charmingly low-key print ad is a sketch of Santa climbing down a chimney. "This time of year," the ad advises, "a fireplace in your hotel room could really come in handy." Ho, ho, ho! Agency: the Martin Agency.

Nestle. Farfel, the floppy-eared dog from Nestle ads of the 1950's and 1960's, comes home for Christmas, joining a choir of canine puppets to introduce a line of miniature candies in holiday wrappers. A sweetly whimsical and delightfully silly commercial; one puppet holding a Butterfinger candy bar keeps dropping it. Ho, ho, ho! Agency: J. Walter Thompson New York.

Roy Rogers. Pieces of fried chicken and biscuits are arranged in the shape of a wreath as "Deck the Halls" is heard on the soundtrack. The punch line: "Seasoned greetings from Roy Rogers." Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean you can play with your food. Bah, humbug! Agency: Earle Palmer Brown.

U.S. Postal Service. Even pun-lovers -- all 43 of them -- are groaning at the seasonal modification made to "We deliver for you," the Postal Service's regular slogan. Whoever thought up the holiday version -- "We deliver for Yule" -- ought to be sent to sort dead letters in Juneau in January. Bah, humbug! Agency: Young & Rubicam New York.
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Old 07-09-2008, 12:35 PM   #606 (permalink)
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View: A Plane? More Like a Flying Magazine
Source: NYTimes
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A Plane? More Like a Flying Magazine
July 6, 2008
Practical Traveler | In-Flight Ads
A Plane? More Like a Flying Magazine
By MICHELLE HIGGINS

ON a recent US Airways flight from New York to Jamaica, coach passengers nursing their drinks were greeted with ads on their tray tables promoting General Motors’ OnStar navigation system.

Later, a flight attendant strolled up and down the aisles offering applications for US Airways-branded Bank of America credit cards. An announcement was made over the public address system notifying passengers of the 500 extra bonus miles they’d get by signing up onboard.

“If you have family, friends, co-workers who you think may be interested,” one announcement went, “take an extra application for them.”

As if flying wasn’t miserable enough, now, after being frisked at security, jockeying for overhead bin space, and squeezing into that remaining middle seat, passengers must endure a string of in-flight advertisements. US Airways, which also offers advertisers spots on ticket jackets, cocktail napkins and even air-sickness bags, has, until recently, been one of the few airlines running tray-table ads. But as airlines continue to search for every opportunity to offset rising fuel costs and other operating expenses, more are considering onboard ads. Such ancillary ads are worth about $20 million a year to US Airways, a spokeswoman said.

AirTran Airways offers in-flight credit card applications (even rewarding flight attendants with commissions) and carries 17 different Coca-Cola products with napkins and cups that promote those drinks. The airline plans to roll out tray-table ads this fall. Brand Connections, the New York marketing firm that provides the laminated tray table ads for US Airways, said it has been contacted by three carriers in the last month alone and has plans to supply tray-table ads to at least two more airlines by 2009.

JetBlue Airways has begun to leverage the TVs in its seatbacks for advertising partnerships, including one with The New York Times, which features videos of journalists upon takeoff. In a deal with Dove, the carrier passed out samples of that beauty brand’s moisturizer onboard and showed an ad about the product on Channel 13, its live flight-tracker screen.

Though the airline doesn’t plan to introduce tray-table advertising at this time, it hasn’t completely ruled out the option. “Right now we don’t see tray table advertising as fitting the JetBlue brand,” wrote a spokesman in an e-mail message, “but in this environment, everything needs to be on the table for the future.”

Southwest, which plans to test onboard Wi-Fi later this year, said that though no decisions had been made, in-flight Internet access could lead to some new advertising possibilities.

Perhaps no airline has taken onboard advertising quite as far as the low-cost European carrier Ryanair. It plasters ads not just on closed tray tables, but also on the overhead luggage bins. Advertising announcements, which last about 30 seconds each, are made as passengers board the plane. And the bulkheads are also available for advertising plugs.

United States domestic airlines say they don’t want to overwhelm passengers with ad blitzes. “We are very cautious about too much advertising,” said a JetBlue spokesman. “We don’t want to disrupt the experience.”

Subtle or not, passengers are already acutely aware of the ad creep. “When I flew on JetBlue last year between New York and Las Vegas, their free seat-back TV programs were loaded with advertisements,” said Robert Owen Jr., a high school language teacher from Long Island, N.Y. “Even the map charting the plane’s progress was interrupted regularly to display an ad. Every snack they offered came individually wrapped, prominently displaying each item’s respective brand.”

As for those midflight credit card announcements on US Airways, “it’s getting really annoying to listen to that pitch 100 times a year,” said Brian Kush, a technology consultant from New Kensington, Pa ., in an e-mail message.

Advertising firms recognize that bombarding passengers with ads may turn off potential customers. “You never want to upset a passenger,” said Brian Martin, chief executive of Brand Connections. “It won’t bode well for the brand or the venue that’s housing that advertisement.” The best onboard ads, he said, provide relevant information or fun diversions for passengers.

For example, a recent tray-table ad by Johnson & Johnson’s Tylenol PM offered some simple exercises passengers could do in their seat (knee lifts, foot rolls, etc.) so they wouldn’t get stiff. Another onboard ad, via Brand Connections, was presented in a board game format on the tray-table.

But advertisers are well aware of the unparalleled opportunity offered by an airplane, with its captive audience of strapped-in passengers.

“You’ve got a billboard in your face for two hours,” said Gilles Parent, advertising and partnership manager for the Quebec Department of Tourism, which ran tray-table ads on 42 US Airways planes over the winter. The campaign, he said, was so successful that the company is introducing ads on 21 more planes this summer.

Nearly 90 percent of passengers on the planes with the Quebec ads were able to recall at least some of the ad, according to an e-mail survey conducted six weeks after the flight. Roughly 54 percent were able to name the advertiser and 7.5 percent remembered the tourism Web site.

Perhaps no one is more affected by the ads than flight attendants, who are not only exposed to them in and day out but who must also listen to customer grumbles about having to sit through commercials, or be woke from their naps by a credit card announcement mid-flight.

“It’s gotten mixed reviews,” said Mike Flores, president of the US Airways unit of the Association of Flight Attendants. “A lot of passengers complain about it because they don’t want to listen to ads in flight.”

Flight attendants aren’t required to make the credit card announcements onboard US Airways flights, but those who choose to can earn a $50 commission for each passenger who signs up for a card.

Bette Burke-Nash, a long-time flight attendant for the carrier, points out one advantage to the tray tables with ads. Hard-to-rub-out stains are no longer an issue, since the laminated advertisements are periodically changed. “Now they’re always clean,” she said.
yet more information being bombarded to us when we have no ability to turn it off or tune it out.
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Old 07-14-2008, 06:51 AM   #607 (permalink)
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View: Warning: Habits May Be Good for You
Source: NYTimes
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Warning: Habits May Be Good for You
July 13, 2008
Warning: Habits May Be Good for You
By CHARLES DUHIGG
A FEW years ago, a self-described “militant liberal” named Val Curtis decided that it was time to save millions of children from death and disease. So Dr. Curtis, an anthropologist then living in the African nation of Burkina Faso, contacted some of the largest multinational corporations and asked them, in effect, to teach her how to manipulate consumer habits worldwide.

Dr. Curtis, now the director of the Hygiene Center at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, had spent years trying to persuade people in the developing world to wash their hands habitually with soap. Diseases and disorders caused by dirty hands — like diarrhea — kill a child somewhere in the world about every 15 seconds, and about half those deaths could be prevented with the regular use of soap, studies indicate.

But getting people into a soap habit, it turns out, is surprisingly hard.

To overcome this hurdle, Dr. Curtis called on three top consumer goods companies to find out how to sell hand-washing the same way they sell Speed Stick deodorant and Pringles potato chips.

She knew that over the past decade, many companies had perfected the art of creating automatic behaviors — habits — among consumers. These habits have helped companies earn billions of dollars when customers eat snacks, apply lotions and wipe counters almost without thinking, often in response to a carefully designed set of daily cues.

“There are fundamental public health problems, like hand washing with soap, that remain killers only because we can’t figure out how to change people’s habits,” Dr. Curtis said. “We wanted to learn from private industry how to create new behaviors that happen automatically.”

The companies that Dr. Curtis turned to — Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever — had invested hundreds of millions of dollars finding the subtle cues in consumers’ lives that corporations could use to introduce new routines.

If you look hard enough, you’ll find that many of the products we use every day — chewing gums, skin moisturizers, disinfecting wipes, air fresheners, water purifiers, health snacks, antiperspirants, colognes, teeth whiteners, fabric softeners, vitamins — are results of manufactured habits. A century ago, few people regularly brushed their teeth multiple times a day. Today, because of canny advertising and public health campaigns, many Americans habitually give their pearly whites a cavity-preventing scrub twice a day, often with Colgate, Crest or one of the other brands advertising that no morning is complete without a minty-fresh mouth.

A few decades ago, many people didn’t drink water outside of a meal. Then beverage companies started bottling the production of far-off springs, and now office workers unthinkingly sip bottled water all day long. Chewing gum, once bought primarily by adolescent boys, is now featured in commercials as a breath freshener and teeth cleanser for use after a meal. Skin moisturizers — which are effective even if applied at high noon — are advertised as part of morning beauty rituals, slipped in between hair brushing and putting on makeup.

“OUR products succeed when they become part of daily or weekly patterns,” said Carol Berning, a consumer psychologist who recently retired from Procter & Gamble, the company that sold $76 billion of Tide, Crest and other products last year. “Creating positive habits is a huge part of improving our consumers’ lives, and it’s essential to making new products commercially viable.”

Through experiments and observation, social scientists like Dr. Berning have learned that there is power in tying certain behaviors to habitual cues through relentless advertising.

As this new science of habit has emerged, controversies have erupted when the tactics have been used to sell questionable beauty creams or unhealthy foods. But for activists like Dr. Curtis, this emerging research offers a type of salvation.

For years, many public health campaigns that aimed at changing habits have been failures. Earlier this decade, two researchers affiliated with Vanderbilt University examined more than 100 studies on the effectiveness of antidrug campaigns and found that, in some cases, viewers’ levels of drug abuse actually increased when commercials were shown, perhaps in part because the ads reminded them about that bag of weed in the sock drawer.

A few years later, another group examined the effectiveness of advertising condom use to prevent AIDS. In some cases, rates of unprotected sex actually went up — which some researchers suspected was because the commercials made people more frisky than cautious.

To teach hand washing, about seven years ago Dr. Curtis persuaded Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever to join an initiative called the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing With Soap. The group’s goal was to double the hand-washing rate in Ghana, a West African nation where almost every home contains a soap bar but only 4 percent of adults regularly lather up after using the toilet.

Over the last several years, such partnerships between corporations and those trying to save the world have become commonplace. Companies like Microsoft, Pfizer and General Electric have worked with nonprofit groups on health, technology and energy programs.

Not everyone is comfortable with the arrangements. Some critics complain that public health professionals are becoming too cozy with companies ultimately focused on their bottom lines. Others worry that these advertising techniques may be manipulative.

But what Dr. Curtis learned in Ghana suggests that saving the world may be as easy as hawking chewing gum, or, to use a more contemporary example, as simple as training Americans to spray perfumed water on couches that are already clean.

FEBREZE — the perfumed water used on couches — is one of the most successful examples of a habit-creation campaign, and, in a sense, the playbook for how Ghana learned to wash its hands.

Procter & Gamble introduced Febreze in 1996 as a way to remove odors from smelly clothes. Consumer surveys had shown that people were leaving their jackets and blouses outside after an evening in a smoke-filled bar. P.& G., which at the time already sold products that cleaned one out of every two laundry loads washed in American homes, decided to spend millions to create a spray to remove offensive smells.

The company ran advertisements of a woman complaining about a blazer that smelled like cigarette smoke. Other ads focused on smelly pets, sweaty teenagers and stinky minivan interiors.

But Febreze flopped. In fact, early sales were so disappointing that the company considered canceling the entire project.

One of the biggest problems, P.& G.’s researchers discovered, was that bad smells simply didn’t happen often enough in consumers’ lives. Interviews showed that consumers liked Febreze when they used it, but that many customers simply forgot that it was in the house.

At about the same time, the company’s staff psychologists were beginning to extend their understanding of how habits are formed.

“For most of our history, we’ve sold newer and better products for habits that already existed,” said Dr. Berning, the P.& G. psychologist. “But about a decade ago, we realized we needed to create new products. So we began thinking about how to create habits for products that had never existed before.”

Academics were also beginning to focus on habit formation. Researchers like Wendy Wood at Duke University and Brian Wansink at Cornell were examining how often smokers quit while vacationing and how much people eat when their plates are deceptively large or small.

Those and other studies revealed that as much as 45 percent of what we do every day is habitual — that is, performed almost without thinking in the same location or at the same time each day, usually because of subtle cues.

For example, the urge to check e-mail or to grab a cookie is likely a habit with a specific prompt. Researchers found that most cues fall into four broad categories: a specific location or time of day, a certain series of actions, particular moods, or the company of specific people. The e-mail urge, for instance, probably occurs after you’ve finished reading a document or completed a certain kind of task. The cookie grab probably occurs when you’re walking out of the cafeteria, or feeling sluggish or blue.

Our capacity to develop such habits is an invaluable evolutionary advantage. But when they run amok, things can become tricky.

Consider a series of experiments Dr. Wansink performed with a bowl of tomato soup that was secretly connected to a tube that pumped more and more liquid into the bowl. Diners ended up eating almost twice as much soup as usual, though they didn’t report feeling any fuller after the meal.

Dr. Wood studied exercise habits among students who transferred from one college to another. When locations remained stable — the new school had an outdoor track just like the old school, for example — students continued running regularly. But if the tracks were too different, the exercise tapered off, on average. In another experiment, conducted by researchers studying smokers, those wanting to quit were more than twice as successful if they started kicking the habit while on vacation, when surrounded by unfamiliar people and places.

“Habits are formed when the memory associates specific actions with specific places or moods,” said Dr. Wood, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke. “If you regularly eat chips while sitting on the couch, after a while, seeing the couch will automatically prompt you to reach for the Doritos. These associations are sometimes so strong that you have to replace the couch with a wooden chair for a diet to succeed.”

The researchers at P.& G. realized that these types of findings had enormous implications for selling Febreze. Because bad smells occurred too infrequently for a Febreze habit to form, marketers started looking for more regular cues on which they could capitalize.

The perfect cue, they eventually realized, was the act of cleaning a room, something studies showed their target audience did almost daily. P.& G. produced commercials showing women spraying Febreze on a perfectly made bed and spritzing freshly laundered clothing. The product’s imagery was revamped to incorporate open windows and gusts of fresh wind — an airing that is part of the physical and emotional cleaning ritual.

“We learned from consumer interviews that there was an opportunity to cue the clean smell of Febreze to a clean room,” Dr. Berning said. “We positioned it as the finishing touch to a mundane chore. It’s the icing that shows you did a good job.”

In a sense, a product originally intended for use on piles of smelly, dirty clothes was eclipsed by its exact opposite — a product used when women confronted a clean and tidy living room. And the more women sprayed, the more automatic the behavior became.

Today, Febreze is one of P.& G.’s greatest successes. Customers habitually spray tidied living rooms, clean kitchens, loads of fresh laundry and, according to one of the most recent commercials, spotless minivans. In the most recent fiscal year, consumers in North America alone spent $650 million buying Febreze, according to the company.

Dozens of other companies have also redesigned advertising campaigns around habitual cues. Beer commercials, once filled with busty women in ill-fitting tops, are now more likely to feature groups of buddies, because research shows that groups of friends are one of the strongest habit cues. Candy bar companies, through commercials, have tied their products to low-energy cues, transforming what was once a dessert into a pick-me-up for cubicle dwellers.

FOR Dr. Curtis and the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing With Soap, such tactics offered enormous promise in a country like Ghana.

That nation offered a conundrum: Almost half of its people were accustomed to washing their hands with water after using the restroom or before eating. And local markets were filled with cheap, colorful soap bars. But only about 4 percent of Ghanaians used soap as part of their post-restroom hand-washing regime, studies showed.

“We could talk about germs until we were blue in the face, and it didn’t change behaviors,” Dr. Curtis said. So she and her colleagues asked Unilever for advice in designing survey techniques that ultimately studied hundreds of mothers and their children.

They discovered that previous health campaigns had failed because mothers often didn’t see symptoms like diarrhea as abnormal, but instead viewed them as a normal aspect of childhood.

However, the studies also revealed an interesting paradox: Ghanaians used soap when they felt that their hands were dirty — after cooking with grease, for example, or after traveling into the city. This hand-washing habit, studies showed, was prompted by feelings of disgust. And surveys also showed that parents felt deep concerns about exposing their children to anything disgusting.

SO the trick, Dr. Curtis and her colleagues realized, was to create a habit wherein people felt a sense of disgust that was cued by the toilet. That queasiness, in turn, could become a cue for soap.

A sense of bathroom disgust may seem natural, but in many places toilets are a symbol of cleanliness because they replaced pit latrines. So Dr. Curtis’s group had to create commercials that taught viewers to feel a habitual sense of unseemliness surrounding toilet use.

Their solution was ads showing mothers and children walking out of bathrooms with a glowing purple pigment on their hands that contaminated everything they touched.

The commercials, which began running in 2003, didn’t really sell soap use. Rather, they sold disgust. Soap was almost an afterthought — in one 55-second television commercial, actual soapy hand washing was shown only for 4 seconds. But the message was clear: The toilet cues worries of contamination, and that disgust, in turn, cues soap.

“This was radically different from most public health campaigns,” said Beth Scott, an infectious-disease specialist who worked with Dr. Curtis on the Ghana campaign. “There was no mention of sickness. It just mentions the yuck factor. We learned how to do that from the marketing companies.”

The ads had their intended effect. By last year, Ghanaians surveyed by members of Dr. Curtis’s team reported a 13 percent increase in the use of soap after the toilet. Another measure showed even greater impact: reported soap use before eating went up 41 percent.

And while those statistics haven’t silenced critics who say habit-forming advertisements are worrisome, they have convinced people who run other public health initiatives that the Ghana experiment is on the right track.

Today, public health campaigns elsewhere for condom use and to fight drug abuse and obesity are being revamped to employ habit-formation characteristics, according to people involved in those efforts. One of the largest American antismoking campaigns, in fact, is explicitly focused on habits, with commercials and Web sites intended to teach smokers how to identify what cues them to reach for a cigarette.

“For a long time, the public health community was distrustful of industry, because many felt these companies were trying to sell products that made people’s lives less healthy, by encouraging them to smoke, or to eat unhealthy foods, or by selling expensive products people didn’t really need,” Dr. Curtis said. “But those tactics also allow us to save lives. If we want to really help the world, we need every tool we can get.”
Interesting that connection of manufactured habits...
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Old 07-14-2008, 01:32 PM   #608 (permalink)
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Location: Deep Up in it!!! :)
tv = I dislike TV and barely ever watch...the brain control device
radio = I only hear it in the morning a a few minutes when the alarm goes off
exposure to billboards and product advertising = I look away if I can
movies = once or twice a year
magazines/newspapers = hahahaha, how rare indeed
commercial Internet = I am quick to outmaneuver
talking about media subjects = yes this can happen from time to time


Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTelevision
the stats are no mystery.
add to or subtract from the above. arrive at your own numbers.

thousands of hours each year immersed in media.
living in it. not in the world.
when not attending directly to it, we replay it in our heads.
rehearsing movie roles, tv characters.
thinking about them.
fantasizing. fixated on them.
pop stars. celebrities. rock and roll idols.
supermodels. news anchors. people in ads.

Theres more to this then one might think. Here are the straight facts...

ViaCom wants to monoplize media, they own 90% of all media outlets through America and 40% throughout Europe (most of the channels you might watch are all part of the same pyramid). They would buy more, except Europe banned that and the last 10% won't sell...thank god!

Vaicom sucks rotten dead donkey dick! They funnel up to an ultra conservative right wing family of extremists (obviously...buying that much media says it all) who want to control how we think. They don't like exposure, so here is a little more for them!


Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTelevision
trying to look like them.
trying to act like them.
repeating their words to ourselves.
thinking their thoughts.
we like to believe we can resist their hold on us.
I see the circles we wander and walk away from them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTelevision
we'll explore the subliminal issues later.
for now just look at the surface.
look at what's obvious.
You want to explore the subliminal???

That is my specialty!!! I am a subconscious pioneer!!! As a result, I can quickly identify the intentions behind almost nearly every sign and symbol you can think of, which renders me immune to their affects.

I live in symbols, breath them, ponder them day and night and now I can read the signs like never before!

There are others...more subtle...more revealing...to watch out for. These ones lead to another world, but they are so hard to spot and so easy to lose. ARTelevision, this thread of yours is very interesting to myself, I will return to see where this is going!

Thank You!

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Old 07-14-2008, 06:58 PM   #609 (permalink)
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You're very welcome, Jozen-Bo.

As you can see, it's a big thread.

There have been many offshoots, directions, and tributaries through which the discussion has flowed. And there are many great contributors to it as well. I hope you'll be one of them.

"Critical thinking" is the reason it's here.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:00 PM   #610 (permalink)
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I don't know about viacom owning 90% of all media in the US.

I worked for them for 11 years, during their growth and acquistion years, CBS merger and CBS seperation.

but critical thinking is important.
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:07 PM   #611 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
I don't know about viacom owning 90% of all media in the US.

I worked for them for 11 years, during their growth and acquistion years, CBS merger and CBS seperation.

but critical thinking is important.
Hey...I worked for them, too.
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:15 AM   #612 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynthetiq
I don't know about viacom owning 90% of all media in the US.

I worked for them for 11 years, during their growth and acquistion years, CBS merger and CBS seperation.

but critical thinking is important.
I could be wrong at this point in time, I learned all about it when I was younger (around 7-8 years ago) and watching 60 minutes one evening. Things do change...even people, owners, and monopoly take overs. As it appears now, I don't think they have so much control over the media.

One question...who owns the internet...I think the answer is no one...thank god for that!!!


I types ViaCom Monopoly in under Google to see what sort of hits I'd get. Check it out:

http://www.google.de/search?hl=en&q=...G=Search&meta=



At this point, I am uncertain what to think about them, but I do know that monopolizing media sucks dead rotten donkey dick hard...no no...it chokes on it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ARTelevision
You're very welcome, Jozen-Bo.

As you can see, it's a big thread.

There have been many offshoots, directions, and tributaries through which the discussion has flowed. And there are many great contributors to it as well. I hope you'll be one of them.

"Critical thinking" is the reason it's here.
After my first posting here I looked back and saw how big it was... WoW!!!

I will have to dig through it, and I hope as well to be able to contribute!

When the times are critical...so must the think be!
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Last edited by Jozen-Bo; 07-15-2008 at 09:18 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 09-05-2008, 10:20 AM   #613 (permalink)
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I want to stop and thank you all for your intelligence, especially about the "media". I've recently have had a lull in tasks at work and have read some of the rants and raves section on craigslist, here in Raleigh, NC, and I am sure that those poor people have definitely had a major media overload.

It is a shame that not only is there media brainwashing going on, but that we are complicit in that brainwashing and, it seems, seek it out. Can't get enough of that good old fashioned stupidity. People run to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh to see what they need to be thinking today.

I'm a fan of Bill Hicks (rest his soul) and I think he had a true understanding of the problem... Bill Hicks is dead, George Carlin is dead, and we have Dane Cook and Carlos Mencia, who will probably live forever....

Hmm, sounds like I have been in the media pool a bit too much too.
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Old 10-11-2008, 04:55 AM   #614 (permalink)
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View: Overfeeding on Information
Source: Nytimes
posted with the TFP thread generator

Overfeeding on Information
October 12, 2008
Overfeeding on Information
By ALEX WILLIAMS
YANA COLLINS LEHMAN, a film production accountant who lives in Brooklyn, knew something was amiss when her 5-year-old son, Beckett, started to announce to no one in particular, “I’m John McCain, and I approved this statement.”

Ms. Collins Lehman, 36, thought: “Oh my God, I’m watching too much news.”

But it is hard not to, she said, with the financial markets in meltdown, and that crisis increasingly intertwined with a frenzied presidential campaign entering the homestretch. This is why her own news diet has spiked to where it feels as if it’s taking over her life. And maybe her son’s, too.

“It’s such a drain on productivity,” Ms. Collins Lehman said. “It’s a compulsion.”

For many, the hunger for information is reminiscent of those harried, harrowing months after Sept. 11, 2001. But seven years ago, there was no iPhone, no Twitter, no YouTube. There was no Google Reader to endlessly feed people updates on their favorite Web sites. Social networking sites, blogs and TiVo were in their infancy.

This explosion of information technology, when combined with an unusual confluence of dramatic — and ongoing — news events, has led many people to conclude that they have given their lives over to a news obsession. They find themselves taking breaks at work every 15 minutes to check the latest updates, and at the end of the day, taking laptops to bed. Then they pad through darkened homes in the predawn to check on the Asian markets.

Despite having a job that obliges her to keep up with the latest movies, Ms. Collins Lehman recently downgraded her Netflix subscription to two movies a month, she said, because she was spending so much time following the news.

Raymond L. Roker, 40, who runs a music magazine called Urb and lives in Los Angeles, said that his media diet has swollen to nearly unmanageable proportions because of the turbulent current events. He sets his DVR to record more than 10 daily political shows, which can take four to five hours to sit through every night, and posts about politics continuously on his personal blog (he also blogs occasionally for The Huffington Post).

In addition, Mr. Roker said, he spends much of his remaining free time swapping political views with friends on Facebook. “And meanwhile, I should be running my mini media empire,” he said in an e-mail message. “If that’s not addiction, I don’t know what is.”

Mary Beth Caschetta, 42, an advertising copywriter who lives in Provincetown, Mass., said she has been so concerned about the direction of the country that she has been taking her Kindle to bed so she can track the headlines. In recent weeks, Ms. Caschetta said, the news has even invaded her dreams. A recent one had her grilling the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, about the economy over cocktails, she said.

“It’s just the last thing I think of every night before I go to sleep,” Ms. Caschetta said, referring to the news.

This spike in news interest is reflected in Web traffic figures from Yahoo’s political and financial news sites, according to the company. “Both sites are experiencing record traffic over the last few weeks,” said Brian Nelson, a Yahoo spokesman. “Finance has been operating at near capacity.”

Traffic on the financial channel jumped by 27 percent during the week of Sept. 15, when Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch imploded as the simmering crisis boiled over, company figures showed.

ERIC KLINENBERG, a sociology professor at New York University, said people are unusually transfixed by news of the day because the economic crisis in particular seems to reach into every corner of their lives. Usually, he added, people can compartmentalize their lives into different spheres of activity, such as work, family and leisure. But now, “those spheres are collapsing into each other.”

And the news is not just consequential, but whipsaw-volatile. Financial markets swing hundreds of points within an hour; poll numbers shift. This means that news these days has an unbelievably short shelf life, news addicts said. If you haven’t checked the headlines in the last half-hour, the world may already have changed.

Jeff Slate, a songwriter who lives in Manhattan, said that he has found himself logging on to the Internet in the middle of the night to check the Asian financial markets, something he had not done for years. And a quick scan of the headlines usually leads him down an information rabbit hole, since almost every blog or news article links to a half-dozen others, which link to others. Even music blogs these days are filled with links to political news and commentary.

“There’s just been a glut of information that even four years ago that wasn’t the case,” said Mr. Slate, 41. In times when people think their fate is tied to enormous events that are out of their hands, stockpiling information can give some people a sense of control, social scientists said.

For others, information serves as social currency. Crises, like soap operas or sports teams, can provide a serial drama for people to talk about and bond over, said Kenneth J. Gergen, a senior research psychologist at Swarthmore College who studies technology and culture. “It gives us the stuff that keeps the community together,” he said. And for those whose social circles think of knowledge as power, having the latest information can also enhance status, Dr. Gergen said. “If you can just say what somebody said yesterday, that doesn’t do the trick,” he said.

Indeed, Michael Palka, who lives in Manhattan and is the president of SheFinds.com, an Internet fashion publishing company founded by his wife, Michelle Madhok, said that he feels a sense of “one-upmanship” among those in his social circle to know the latest details about, say, credit default swaps and how they may affect the election. An Obama supporter, he said, he uses any means at his disposal to stay ahead of the curve. He downloaded an application onto his iPhone to feed him up-to-the-minute polling data; during presidential debates, he and his wife sit around at home, using Twitter to exchange political updates with friends.

“The more you know about what’s going on,” Mr. Palka said, “the better case you can make for your candidate.”

To combat the sense of information overload, some find it tempting to pull back. Michael Davidson, the founder of Citypl.com, an expedited delivery service, who lives in Potomac, Md., said he and his wife attended a recent dinner party with three other couples where “each individual sat wringing their hands and telling in their own way how they can’t keep up anymore with all of the news and current events,” he said in an e-mail message. Mr. Davidson, 57, argued that the Rip Van Winkle approach was still the best.

That Washington Irving tale, he said he explained to them, concerns a man who went to sleep under a tree for 20 years, only to wake up and find that on the surface everything had changed, but on another level, nothing had.

Unfortunately, that story is fiction.
If you are paying attention you'll see that this isn't endemic to the US. Everyone is susceptible to it. One just needs to be aware in order to combat it.
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Old 10-27-2008, 08:37 AM   #615 (permalink)
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Quote:
View: Sexy Halloween costumes . . . for little girls?
Source: Latimes
posted with the TFP thread generator

Sexy Halloween costumes . . . for little girls?
Titillating outfits marketed to kids are a reflection of an increasingly sexualized childhood, says author and professor Diane Levin. For little boys, it's the macho look. What's a parent to do?
By Melissa Healy

October 27, 2008

Diane E. Levin, a professor of education at Wheelock College in Boston, is the co-author, with Jean Kilbourne, of "So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids." With Halloween approaching, Levin spoke with The Times' Health section about girls' -- and boys' -- costumes on offer this year, and what they mean.

There's a recurring theme in Halloween costumes for girls this year, and it's kind of spooky. What's going on?

Halloween costumes for 7- and 8-year-old girls and even younger have become downright titillating, and for tweens and teens, the vast majority of those sold in stores and on the Internet are unabashedly sexually alluring.

Little girls and their big sisters are being encouraged to get dressed up, in many cases, like child prostitutes. Then, they wander the night judging and being judged by their friends as to how well they meet the provocative standard and begging for candy from strangers.

It can be very hard for parents to find an alternative to letting them do it, short of having a war in the family or making their kids miserable.

This is a continuation of what's been going on for quite a while: Halloween costumes are reflecting an increasingly sexualized childhood. They often reflect the stars and starlets and popular culture role models that girls have, starting with Disney princesses or Hannah Montana when girls are young. But even traditional favorites, like witches and pirates are sexier every year. And French maids are quite the thing for tweens and teens.

What's the most outlandish example out there that you've seen in this or recent years?

The sexy princess costumes, sexy witch costumes seem to be most ubiquitous and most dramatic. For girls 8 and up, the skirt will have a big slit on one side. By the time girls are 12, the costumes are low cut. This year, the wigs and boots and makeup and all kinds of stuff to be grown up and sexy seem to have become part of every costume.

But kids are drawn to try out new personas, and Halloween has always been about imagining yourself transformed in some edgy, scary way. Is this any different?

That's always been one of the exciting things about Halloween. But there was once a time when children were trying out personas that were of their own making. When they decided they wanted to be a knight or something, they had to figure out what the knight did. It wasn't a matter of having grown-ups -- marketers -- saying, "Here. This will make you look like such and such a character. You don't need to do anything." This isn't about imagination. This is about marketers trying to hijack kids' imaginations.

How did we go from witch, devil and nurse to vampy witch, sexy devil and seductive nurse?

Since television was deregulated in the early 1980s, marketing strategies have taken over all aspects of kids' lives. From bedsheets to clothes and shoes to the lunch box they carry -- they're all linked to media, to popular culture. The message is, this is what's desirable, this is what you should be.

And look at what they were offered: For boys, there was GI Joe, He-Man, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. For girls, there was My Little Pony, Care Bears, Disney's princesses. Gender roles were very much part of that marketing. There was a whole new escalation in gender division when children began to become a market.

Kids are trying to figure out from an early age, "What does it mean to be a girl, or to be a boy?" They look at the most dramatic examples they can find to figure that out. Marketers are making it the most extreme they possibly can for that reason. Sexy is part of that marketing to girls -- just as macho and violent has become the way to market things to boys.

What about boys? Are they under any similar pressures that you see reflected in Halloween costumes?

First of all, the girls' costumes set up certain expectations in boys as well as in the girls who wear them or want them. What are boys' reactions, looking at girls when they're all dressed up in these sexy costumes? They think, "That must be what girls look like to be pretty, and being pretty is the important thing." The equivalent of sexy costumes for girls are the violent, macho characters for boys. Mimicking these characters is about being ready to fight, to be macho. For boys, choosing these costumes, the ideal is an image of toughness. It's not about human feelings, connections; it's about being tough and macho.

When that becomes the ideal, as expressed in Halloween costumes, that's how boys judge each other, so it's no surprise there's more and more bullying between boys, especially when one doesn't satisfy that image. There's a similar dynamic for girls: How they look and what they buy affects their view of themselves. But it also becomes the basis for how they treat other girls. It's harder and harder to have relationships.

To me, this is objectification of both boys and girls -- allowing little human beings to be treated as if they were objects. Girls learn to judge boys by how well they meet that objective definition of mindless, unfeeling machoism. And boys learn to judge girls by how sexy they are. This is why we may be seeing a generation in which relationships are often played out as interactions between caricatures of sexual stereotypes, why you can have friends with benefits and "hooking up."

Do you think there's a connection here with child sex abuse?

There could be -- we need to learn more about this. The fact that women more and more are supposed to look like girls and that girls are supposed to look like women means there's a blurring of boundaries between what is a child and what is a grown-up. These ambiguous sexual connections are going to make it harder and harder for men who have difficulty drawing those boundaries to make distinctions too.

It's also going to make little girls think that men of all ages thinking you're cute -- cute and a little sexy -- is perfectly appropriate. . . . The idea of having a pretty body at 7 -- what does that mean? The body held up to them is not the average body of an 8-year-old. That concerns me.

What's a parent to do? If our little girls, our tweens, our young teens think this is normal (which it is) and want them, what's the best way to deal with that?

First, you have to understand the nature of the problem and see how the pieces fit together.

I tend to think of kids as developing two boxes in their head: There's the pop culture box -- that's all the messages they're getting about what are the norms out there in the world, how they should look, what they should care about, what it means to be a girl or a boy, attitudes about violence, sex and consumption.

And then there's the family/society box: From what's in this box, they learn what it means to be caring, connected, contributing members of society. Right now, the boxes are pretty much disconnected.

The pop culture box is getting bigger and bigger, and the home and family box is getting crowded out. Adults don't try to connect to the popular culture except to get upset at it, punish their kids for spending time in it, and pretend it's not there. It's just so hard for them to think what to do. The result is that kids are seeing their parents as stupid, out of touch and obstructionist at an earlier and earlier age and considering them irrelevant.

We need to make the pop culture box as small as we can, and to make the family and society box as big as we can, and to draw connections between the two. We need to be there to help children make sense of the pop culture box: not just to give them the "right" answers, but to hear what they have to say about it too.

Say you go to a store with your 8-year-old and she's trying to get a sexy costume and you're insisting on something more wholesome. It's becoming a battle. You need to stop and ask, "What do you like about that costume?" She may say, "Jenny and Susie all have something like that and they'll think I'm a dork if I don't." And then you say, "But my concern is that that looks like a costume for an older person. It seems we need to find a costume where you feel OK and I feel OK. How about this one -- which looks a little sexy to me but I feel OK with it?"

The idea is to let kids know we're there, we hear them, we're going to influence what they're learning. But we're also going to respect their thinking. So when kids need our help, they're more likely to come to us.
Here's a simple discussion about Halloween and how pressured children are to conform to societal images.
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:11 AM   #616 (permalink)
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That reminds me of this:

The Truth About Teen Girls - TIME

Quote:
Thursday, Sep. 11, 2008
The Truth About Teen Girls
By Belinda Luscombe

Unless you're an adolescent male, you have already asked yourself this question, perhaps in the past few days: Is there something wrong with teen girls? Specifically, are they getting too sexy? Barely a week passes without a flash bulletin blinding us with news of another prominent preadult who is in the family way or showing off her underthings. Miley Cyrus, 15, seminaked! Jamie Lynn Spears, 16, pregnant! A bunch of Massachusetts high schoolers all having babies together! It's an epidemic!

Once the idea has taken hold, it's hard to shake off, and the fact that the presidential campaign features a pregnant 17-year-old means that the debate about teenage sexuality is growing only more heated. Girlhood sexiness seems to be everywhere: on TV shows and in movies, in advertising, in teen magazines and all over the Internet. Most disturbingly, it seems to be coming from the girls themselves: the way they dress, the way they text, the way they present themselves on Facebook and, oh, mercy, what they get up to at parties. There are whispers, stories for which the anecdotal evidence--from school counselors and child psychologists and mothers--keeps accumulating like a national pile of unwashed laundry. These suggest teen girls are getting very liberal with sexual favors, especially of the type detailed in the Starr report. In one generation, girls seem to have moved from Easy-Bake to easy virtue.

In the past four months, there have been four weighty books published on the subject, with titles like Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children and So Sexy So Soon. Most of these treatises have a similar thesis: young girls are sexually loose because they're aping behavior they see on TV or read about in magazines. And as if on cue, the media deliver a new 90210 with an oral-sex scene in the first episode; Gossip Girl comes back with billboards promoting it as MIND-BLOWINGLY INAPPROPRIATE ... and your daughter starts singing that alarmingly suggestive song about licking a lollipop.

Before we reinstitute the chastity belt, though, we might need to take a breath. There are lots of reasons to worry about adolescent girls having sex too early, ranging from serious health risks to the likelihood that they are seeking it for the wrong reasons to the impact it may have on their ability to maintain healthy future relationships. But is it the sex we're worried about or the sexiness? Is it what they do or how they look? And whose problem is this anyway?

Wasn't It Ever Thus?

Middle school counselor Julia Taylor of North Carolina had a conversation with her sixth-graders last year that worried her. "A lot of them were watching The O.C.," she says. "I just remember the show's multiple sexual partners, the cocaine use, and then at the end, they drink, they drive, they set fires, but all is well! There are never any consequences." Taylor understands the media better than many. Her sister Mary is a producer who has worked on MTV shows including My Super Sweet 16 and Spring Break. "I'm messing them up, and she's fixing them," says Mary jokingly. But Mary also suggests that if nobody were watching the shows or buying the products that are advertised on them, they wouldn't succeed. "We're not Little House on the Prairie anymore," she says. "The world is different. If parents said, 'You can't watch this,' and the ratings dropped, maybe we would change things."

Society has always had this Taylor-sisters duality in its attitude toward young women. Like steak-house owners trying to raise vegetarians, we idealize youth and sexiness but recoil if our young want to be sexy. What has complicated things recently is that girls are literally getting older younger. Their bodies are hitting physical maturity sooner, often before they are ready to deal with the issues of sexuality that go along with it. According to Jane Brown, a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "Twelve-to-14-year-old girls who start puberty earlier are more interested in sexual content in the media." Brown's studies found that adolescents whose media diet was rich in sexual content were more than twice as likely as others to have had sex by the time they were 16.

And yet. With the pornucopia of media at teens' disposal in the past decade and a half, on cell phones and computers as well as TVs, early-adolescent sex should be having a growth spurt. But the figures don't necessarily support one. Despite a minor increase in 2006, the rate of pregnancies among teen girls has been on a downward trend since 1991. Another indicator, the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, is alarmingly high: nearly 1 in 4 girls ages 14 to 19 and nearly 1 in 2 African-American girls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But this is the first year such a study has been completed, and the study doesn't separate 14-to-16-year-olds from 17-to-19-year-olds, so it's still unclear which way that trend is heading.

Other studies imply that girls, while not exactly chaste, are not behaving in ways that media reports about the hookup culture might lead us to believe. According to the Guttmacher Institute, one-third of surveyed teenagers 15 to 17 had had oral sex, and most of those were not virgins. Of teens ages 15 to 19 who had had oral sex only, two-thirds reported having had only one partner. There are plenty of people who want their daughters to wait until they get married to get it on. But failing that, many parents would prefer that their daughters have sex for the first time with someone they are in love with. Which is what the studies suggest they may be doing.

The Drip-Drip Effect

It would be naive to believe that the media are having no effect on teens and tweens. But it's much more complicated than Tracey See, Tracey Do. In the aftermath of the Gloucester pregnancy spurt, some experts spoke of a Juno effect, girls getting pregnant to emulate that movie's protagonist. Local teens scoffed at this idea. "Pregnant celebrities are no big deal," says Ashley Hill, 16, a (not pregnant) senior at Gloucester High. "Most teenagers aren't dumb. They can tell the difference between fact and fiction." Studies support her: teens are less susceptible to media firestorms that galvanize the grownups, like those set off by a famous pregnant person or a seminaked tween star. But when most outlets say the same thing, the effect can be overwhelming. "We call this the drip-drip vs. the drench effect," says Brown.

Some insight into how media images are processed into behavior comes from a 2004 Harvard study on the arrival of TV in Western Fiji. The most noticeable change was that Fijian women became dissatisfied with their bodies and tried to lose weight. They didn't necessarily want to be like Europeans; they just wanted to look like them. Is it possible that the situation for teens and tweens is the same? They don't want to be like the characters in Gossip Girl (only 16% of whose viewers are actually teen girls) or America's Next Top Model; they just want to look like them, to try on that identity. "Nine-year-old girls do not experience dressing up in a sexy way as a sexy thing," says Deborah Tolman, one of the authors of 2007's American Psychological Association (APA) report on the sexuality of teen girls. "They're just wearing clothes and thinking it's cool to look older." School-age girls want to wear thong underwear for the same reason their mothers wanted to wear crocheted bikinis: to drive their parents nuts.

The real problems arise when the media unanimously suggest that hotness is the only identity worth trying on. And when they venerate physical desirability in young women without explaining how to use it responsibly. And when they define desirability in such a narrow fashion that many girls feel they have to amp up their sexual signals to measure up. One of the clear findings last year of the APA task force was that an early emphasis on sexuality stunts girls' development in other areas. "When kids are about defining themselves, if you give them this idea that sexy is the be-all and end-all, they drop other things," says Sharon Maxwell, a psychologist who specializes in adolescent sexuality.

Should girls fear that they don't have the requisite hotness, there's a surefire way to overcome that: find a boy to sleep with. "They're subconsciously looking for love," says Amanda Ireland, another Gloucester teen. "They think, If I have a baby, I'll be someone. It gives them an identity." How can Ireland be so sure? She gave birth to daughter Haley, now 3, when she was 15.

Learning from Lolita

The interplay among teens, the media and sex is a complicated one. As Ireland shrewdly observes, the way a girl sees herself is more powerful than what she sees in magazines. But here's the rub: what she sees in the media does affect that self-image, especially in terms of her body. Some experts recommend media-literacy classes--as early as kindergarten. "Children need to learn how to dissect and understand this pervasive aspect of their environment," says Gigi Durham, author of The Lolita Effect, "just as they learn to understand the seasons or Newton's laws of motion."

Durham also suggests, counterintuitively, that kids should have access to more media. But the venues she recommends are those--like girlsinc.org--that are not in a symbiotic relationship with people who want to sell things. And she believes that girls should be encouraged to create their own media, not just to talk back but also to understand how they work.

Since it's impossible to put the genie back into the bottle, girls also need some straight talk about what to do with all the desirability society is heaping on them. "It's like we've given them the keys to the car," says psychologist Maxwell, "but we haven't taught them how to drive." The APA task force urged more study into how teen girls are affected by seeing people who look just like them heralded as sexual icons as well as research to "identify effective, culturally competent protective factors." Translation: Find something not lame that sends an alternative message. Stephenie Meyer's highly popular Twilight series might be one example.

Most important, say therapists and academics, adults need to look to themselves. "There's a whole other piece that we don't talk about," says Tolman, "which is holding the people who are reacting to these young girls accountable." When tweens see a picture of Cyrus with her back bare and her hair tousled, they don't see her as postcoital. That's an adult interpretation. Cyrus has made it abundantly clear that she hopes to remain a virgin until she's married. "It's this very odd attitude," says Durham, "where at once we want to eroticize [girls like Britney Spears and Cyrus], and then we turn around and condemn them immediately."

Maybe we believe so readily in notions like a plague of teen sex because they titillate us, the grownups. The volume of child-pornography arrests has skyrocketed in the past decade. It's not teens who are using it. And it's mostly not teens who indulge in the voyeuristic obsession with starlets or who use young people to sell products or win votes. It's all of us. Fifty years ago last month, Lolita was published in the U.S. Her name is often invoked to describe today's teens. But what people forget is that in Nabokov's book, Lolita was the victim.

With reporting by With Reporting by Kathleen Kingsbury/Gloucester, Elisabeth Salemme, Tiffany Sharples/New York
I have young cousins and nieces that are beginning to worry me. I grew up doing all kinds of messed up media-driven overly sexualized shit when I was a kid, but I didn't even have the internet with myspace and facebook and youtube and all that business to exacerbate the situation. I worry a lot about them and how they'll ever grow up into people.
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Old 12-18-2008, 08:26 AM   #617 (permalink)
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Mass Media Misery Machine


The video is an award winning documentary and one which I thoroughly enjoyed watching and thinking about afterwards on the subject of Terror Management Theory.

Specifically, the idea that exposure to the idea that _You Will Die_ raises people's 'fight' reaction with a corresponding increase in violent behaviours and/or tendencies...

I wonder what effect all the attention to death, particularly violent death in the media has? (duh)
Would similar reactions occur when faced with fundamental truth in opposition to basic denials that underpin everyday life and society?

Then this pops up:

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Edinburgh, East and Fife | Rom-coms 'spoil your love life'

An article saying society has a skewed vision of what relationships can/could or should be, depending on things like Rom Coms, resulting in much less happiness overall. Take that idea, think about Disney movies and the even more impressionable minds of youngsters.

Hmmm. Each individual massively influenced by 'News' which almost always centres on spectacular death, 'Entertainment' which focuses on unobtainable/irrational relationships and advertising selling a 'normal' life as failure.

Tragic for individuals, chaotic for aggregates of individual behaviour... societies.

This then led me to thinking about the enormous pool of memes in which societies swim and how much/how far/whether at all/etc. control over the supply of those memes should be put into effect, for the good of everyone?

Everyday, in every way, The Society of the Spectacle seems more relevant.

(possibly reposting this video)
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Old 01-30-2009, 10:34 AM   #618 (permalink)
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It's hard to escape it...

Quote:
View: The Most Social Brands of 2008
Source: Adage
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The Most Social Brands of 2008
The Most Social Brands of 2008
Apple Wins by Sheer Volume of Mentions, at Least

Posted by Abbey Klaassen on 01.29.09 @ 02:00 PM

Pop quiz: What was the brand or branded product most often mentioned in social media at the end of last year?

If you guessed the iPhone, as probably 90% of you did, you'd be right. But you might be surprised at just how dominant Apple and its brands are in terms of online chatter: IPhone is joined by Apple and iPod in the top 10 most mentioned brands or branded products list.

The analysis is from social-media-services provider Vitrue, which launched a social-media index last year. It measures the conversation volume around 2,000 brands on a variety of social-networking, blogging and micro-blogging sites. This survey stuck to a pretty rudimentary metric -- it measures mentions, not the sentiment of those mentions or the word pairings.

"This is measuring velocity and volume in December 2008," CEO Reggie Bradford told Ad Age. We asked him for full disclosure of how many are clients and he said, "Some are, some aren't, and many more clients didn't make the list." He wouldn't specify who exactly has employed Vitrue's services, but noted that of the top 20, "just a handful" were clients.

In addition to Apple and its branded products, media brands also dominated the top-10 list: CNN bested Disney and MTV for the No. 2 spot. The rest of the top 10 was consumer-electronics-heavy: XBox, Starbucks, Sony and Dell.

The only auto to sneak into the top 20 was Ford, at No. 12. Honda was the next-most talked-about, in the No. 25 spot. Surprisingly, Lincoln followed that, at No. 28. One important caveat, however: It's unclear whether the chatter was positive or, perhaps, related to the government auto bailouts from late 2008.

Anything surprise you about the top 50? (The rest can be found on Vitrue's blog.)

1. iPhone
2. CNN
3. Apple
4. Disney
5. Xbox
6. Starbucks
7. iPod
8. MTV
9. Sony
10. Dell
11. Microsoft
12. Ford
13. Nintendo
14. Target
15. PlayStation
16. Mac
17. Turner
18. Hewlett-Packard
19. Fox News
20. BlackBerry
21. ABC
22. Coke
23. LG
24. Best Buy
25. Honda
26. eBay
27. Sharp
28. Lincoln
29. NBA
30. Pepsi
31. General Motors
32. McDonald's
33. General Electric
34. Walmart
35. NFL
36. Mercedes
37. BMW
38. Samsung
39. Nike
40. Subway
41. Dodge
42. Pandora
43. CBS
44. Mercury
45. NBC
46. Disneyland
47. Last.fm
48. Toyota
49. Cadillac
50. Chevy
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Old 04-16-2009, 01:09 PM   #619 (permalink)
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This issue is still not dead.... don't ever think that it is.

I remember working with the research guys..... smart, fun people, but they got it, they really did pave the way for this stuff.

Quote:
View: Disney Expert Uses Science to Draw Boy Viewers
Source: Nytimes
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Disney Expert Uses Science to Draw Boy Viewers
April 14, 2009
Disney Expert Uses Science to Draw Boy Viewers
By BROOKS BARNES

LOS ANGELES — Kelly Peña, or “the kid whisperer,” as some Hollywood producers call her, was digging through a 12-year-old boy’s dresser drawer here on a recent afternoon. Her undercover mission: to unearth what makes him tick and use the findings to help the Walt Disney Company reassert itself as a cultural force among boys.

Ms. Peña, a Disney researcher with a background in the casino industry, zeroed in on a ratty rock ’n’ roll T-shirt. Black Sabbath?

“Wearing it makes me feel like I’m going to an R-rated movie,” said Dean, a shy redhead whose parents asked that he be identified only by first name.

Jackpot.

Ms. Peña and her team of anthropologists have spent 18 months peering inside the heads of incommunicative boys in search of just that kind of psychological nugget. Disney is relying on her insights to create new entertainment for boys 6 to 14, a group that Disney used to own way back in the days of “Davy Crockett” but that has wandered in the age of more girl-friendly Disney fare like “Hannah Montana.”

Children can already see the results of Ms. Peña’s scrutiny on Disney XD, a new cable channel and Web site (disney.go.com/disneyxd). It’s no accident, for instance, that the central character on “Aaron Stone” is a mediocre basketball player. Ms. Peña, 45, told producers that boys identify with protagonists who try hard to grow. “Winning isn’t nearly as important to boys as Hollywood thinks,” she said.

Actors have been instructed to tote their skateboards around with the bottoms facing outward. (Boys in real life carry them that way to display the personalization, Ms. Peña found.) The games portion of the Disney XD Web site now features prominent trophy cases. (It’s less about the level reached in the game and more about sharing small achievements, research showed.)

Fearful of coming off as too manipulative, youth-centric media companies rarely discuss this kind of field research. Disney is so proud of its new “headquarters for boys,” however, that it has made an exception, offering a rare window onto the emotional hooks that are carefully embedded in children’s entertainment. The effort is as outsize as the potential payoff: boys 6 to 14 account for $50 billion in spending worldwide, according to market researchers.

Thus far, Disney’s initiative is limited to the XD channel. But Disney hopes that XD will produce a hit show that can follow the “High School Musical” model from cable to merchandise to live theater to feature film, and perhaps even to Disney World attraction.

With the exception of “Cars,” Disney — home to the “Princesses” merchandising line; the Jonas Brothers; and “Pixie Hollow,” a virtual world built around fairies — has been notably weak on hit entertainment franchises for boys. (“Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Toy Story” are in a type of hibernation, awaiting new big-screen installments.) Disney Channel’s audience is 40 percent male, but girls drive most of the related merchandising sales.

Rivals like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network have made inroads with boys by serving up rough-edged animated series like “The Fairly Oddparents” and “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Nickelodeon, in particular, scoffs at Disney’s recent push.

“We wrote the book on all of this,” said Colleen Fahey Rush, executive vice president for research of MTV Networks, which includes Nickelodeon.

Even so, media companies over all have struggled to figure out the boys’ entertainment market. News Corporation infamously bet big on boys in the late 1990s with its Fox Kids Network and a digital offering, Boyz Channel. Both failed and drew criticism for segregating the sexes (there was also a Girlz Channel) and reinforcing stereotypes.

The guys are trickier to pin down for a host of reasons. They hop more quickly than their female counterparts from sporting activities to television to video games during leisure time. They can also be harder to understand: the cliché that girls are more willing to chitchat about their feelings is often true.

The people on Ms. Peña’s team have anthropology and psychology backgrounds, but she majored in journalism and never saw herself working with children. Indeed, her training in consumer research came from working for a hotel operator of riverboat casinos.

“Children seemed to open up to me,” said Ms. Peña, who does not have any of her own.

Sometimes the research is conducted in groups; sometimes it involves Ms. Peña’s going shopping with a teenage boy and his mother (and perhaps a videographer). The subjects, who are randomly selected by a market research company, are never told that Disney is the one studying them. The children are paid $75.

Walking through Dean’s house in this leafy Los Angeles suburb on the back side of the Hollywood Hills, Ms. Peña looked for unspoken clues about his likes and dislikes.

“What’s on the back of shelves that he hasn’t quite gotten rid of — that will be telling,” she said beforehand. “What’s on his walls? How does he interact with his siblings?”

One big takeaway from the two-hour visit: although Dean was trying to sound grown-up and nonchalant in his answers, he still had a lot of little kid in him. He had dinosaur sheets and stuffed animals at the bottom of his bed.

“I think he’s trying to push a lot of boundaries for the first time,” Ms. Peña said later.

This kind of intensive research has paid dividends for Disney before. Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney ABC Television Group, noted it in her approach to rebuilding Disney Channel a decade ago.

“You have to start with the kids themselves,” she said. “Ratings show what boys are watching today, but they don’t tell you what is missing in the marketplace.”

While Disney XD is aimed at boys and their fathers, it is also intended to include girls. “The days of the Honeycomb Hideout, where girls can’t come in, have long passed,” said Rich Ross, president of Disney Channels Worldwide.

In Ms. Peña’s research boys across markets and cultures described the television aimed at them as “purposeless fun” but expressed a strong desire for a new channel that was “fun with a purpose,” Mr. Ross said. Hollywood has been thinking of them too narrowly — offering all action or all animation — instead of a more nuanced combination, he added. So far results have been mixed.

Disney XD, which took over the struggling Toon Disney channel, has improved its predecessor’s prime-time audience by 27 percent among children 6 to 14, according to Nielsen Media Research. But the bulk of this increase has come from girls. Viewership among boys 6 to 14 is up about 10 percent.

“We’ve seen cultural resonance, and it doesn’t come overnight,” Mr. Ross said.

Which is one reason Ms. Peña is still out interviewing. At Dean’s house her team was quizzing him about what he meant when he used the word “crash.” Ben, a 12-year-old friend who had come over to hang out, responded, “After a long day of doing nothing, we do nothing.”

Growing self-conscious, Ben added, “Am I talking too much?”
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:58 AM   #620 (permalink)
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View: If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online
Source: Nytimes
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If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online
January 20, 2010
If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online
By TAMAR LEWIN

The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones.

And because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.

“I feel like my days would be boring without it,” said Francisco Sepulveda, a 14-year-old Bronx eighth grader who uses his smart phone to surf the Web, watch videos, listen to music — and send or receive about 500 texts a day.

The study’s findings shocked its authors, who had concluded in 2005 that use could not possibly grow further, and confirmed the fears of many parents whose children are constantly tethered to media devices. It found, moreover, that heavy media use is associated with several negatives, including behavior problems and lower grades.

The third in a series, the study found that young people’s media consumption grew far more in the last five years than from 1999 to 2004, as sophisticated mobile technology like iPods and smart phones brought media access into teenagers’ pockets and beds.

Dr. Michael Rich, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Boston who directs the Center on Media and Child Health, said that with media use so ubiquitous, it was time to stop arguing over whether it was good or bad and accept it as part of children’s environment, “like the air they breathe, the water they drink and the food they eat.”

Contrary to popular wisdom, the heaviest media users reported spending a similar amount of time exercising as the light media users. Nonetheless, other studies have established a link between screen time and obesity.

While most of the young people in the study got good grades, 47 percent of the heaviest media users — those who consumed at least 16 hours a day — had mostly C’s or lower, compared with 23 percent of those who typically consumed media three hours a day or less. The heaviest media users were also more likely than the lightest users to report that they were bored or sad, or that they got into trouble, did not get along well with their parents and were not happy at school.

The study could not say whether the media use causes problems, or, rather, whether troubled youths turn to heavy media use.

“This is a stunner,” said Donald F. Roberts, a Stanford communications professor emeritus who is one of the authors of the study. “In the second report, I remember writing a paragraph saying we’ve hit a ceiling on media use, since there just aren’t enough hours in the day to increase the time children spend on media. But now it’s up an hour.”

The report is based on a survey of more than 2,000 students in grades 3 to 12 that was conducted from October 2008 to May 2009.

On average, young people spend about two hours a day consuming media on a mobile device, the study found. They spend almost another hour on “old” content like television or music delivered through newer pathways like the Web site Hulu or iTunes. Youths now spend more time listening to or watching media on their cellphones, or playing games, than talking on them.

“I use it as my alarm clock, because it has an annoying ringtone that doesn’t stop until you turn it off,” Francisco Sepulveda said of his phone. “At night, I can text or watch something on YouTube until I fall asleep. It lets me talk on the phone and watch a video at the same time, or listen to music while I send text messages.”

Francisco’s mother, Janet Sepulveda, bought his phone, a Sidekick LX, a year ago when the computer was not working, to ensure that he had Internet access for school. But schoolwork has not been the issue.

“I’d say he uses it about 2 percent for homework and 98 percent for other stuff,” she said. “At the beginning, I would take the phone at 10 p.m. and tell him he couldn’t use it anymore. Now he knows that if he’s not complying with what I want, I can suspend his service for a week or two. That’s happened.”

The Kaiser study found that more than 7 in 10 youths have a TV in their bedroom, and about a third have a computer with Internet access in their bedroom.

“Parents never knew as much as they thought they did about what their kids are doing,” Mr. Roberts said, “but now we’ve created a world where they’re removed from us that much more.”

The study found that young people used less media in homes with rules like no television during meals or in the bedroom, or with limits on media time.

Victoria Rideout, a Kaiser vice president who is lead author of the study, said that although it has become harder for parents to control what their children do, they can still have an effect.

“I don’t think parents should feel totally disempowered,” she said. “They can still make rules, and it still makes a difference.”

In Kensington, Md., Kim Calinan let her baby son, Trey, watch Baby Einstein videos, and soon moved him on to “Dora the Explorer.”

“By the time he was 4, he had all these math and science DVDs, and he was clicking through by himself, and he learned to read and do math early,” she said. “So if we’d had the conversation then, I would have said they were great educational tools.”

But now that Trey is 9 and wild about video games, Ms. Calinan feels differently.

Last year, she sensed that video games were displacing other interests and narrowing his social interactions. After realizing that Trey did not want to sign up for any after-school activities that might cut into his game time, Ms. Calinan limited his screen time to an hour and half a day on weekends only.

So last Wednesday, Trey came home and read a book — but said he was looking forward to the weekend, when he could play his favorite video game.

Many experts believe that media use is changing youthful attitudes.

“It’s changed young people’s assumptions about how to get an answer to a question,” Mr. Roberts said. “People can put out a problem, whether it’s ‘Where’s a good bar?’ or ‘What if I’m pregnant?’ and information pours in from all kinds of sources.”

The heaviest media users, the study found, are black and Hispanic youths and “tweens,” or those ages 11 to 14.

Even during the survey, media use was changing.

“One of the hot topics today is Twitter, but when we first went into the field and began interviewing, Twitter didn’t exist,” Ms. Rideout said.
An amazing thought of just how much media is being consumed these days... 11 hours in just 7 hours?

I can tell you that I still try to manage how much media I consume a day, and where I consume it from.

It's nice to resurrect this thread from time to time...
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:04 AM   #621 (permalink)
 
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It's an excellent thread.

I've turned off the television mostly,
but this jest caught my eye the other day.

This Snow Leopard Has a Naked Lady On It - Snow leopard - Gizmodo
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:03 PM   #622 (permalink)
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This is Part 1 of a series of vids by Jean Kilbourne. This series and her appearance in the groundbreaking "The Ad and the Ego" are pivotal texts for developing critical thinking and media awareness.

YouTube is a great growing resource for this growing consciousness revolution.

Given the easy availability of these materials and the growing appreciation of our predicament, educating ourselves about what is happening to us is increasingly possible. That has to be a good thing.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:38 AM   #623 (permalink)
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We should discuss these in depth at some point. I'll bring up some stuff later.

OK, that one covers issues of sexism in a fairly straightforward way. To me, it is not a problem for consenting adults. The problem comes in when you raise generations of kids this way. There's a difference. We all like some of what's critiqued here. Not the point. The point is what gets beamed into us when we are young and defenseless to the awesome power of BIG MEDIA.


Here's another one that's less academically rigorous, but a great spur to discussion...

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Old 02-28-2010, 09:46 PM   #624 (permalink)
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Art, have you been taking notice of just how Facebook Fan pages are the stealth advertisement?
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:09 PM   #625 (permalink)
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Cynthetiq, no doubt. As the third most populous country in the world, Facebook is a world leader in mass media mind control. It does serve as a massive stealth advertising site, in which each user operates a public-relations empire. The fan pages are an adjunct service, which allow for overflow above the 5000-friend limit.

One of the things that interests me most about Facebook is the degree of sexual repression it is able to enforce among its citizens.
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:00 AM   #626 (permalink)
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In the interest of thoughtful, relevant infotainment, I offer this piece of MMMC for your overall delectation and to further the increased excitation of your sensorium...

http://vimeo.com/10149605


Maybe this could be embedded...
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:22 AM   #627 (permalink)
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Quote:
Morgan Spurlock: Why I sold out - CNN.com

(CNN) -- A few years ago, Morgan Spurlock was watching a season premiere episode of "Heroes." In it, a cheerleader, played by Hayden Panettiere, meets her father as she walks out of her new school and heads toward the parking lot.

"The camera dollies past the car and you see the Nissan logo go through the frame," Spurlock recalled. And then her father surprises her by giving her the keys to the family's sparkling Nissan Rogue SUV. "On my God, the Rogue!" she screams. "You're the best dad in the world!"
Nissan had signed a deal to sponsor and market the show, which agreed to place the manufacturer's vehicles in many of its episodes.
Spurlock, a documentary filmmaker, and his co-writer/producer, Jeremy Chilnick, talked about the episode at work the next day. "We were so completely blown away and offended by this happening to the show and talked about other shows this was happening in, and we said why don't we make a movie that explores this topic?"
And so they did. But the result is not just a critique of product placement and the constant, ubiquitous advertising we see in our everyday lives. The film is itself the ultimate in product placement and advertising -- it was totally paid for by companies seeking to promote products. That's why it's called "Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold." It opened in theaters Friday.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:14 PM   #628 (permalink)
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I love well done product placement, especially if it prevents commercials... And no, I don't work for an advertising firm.

I would rather 'see' a product used than be 'told' to use this product.

And I like the "How It's Made" type of shows that describe the process of making a product. They usually get their company name in there, but it is a much better advertisement than any 30 second commercial could ever be.
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:34 AM   #629 (permalink)
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Quote:
Ads Implant False Memories | Wired Science| Wired.com
Ads Implant False Memories



My episodic memory stinks. All my birthday parties are a blur of cake and presents. I’m notorious within my family for confusing the events of my own childhood with those of my siblings. I’m like the anti-Proust.
And yet, I have this one cinematic memory from high-school. I’m sitting at a Friday night football game (which, somewhat mysteriously, has come to resemble the Texas set of Friday Night Lights), watching the North Hollywood Huskies lose yet another game. I’m up in the last row of the bleachers with a bunch of friends, laughing, gossiping, dishing on AP tests. You know, the usual banter of freaks and geeks. But here is the crucial detail: In my autobiographical memory, we are all drinking from those slender glass bottles of Coca-Cola (the vintage kind), enjoying our swigs of sugary caffeine. Although I can’t remember much else about the night, I can vividly remember those sodas: the feel of the drink, the tang of the cola, the constant need to suppress burps.

It’s an admittedly odd detail for an otherwise logo free scene, as if Coke had paid for product placement in my brain. What makes it even more puzzling is that I know it didn’t happen, that there is no way we could have been drinking soda from glass bottles. Why not? Because the school banned glass containers. Unless I was willing to brazenly break the rules — and I was way too nerdy for that — I would have almost certainly been guzzling Coke from a big white styrofoam container, purchased for a dollar from the concession stand. It’s a less romantic image, for sure.

So where did this sentimental scene starring soda come from? My guess is a Coca-Cola ad, one of those lavishly produced clips in which the entire town is at the big football game and everyone is clean cut, good looking and holding a tasty Coke product. (You can find these stirring clips on YouTube.) The soda maker has long focused on such ads, in which the marketing message is less about the virtues of the product (who cares if Coke tastes better than Pepsi?) and more about associating the drink with a set of intensely pleasurable memories.

A new study, published in The Journal of Consumer Research, helps explain both the success of this marketing strategy and my flawed nostalgia for Coke. It turns out that vivid commercials are incredibly good at tricking the hippocampus (a center of long-term memory in the brain) into believing that the scene we just watched on television actually happened. And it happened to us.

The experiment went like this: 100 undergraduates were introduced to a new popcorn product called “Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Fresh Microwave Popcorn.” (No such product exists, but that’s the point.) Then, the students were randomly assigned to various advertisement conditions. Some subjects viewed low-imagery text ads, which described the delicious taste of this new snack food. Others watched a high-imagery commercial, in which they watched all sorts of happy people enjoying this popcorn in their living room. After viewing the ads, the students were then assigned to one of two rooms. In one room, they were given an unrelated survey. In the other room, however, they were given a sample of this fictional new popcorn to taste. (A different Orville Redenbacher popcorn was actually used.)

One week later, all the subjects were quizzed about their memory of the product. Here’s where things get disturbing: While students who saw the low-imagery ad were extremely unlikely to report having tried the popcorn, those who watched the slick commercial were just as likely to have said they tried the popcorn as those who actually did. Furthermore, their ratings of the product were as favorable as those who sampled the salty, buttery treat. Most troubling, perhaps, is that these subjects were extremely confident in these made-up memories. The delusion felt true. They didn’t like the popcorn because they’d seen a good ad. They liked the popcorn because it was delicious.

The scientists refer to this as the “false experience effect,” since the ads are slyly weaving fictional experiences into our very real lives. “Viewing the vivid advertisement created a false memory of eating the popcorn, despite the fact that eating the non-existent product would have been impossible,” write Priyali Rajagopal and Nicole Montgomery, the lead authors on the paper. “As a result, consumers need to be vigilant while processing high-imagery advertisements.”

At first glance, this experimental observation seems incongruous. How could a stupid commercial trick me into believing that I loved a product I’d never actually tasted? Or that I drank Coke out of glass bottles?

The answer returns us to a troubling recent theory known as memory reconsolidation. In essence, reconsolidation is rooted in the fact that every time we recall a memory we also remake it, subtly tweaking the neuronal details. Although we like to think of our memories as being immutable impressions, somehow separate from the act of remembering them, they aren’t. A memory is only as real as the last time you remembered it. What’s disturbing, of course, is that we can’t help but borrow many of our memories from elsewhere, so that the ad we watched on television becomes our own, part of that personal narrative we repeat and retell.
This idea, simple as it seems, requires us to completely re-imagine our assumptions about memory. It reveals memory as a ceaseless process, not a repository of inert information. The recall is altered in the absence of the original stimulus, becoming less about what we actually remember and more about what we’d like to remember. It’s the difference between a “Save” and the “Save As” function. Our memories are a “Save As”: They are files that get rewritten every time we remember them, which is why the more we remember something, the less accurate the memory becomes. And so that pretty picture of popcorn becomes a taste we definitely remember, and that alluring soda commercial becomes a scene from my own life. We steal our stories from everywhere. Marketers, it turns out, are just really good at giving us stories we want to steal.

Image: irene/Flickr.
I experience this as well.

an amazing thi
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Old 05-26-2011, 11:40 AM   #630 (permalink)
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Yes. It has always saddened me that so many of my good friends - who are quite insightful about other matters - seem to prefer to remain systematically blind to the power of media over their lives and minds. We like to flatter ourselves with nonsense like "I know the difference between real life and a movie" even though we don't actually know, for example, the difference between real life and a movie...
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:04 PM   #631 (permalink)
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I occasionally hear people say, "I'm not influenced by advertising" or, "Ads don't influence my decisions." I can't recall anyone ever actually admitting to being influenced by advertising. The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he doesn't exist. Well, the greatest trick the advertising industry ever played was convincing consumers that they are independent decision-makers.

I have studied adverting from a psychological perspective. Marketing departments around the world spend millions of dollars understanding human psychology and how to tap into it. It's even a pretty big research industry in itself finding out the best way to influence children into taking action, whether it's directly or indirectly through parents. There are decades of research. There are decades of trial and error, finding out what makes consumers tick, what makes them buy.

Sure consumers get increasingly sophisticated, but so do marketers. There's a ton of money to be made; it's only natural.

The wider issue of separating fantasy from reality in the media is another matter entirely.
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Old 05-26-2011, 12:19 PM   #632 (permalink)
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"I can't recall anyone ever actually admitting to being influenced by advertising." Excellent observation.

As for the difference between what is called "reality" and what is called "media" - this is precisely the issue. In the most significant ways - and the article above describes one of them - we cannot reliably distinguish the difference. This is how we are controlled by what is known as "culture".
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