Relative experiences in relationship to the Williamson Piece

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The piece that I have felt relates to me the most this week is the Williamson piece. I remember taking a sociology class my freshman year of college and touching on this same topic. Growing up in the United States you have products and merchandise shoved in your face whether you realize it or not. As much as I hate to admit it I have also fallen for these ad "traps." As a little kid I remember specifically watching commercials for Toster Strudels. One of the actors is eating a poptart that appears very dry, and flavorless. The other actor comes in with a toster strudel that appears to be flaky and full of flavor. Despite the fact that I knew I liked poptarts, after watching the commercial I told my mom we HAD to get toster strudles. This is one of my earliest memories that I have of being affected by the commercial ad industry. In the Williamson piece she talks about the sign, signifier, and the signified all in relation to a reverent system. I feel that I can relate to this concept when I think about celebrities that are the signifiers, and as embarrassing as it is to admit, I fall for this stuff all the time. An example of this is in High School; Jessica Simpson was the face for Proactiv. I was a big fan of Jessica Simpson and thought that buying the product would result in me having celebrity like skin. I think one of the most famous signifiers today are the Kardashian sisters. If you put their face or name on a product it will almost immediately sell, and not necessarily because the product is great but because of the name in relation to the product.

5 Comments

I totally agree with your argument that celebrity endorsements help to sell products. In a consumer world everyone wants to be like the rich and famous. My fondest memory of celebrity entrapment involved my favorite childhood athlete Kevin Garnett. I bought every pair of Adidas Garnett basketball shoes as a kid. I cut so many lawns to buy 100 plus dollar shoes. Celebrity endorsement is such an intricate part of advertising and marketing.

When I was in high school Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were at the top of their careers and I hate to admit it but I wanted to be just like them. I already shared in class that I had to get a sweater that was a replica of one that Britney had but to make it even worse I also had to have leather pants to look like the two pop stars! It makes for a funny story now but also looking back on the affect that celebrities had on me is a little embarassing. If I could go back and say something to my 15 year old self I would say be your own person and just say no to the leather pants! When I look at teen girls now I wonder who are they trying to emulate? Taylor Swift or Rhianna? Another example of this was there were Nsync fruit snacks that had their pictures on the little bags. They were the same as all the other fruit snacks but I had to have those ones because they had my favorite boys on them!

Celebrity endorsements seem like a bizarre concept to me. On one level, it’s obvious that these people are not experts on almost anything and their opinion doesn’t matter. On another level, the public feels as if they ‘know’ these individuals and can trust their opinions as they would trust the opinions of their friends. Watching football this weekend, I noticed that there were back-to-back pizza delivery advertisements with endorsements from quarterbacks. There are clearly recipes (pun intended) for success that go along with choosing a celebrity to endorse a product. Anyone with a twitter account can attest to the fact that tween pop fan armies are incredibly well organized, albeit very annoying and detrimental to my perception of the younger generation. They are so programmed to a group mentality that they can unfortunately make huge impacts on media, markets, and just about anything. During this political season, I am thankful that most beliebers are not old enough to vote.

I thought this was also really interesting because so many kids are prone to fall for the exact same thing. The difference is that they want products that are endorsed by cartoons like Mickey Mouse. While this advertising may seem silly, I can see how it works. When you closely identify with a celebrity, you treat them somewhat like a friend. If one of my friends recommended a product, I would be more likely to buy it as well! It just seems silly at times when the celebrity that endorses the product is someone I would not consider trustworthy.

I was also really interested in this article. I was also very affected by advertising when I was a child. I personally think any child born in the last 30 years has been persuaded by advertising. It is ubiquitous. There is absolutely no getting around it, as it is a billion dollar industry. I find advertising very interesting, as we seem to more about it then say 50 years ago, but as of today, advertising is more powerful than it ever has been. There has been efforts to reduce the amount of advertising we intake, i.e. (off the phone list, TIVO, etc), but it still slips through cracks an invades our homes, thoughts, habits, and ideas.

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This page contains a single entry by moren168 published on September 13, 2012 5:16 PM.

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