Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Clint Eastwood commercial

When watching the Super Bowl just last night in the amazing game between the Giants and Patriots the world was watching closely at the hundreds of millions of dollars that was spent on advertising. Some people only watch the Super Bowl for the advertisements anyways, so it’s meant to be a hefty price. It’s amazing how much money was revolving around the Super Bowl game when you really think about it. The game alone costs gazillions, let alone all the television revenue, and extras. But as I sit here today and make an effort to not only analyze the game, but the advertisements too, I can’t get over thinking how the companies did such a nice job including everybody of all genders and multiple ethnicities in their commercials. In this day in age we see a ton of negativity towards the media and how the public continues to think that there is not enough diversity.

The Super Bowl is one of America’s largest events of the year, and it showed by its ratings. Last night the game scored a 47 household rating, which makes it the most watched event in television history. There were a few commercials that stood out to me, but the one that stood out the most had to be the Clint Eastwood commercial where he was promoting GM and Detroit. You can watch it here: Detroit Super Bowl Commercial. I chose this commercial to talk about because it is a perfect example of how the media is indeed diverse. Not only that, but the Super Bowl is not only geared towards men anymore. Sure, there are a million obvious reasons that can back up an argument of why it is geared towards men, but on the opposite side there are also a few arguments of why it is not.

This commercial with Clint Eastwood in it is all about a country strong together as one. Yes, in reality it was an advertisement from GM so they can promote their product, but it was created in a way in which the audience, us, would not solely think about it this way. The commercial was talking about how it was halftime, not only in the Super Bowl, but in America too, except in America, it is not just a game. Clint Eastwood was talking about how America can make a comeback. He said people are out of work and need to stand together. He kept saying we need to come from behind and come together. Clint Eastwood talked about how Detroit is coming back after it’s fall off the face of the Earth. I thought it was a perfect time for this commercial with our country not doing so well and the super polarized political system we have. Scenes shown in the commercial included whites, blacks, asians, latinos, men, women, and children. The ending of the commercial was my favorite part when Clint stated: “This country can’t be knocked out with one punch, we get right back up again and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines.”

As a part of the audience, I felt a little pride in this commercial, and it was obvious from this commercial that the game last night was not solely directed towards men, but rather everybody in this country as a whole, together as one.

Have you seen the new Progressive Insurance commercial?

If you haven’t seen this commercial yet I recommend doing so by clicking here.
The first time I saw this commercial I was very confused, and sad to say, I am still a bit confused. I am looking forward to hearing feedback to see what you guys think of it, but let me take a stab at it first.
Progressive Insurance is plain and simple; it’s an insurance company. I know them for the way the portray there product. It’s not just this commercial, but really all of them are pretty similar. They all have the overly hyped up woman with too much lip stick on and a blank white setting with Progressive Insurance boxes everywhere. A commercial will usually go as follows. It will open with the Progressive woman talking to a customer about their product and then there will be some sort of miscue or funny situation occur. What happens next is the customer and the Progressive woman sort of ignoring the problem and comparing Progressive to other insurance companies. The commercial finally ends with something that is supposed to be funny but is absolutely not.
This commercial sparked my interest though because it was the first time ever where I really thought deeply about what was going on. I think this is because I didn’t understand the commercial, and still sort of don’t. Regardless, after learning a little bit about Progressive and watching a multitude of their commercials I feel like they do not target a specific demographic. Maybe this is true with all insurance company commercials or not, but Progressive definitely is wide open. The only thing that stays the same with these commercials is that the main actor is a white woman and the setting is a blank white stage. I think Progressive decided to make the setting a blank white stage because they want their audience to think freely about what the commercial is. I feel like it’s almost as if they want their audience to paint their own picture. Progressive is trying to break the stereotypical insurance company boundaries by not only placing this funny, outgoing, loud, woman as their main sales person but also showing a multitude of different customers and different comical situations. In this specific commercial the Progressive woman was talking to another woman about insurance and then they looked at these two white males with their pants on fire. I think there pants were on fire to symbolize that they were lying but that’s where I got confused.
After watching the commercial you guys should post to help me clarify what it’s about. Is Progressive going further than I thought with this specific commercial? Am I reading this totally wrong? A lot of questions can be addressed with this commercial so I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Eye On the Prize

Over the past week I have been thinking a lot about our topic (consumer literacy) and product placement in particular, as I watch TV and movies.  In J201, we once discussed in lecture how influential figures in the media consuming products often makes the product appear more desirable.  And would have to say that I agree.
For example, I was watching an episode of HBO's "Entourage" when some of the main characters were partaking in consuming and selling Avion Tequila.  I was at a Mexican restaurant one night when one of my friends ordered a shot of Avion and I asked him why he chose the drink.  He said, "oh I saw it on Entourage and wanted to give it try".
I would say I have to agree with the whole notion that when people know they are seeing an advertisement, they automatically shut off and tune it out.  People consuming media seem to be very vulnerable to advertisements when they are not directly being told to consume, but showed.  I feel as though product placement in TV and movies is one of the best forms of advertising. And if you keep your eyes open, you start to see it everywhere.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ads through Google Tracking

I definitely would consider myself an avid user of Facebook. I actually wrote a paper about this for a journalism class last semester. Recently, however, Facebook has begun making me a bit more skeptical. My Facebook page is always logged on from my Blackberry and almost always from my computer. And lately, I've noticed the ads that can be found on the side of my profile and home page are almost always directed exactly to me. These ads are almost always very similar to some of my recent Google searches. 

Again, in looking back on my journalism class from last semester, I remember talking about this one week. The internet, and especially Google, is doing an impressive job with tracking its users and what they like. When I log on to my most visited website, Facebook, I can automatically be provided with advertisements of clothes I like, sports teams I cheer for, food I enjoy and much more. As cool as this, I think its a little scary too. Have we lost all of our privacy thanks to the internet? Later in the semester, I may try out an experiment in regards to this.

Its crazy to think that by searching something on the internet, it can be linked to the rest of your online viewing. Does that mean that everyone is available to see what we are posting? I'll attach a link (once I find it) of an article that goes very in depth to this subject. It really makes you wonder what to put on the internet. 

And that brings up another topic of what is too much to post online? With the job market being so competitive, its things like google searches, background searches, etc. that can make the difference. So bloggers be careful on what you post in cyber space.

False Advertising Content on Websites

False advertising can come in many forms beyond commercials and ads. For as assignment our media fluency class this week, we were asked to determine the truth value of a website on the fictitious Pacific Northwesterm Tree Octopus. Despite the fact the the name of the animal sounds completely fake, the website is quite convincing and got me thinking about how easy it is to lie on the internet. 

The website has a "media" page with links to news articles, video interviews, and literature discussing the tree octopus. It first looks like there is a long list websites and articles covering the tree octopus, but once I checked the sites I saw that they were all published by the same people and therefore do not count as multiple sources. 

The creators of the website even took precaution against people searching the animal on other websites by eliminating the most obvious and reliable one: The Endangered Species List. This was done by stating that though the species is at great risk, it has not yet been put on the official list. 

Another trick the site employed was to create a page dedicated to sightings. If you look just at the first two pictures, the tree octopus looks like it could actually be real. If you take the time to scroll down, however, the pictures get increasingly fake looking. Most were just plastic or stuffed animals. 

Here are a few ways to check the accuracy and reliability of any website you visit:

1. Check who published the websites. 
This can generally be found at the top or bottom of a given website. In the case tree octopus website, the site's mission statement and author biographies were clearly written by crazy people or to be taken as jokes, Either way, they provide evidence to any reader that no site they create should be taken seriously. 

2. Cross check your information. 
A simple Google or Wikipedia search can go a long way. Viewing a few different reliable sources published by various authors to see if information matches up can almost always verify skepticism. 

3. Be thorough. 
Don't be fooled by what the website places at the top of the page or the names of links it posts. Scroll down the page to see what lies below. If links are given, do not assume they are what they are titled. Click on the links and visit the other pages to see if they are real or fraud. 

4. Be skeptical. 
Don't assume all sources are reliable or that people on the internet are honest.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Air Advertising

This is a paper I wrote last semester on Michael Jordan and his advertising campaign that has remained a legacy long after his leaving the game.

In 1985, the world of sports and advertising were changed forever.  Michael Jordan was drafted to the Chicago Bulls, he won rookie of the year, led this team to the playoffs after a four year drought, and was given his own endorsement deal by Nike. In the following years, Air Jordan would prove to be one of the highest grossing sports brands in the world.  The first ever Air Jordan commercial aired on TV in 1986 shortly after the Chicago Bulls playoff run.  This commercial helped to spark a 25-year plus sports marketing legacy that is still going strong years after Jordan’s retirement.  The Air Jordan 1 commercial delivers its message efficiently, appeals to a mass audience, and significantly increased sales.  Nike and Air Jordan can attribute this success to having a phenomenal spokesman, effective placement, using various tools to appeal to people of all demographics.
            Michael Jordan is arguably the most special athlete the world has ever seen. Just recently, he was awarded ESPN’s Athlete of the Century award. From his acrobatic dunks, to winning a total of 6 NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan has helped to turn himself and his brand into an international icon.  As discussed in section and lecture, part of what makes an advertisement or product sell, is making it seem cool. In high school, Michael Jordan was cut from his sophomore basketball team, with his unstoppable work ethic and determination, he was able to get a full ride scholarship to the University of North Carolina, where he led the team to and NCAA championship. 
Once in the NBA, he won rookie of the year and scored 63 points wearing the same shoes advertised in the first Air Jordan 1 commercial.  In the article Sports of the Times: Jordan Ads a Shorstop to his Team, Derek Jeter commented on why Michael Jordan makes such a great spokesperson for Air Jordan, “Measure what he stands for on and off the court. I don't know if there's an athlete out there who wouldn't want to be affiliated” (Rhoden/Jeter).  Derek Jeter, an athlete also sponsored by Jordan, talks about what an honor it is even to be affiliated with Jordan brand and speaks of it as if it is an honor.
In the article, Jordan Keeps Score on Nike’s Global Marketing, Roman Vega, Jordan Brand Manager, was cited saying, “even back in the day, he was validating the performance aspect of our product” (Vega).  Or in other words, Michael Jordan wearing a shoe, makes it legitimate and appealing, not only because he is a global icon, but because he is the best basketball player of our time. The first Jordan commercial helped to build an image that is not only cool, but admired by several others in the sports industry.
            The Air Jordan 1 commercial uses numerous tools to help appeal to several audiences.  First, the commercial shows Michael Jordan wearing the Jordan I’s, the same pair he was seen wearing while breaking a playoff scoring record as a rookie.  This placement of the product helps the audience view this product as very legitimate because it shows the best player in the NBA playing basketball in the Jordan I’s.  Also, Jordan is playing basketball on an urban basketball court, in the middle of the city on a chained, worn down hoop.  According to Douglas Holt in the article Born to Buy, “ it is now the local, authentic qualities of street culture that sell…it is the context itself-the neighborhood, the pain of being poor… these are the commodifiable assets”(Schor).
The aspect of “street” used in this commercial do not just relate itself to black kids, or people living in the city, it relates to white kids as well. Paul Kurnit explains, “ Whats going on in white America today is the inner city is very much a Gold Standard.  We’ve got lots of white kids who are walking around emulating black lifestyle” (Schor).   Not only is the urban setting of this commercial relating and catching the eye of kids who are engulfed in inner city living, it intrigues and draws in another audience of people who think that this way of life is cool.
            While Jordan is dribbling up to the hoop, rising up, and dunking in this commercial, the background noise is of jet engines.  As Jordan takes flight, the engines rev up and blare through the speakers.  Schor makes the statement in her article that children and teens will find an advertisement more appealing if the people using the product are seen doing superhuman activities.  Air Jordan not only compared Michael to a plane, but it shows him jumping very far and very high in order to dunk. This commercial effectively encapsulates the image of humans flying when wearing Air Jordans.
            This commercial not only launched a brand, but it launched an international icon that would gross an incredible amount of money.  Roman Vega was again cited talking about how Jordan creates a great global market.  “His marketing power is tremendous.  He has a strong presence not just in the sneaker community but in pop culture.  We are expanding the brand globally and when we take him to Asia or Europe the international power of Michael is tremendous.  The presence and excitement he brings to each market is amazing” (Vega).  In addition to becoming a global icon, Jordan Brand has helped increase revenue for Nike over the years.  Nike accounts for 85% of the 2.5 basketball shoe industry, and Vega accounts much of this to Air Jordan.  Without Air Jordan, who knows where Nike would stand amongst competitors today.
            Nike is sitting pretty nowadays with the large revenues it rakes in from apparel sales world wide, and many of these are attributed to the Jordan Brand.  However, this all started from the commercial that aired in 1985 that showed Michael Jordan soaring across the tv screen to the sound of a plain taking flight.  The Air Jordan I commercial successfully captivated its audience with advertising tools and superior role model that has increased sales to a magnitude that still influence buyers today.

Works Cited

Boscher, S. (2005). Born to Buy. Ecologist, 35(9), 64-65. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Janoff, B. (2007). Jordan keeps scoring in nike's global marketing. Brandweek, 48(44), 11-11. Retrieved from

Sugar, B. R. (2000). From basketball to business: The air jordan saga plays on. Advertising Age, 71(13), 72-72. Retrieved from

WILLIAM C., R. (1999, April 10). Sports of The Times; Jordan Adds A Shortstop To His Team. New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved from EBSCOhost

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Consumer Literacy

Welcome to our class blog for Journalism 176. Postings will commence as soon as possible.