Hypercommercialism

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One of the most interesting parts of McChesney's writing was when he talks about the control that companies have in oligopolistic markets: "Firms in oligopolistic markets have more control over their fate: they are price makers, not price takers. This is a much more desirable market structure for a firm than is a competitive market; it can lock in profits, through maintaining higher prices, because new firms probably won't enter the market." This makes sense because obviously, a company would rather do business in an industry with low competition than in one with high competition.

Another good point that he makes is when he explains the logic behind advertising. It is done, in part, to attract new customers without cutting prices, which would cost the company money. "Advertising to generate demand for products increases sales without reducing prices." Many parts of this reading reminded me of the Williamson article that we read. Especially when McChesney talks about how products in most categories are essentially the same, so in order to sell a particular product, the manufacturer has to convince the public that their product is different from the others in a way that makes it more appealing. This, according to McChesney, is how brand identity is created.

McChesney also mentions that the amount of advertising is increasing, but he also notes that the more ads that are shown, the less people pay attention. An advertising executive is quoted in the writing as saying "Eventually there will be entire channels devoted to commercials." This seems paradoxical. If the public is really becoming disillusioned with advertisements, why would an advertising executive think that anyone would want to watch a channel that had nothing but commercials? As McChesney writes, advertising is appearing everywhere these days. Because of this advertisement saturation, one would think that the public's attitude toward ads would be becoming more negative than anything else, and McChesney does write that people are becoming indifferent to excessive advertising. The concept of everything being sponsored and our values being reduced to commodities is pretty disturbing.

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I also thought the quote saying one day there will be a channel dedicated to commercials would be ridiculous. I can't ever imagine a channel that people watched consisting of only commercials. But then I think about the Super Bowl... I think about how many people watch it just for the commercials. I also begin to think about people in the past saying things like, "wouldn't it be ridiculous if companies put advertising on public television or radio?" and that happened... I am still completely unconvinced that an "Ad Channel" will ever exist, but I will think back to this class if one ever pops up.

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This page contains a single entry by DarkStar published on February 14, 2013 9:30 PM.

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