Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.

7/18/2006

ZYGOTE SCAPEGOAT

Okay, you’re heard about this advertising on eggs thing, right? If not, look at this.

In essence (yes, it took a real effort of will not to write “in a nutshell”) the TV network CBS is working with a company that laser-engraves eggs. Like, eggs you buy in the store. They’re engraving their logo on eggs, and some witty stuff like, “Crack the case with CSI!” Yeah, kinda corny, but I give them full points for coming up with this new and original advertising medium.

However-- and the rant is just about to start, so hold on-- people on the Internet seem to be up in arms about this. Like it’s some sort of attack on the American way of life (I mean, we’re not talking about burning logos into American flags or something equally horrible, like letting gay people marry).

Laid Off Dad
wrote a little piece about it, which solicited these comments from readers:
Yet another reason to buy eggs at the farmer's market.

Jesus.

I hate Leslie Moonves

How about toilet paper? Nice white surface and daily exposure to the ummmm consumer. Certainly where most advertising already is heading, no?

It’s the last one that really got my blood up. Now, obviously I work in advertising, so my opinion may not be the opinion of the average person. That is to say, when it comes to advertising, mine is an educated opinion.

The eggs thing? Who really gives a shit? It’s an EGG. You crack the shell, you toss it in the trash, and you’re done. It’s not like CBS is shrink-wrapping the eggs, or otherwise making them difficult to open. Is it really so traumatic to look at a company logo while you’re making breakfast? I mean, you see the logos on the can of coffee, the stove, the box of cereal, the refrigerator, the newspaper, and all the other consumer goods that are part of our daily lives, right?

Personally, I think it’s clever. Not terribly clever, though. I’m a little unclear on the connection between eggs and TV… if it was, say, a McDonald’s logo that said “Try our new egg & cheese sandwich and we’ll crack this for you” it would make more sense. The agency that came up with this idea is trying to make it fit, but it only works okay, in my mind. That is to say, as far as communicating a message. On the side of getting additional exposure for the network, this thing has worked like nobody's business. The Internet is abuzz about it, and I’m sure we’ll be reading about it in the newspapers and seeing it in the news shortly.

But I’m getting off-track. The last comment above is trashing advertising in general, to which I take offense. And believe me, I know how easy it is to trash advertising, people have been doing it for centuries. My personal favorite is Mark Twain, who described advertising as "the rattling of a stick inside a swill-bucket." That comment is more than a little ironic, given how great a self-promoter Twain was.

So yeah... billboards clutter up the highways, there's more ads than articles in my magazine, there's too many commercials on TV... Let's consider that last one. You want to know why there’s so many commercials on TV? Because no-one will pay $8,000 for a 16” TV. See, all the content on TV has to be paid in some fashion, and our nation long ago adopted a paid advertising model to allow content to be developed. See, the alternative would be to pay for that content by charging excessive prices for the TV itself. That’s the computer software model, by the way. You pay a lordly sum for your software, and -- surprise, surprise -- new software comes out every year or so. Be glad this isn’t the TV model or you can pretty much guarantee that electronics manufacturers would make their products in such as fashion that they’d need to be replaced every few years.

How about paying $12 for a newspaper? Or $25 for a magazine? Want to pay $15 every time you watch an episode of your favorite sitcom? The money for that content has to come from somewhere, and if it wasn’t for advertisers, that money would come from YOU. See, advertisers pay huge sums to newspapers and magazines and TV networks in the hopes you’ll buy their products. And if you don’t want to buy them, all you need to do it turn the page or flip the channel. That’s it. I think it’s a pretty good deal, actually.

Is advertising becoming more intrusive? Yeah, it is. Is it a little obnoxious to open up a carton of eggs and see a company logo? I guess. But when you consider the alternative, maybe it’s not such a heartache to deal with a little advertising.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Janice said...

I don't so much have a problem with "Advertising" per se, the problem I have is with advertis-ers particularly those on Madison Ave. as they try to assume that they know all and most New Yorkers tend to be rather isolated and at least in my experience narrow minded. I have a lot more respect for an ad agency in say Pittsburgh, Cleveland or Des Moine. So, bring on the eggs, at the very least, it'll make that whole Easter thing way more artsy.

9:10 AM

 

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