Mav (chrismaverick) wrote,

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on the existence of advertising...

I saw Matrix Reloaded last night. Since everyone else in the free world is offering their thoghts on it right now, I will spare you mine for now (though I reserve the right to come back to it in the future if the need strikes) and instead talk about something of inevitable more importance.

1000 Words of Free Flowing Hostility on Advertising in Movies

Now, I’m not going to go so far as to completely reject the premise of advertising and commercials. Unlike the rest of my TiVo brethren, I understand its purpose, and its usefulness in the world. In point of fact, I sometimes use the TiVo to rewind and rewatch certain commercials that I particularly enjoy. Key in point being the miraculous Ode to the Wingman commercial that I have discussed here before. I have all of ther Terry Tate Officelineback commercials saved on my harddrive. Simply put, I like commercials. I even acknowledge the place of ads on the Internet. My biggest problem with Intenet ads isn’t that they exist, its that most of them are just stupid. How come there are no that have the equivalent flair of a where’s the beef lady, or a 1984 apple commercial? Why are there no fashionable copper rivets? A fucking pink bunny with a drum? Advertising is important. When I was growing up, my father was a newscaster and my mother worked for Proctor & Gamble. Simply speaking, commercials paid the bills. Advertising is important in Internet land for free. It costs money to run that T-1 you download your pr0n from, geekboy. Besides, everytime you click a banner ad, an angel gets its wings.

The problem is Internet ads are lame, and that’s why I don’t like them.

Yesterday, I came to the conclusion that movie theater ads are lame too.

See, movies are different than television. First of all, TV, at least in this country, is free… for the most part anyway. I might pay for the electricity or for the satellite or cable bill, but very little of that money trickles down to the actual content providers (except in the fringe cases of premium content providers like HBO or Showtime and Pay-Per-View events like Boxing or Wrestling… but even in those cases, dedicated advertisements are generally either eliminated, or limited to self-promotion). TV is free, so I accept that I pay for it with my eyes and time. I have the same understanding for websites. Movies aren’t free. Movies cost me $8.25. I have paid to see them and so I don’t have the expectation that I will be paying in other ways. I have paid to not have to deal with that. If I pay for membership to a website, I don’t want to be inundated with pop-up and banner ads. I actually have a similar wish for magazines and comic books. Given that I pay for them, I would like there to be less advertisements. I suppose there are comics and magazines with no ads and those tend to cost more, so there is an obvious trade-off here. Publishers are striking a balance, and in the magazines I read, I suppose I am willing to accept that balance.

The other primary difference at work here is format. Movies look better than TV. They are on giant screens and a lot of money is put into producing them. This makes the ads look even stupider. I have much lower expectations of things that I see on TV in my little home theater room, so I can sit back and have a field day laughing at a guy singing about the wingman or two girls cat fighting in a fountain over whether something is less filling or tastes great. But comparatively, seeing some putz who isn’t Hugo Weaving trying to pretend he’s part of the Matrix mythos in order to pimp Powerade just comes across as stupid and annoying and makes me not want to try the beverage at all. And don’t even get me started on the stupid smoking-is-bad-for-you-fake-romantic-drama ad. I wanted to light a smoke up right there just in the name of spite. Then there is the join the marines and be an action hero ad. Actually I really like that ad. I’ve always had a thing for the marines’ ads. They kick the crap out of the army’s ads. But it just seems so much less exciting in a movie theater caked between the action sequences of the new Charlies Angels movie and the 138 minute fight sequence that is Matrix Reloaded. Why even try? Suddenly the marines come across as pansies. They don’t dodge bullets, they don’t jump out of a windows on the 65th floor of a skycrapers. They don’t even fight ninjas. Even Drew Barrymore can fight ninjas. The marines are fucking wimps. Why would I want to join them? See, I don’t have that problem when I see that commercial during Friends or a football game or even an old Bruce Lee movie. I see the commercial and I’m like “woah dude! Rock climbing! Gun! Fucking magic swords! Where do I sign up?” I was all set to join and now they’ve lost me. I’m going to be a super hacker freedom fighter instead. Or maybe one of Charlie’s Angels.

Ok, some commercials belong in the movies. I like trailers for other movies. They tell me what I’m going to be seeing next. I accept the usefulness of the Fandango commercial, though I think the current Fandango commercial is a lot less cool than the old Fandango commercial, but without them, how would we have known about the Fandango, and how would we have gotten tickets to see this movie? But you know what, these ads are targeted towards me. “Hey, you know what? These people are in a movie theater! I bet they like buying movie tickets! Tell them about the Fandango.” “You know what else, they must like action movies cuz they’re coming to see one right now. Tell them about new Charlies Angels and Fast and Furious films.” “Oh, and I bet you they like to drink stuff so we can sale them Powerade. And they breathe so we can ask them not to smoke, and they’re in America so we can ask them to defend it.” BZZZTT!!!!

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