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Entertainment Financing Still Tied to Needless Consumption
by Thom Fowler

Television is a medium that is largely paid for in ulcers, upset-stomach, poor grades, migraines, eye-strain, high cholesterol and a whole host of medical, emotional and personal ills related to sitting still, chomping on processed, chemical laden snack food and staring for hours and hours and hours.

The real cost of entertainment is measured in human waste. What are we willing to give up for a few laughs, to escape the opressive nature of our bills, job pressures and dysfunctional relationships? Evidently, our health.

The real message is “eat junk food” and we’ll keep delivering the programming. Drink beer and eat deep fried potatoes and we’ll keep the pigskin flying. Zap those zits and bathe your face in a chemical soup and we’ll keep the evening drama dramatic.

Needless consumption of goods and services that are actually bad for us is the bedrock of the entertainment that we hold we dear.

If people ate food that was good for them, would ad revenue drop off as sales dropped? No, the market would adjust. What part of the psyche understands this subtle mechanism and participates in the destruction of their health and the health of the planet by doing what is expected of them.

At your next superbowl party, serve whole grain breads, cheeses, nuts, and winter vegetables. A squash dip or thick and hearty carrot ginger soup. And if you have to drink, serve red wine (in moderation, keeps excess cholesterol out of the blood) and hoppy, dark beers (the hops are a natural sedative and is a bitter herb that helps the digestive process) and don’t forget plenty of chlorine-free water. You won’t spend much more and your body will thank you.

While the medical establishment would love for you to waste yourself so they can cash in when you are older (and REALLY need your health), steer clear of the “crisis model” of health care and opt for the preventative model. Don’t wait to break down before you take care of yourself. Make taking care of yourself part of your everyday life and start with the food you eat.

Live healthy and have fun! Don’t let the advertisors sell you short.

With the advent of recording technologies like Tivo, advertisors are rethinking brand placement and soon the 30 second commercial will be only one small part of the the placement strategy in television and films. You won’t be able to get around the commercial because the whole program will be the commercial.

While economic development is important as is a relationship with sponsors in the lucrative entertainment industry, we should remember that ad money will only show you a small portion of all your choices. Take the time to educate yourself and explore the world beyond “The word from our sponsor”.

Advertising is associated with feeling and lifestyle choices. The trend today is to create integration in programming. There is a paradigm shift toward placement in film. A cereal box can be changed in post-production as can a billboard in the background to sell regional products, in essence, ad space is now available in film and television in ways that make it cheap to provide the space while expensive for the advertisor to obtain.

This is a good business model for the entertainment industry but presents a diminished array of possibilites to someone who gets a large portion of their information through film and television. And by providing real world products associated with a lifestyle fantasy, the viewer can be duped into believing they will acquire the same characteristics by associating with a particular product. This is not a new idea nor a new practice or criticism. If everyone has their head in a collective muddle about product and lifestyle, then yes, the illusion comes off as planned.

The “market making” demographic in the film industry is the 15-25 year old, primarily male audience whose lifelong consumption patterns and lifestyle beliefs will begin to be conditioned and reinforced at a very early age through the media they are exposed to: television, film and video games.

“Hollywood learns through pain”, said Peter Decker at the recent bi-annual UCLA Anderson School of Management Economic Forecast summit meeting. This years focus was the entertainment industry.

You should remember that you have a choice. Take heed of the role advertisors play in shaping your character and your desires and continue to boldly blaze your personal, unique, path through life by choosing the goods and services you consume with care, considering the implications of purchasing or consuming a product and realize that you have more power over the world by how you spend your money, then how you vote.

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originally posted: 04/02/02 09:46:36
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