I haven't blogged for a few weeks because I've been thinking; sorry.
It's hard to imagine a culture without commercials or an advertising industry. It would be so unlike our own... And our economy would certainly be even weaker than it is currently without the industry. Advertising is technically a form of communication and a source of information regarding products and services, but its effectiveness and viability has (thankfully!) become dependent on the entertainment value of the marketing piece.
I'm watching a commercial with a piece of toast. Bud Light has created a hilarious commercial utilizing the f word. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=EJJL5dxgVaM) There are serious commercials with a twist (Allstate insurance), annoyingly loud commercials that stick in your head (car dealerships... except the President's Day sale commercial that honored Millard Fillmore... that was funny), and funny commercials that spin out of control (Quizno's spongemonkeys, the Geico cavemen and gecko).
Noticed how commercials' soundtracks can jumpstart an artist's career? Sara Bareilles is definitely the most recent, but even the Colbie Caillat song and Feist's "1234" were at the same time. Maroon 5 got their start on a commercial. And I know I love any commercial with a Beatles or Simon & Garfunkel song. I really believe that British commercials are WAY funnier than ours.
Anyway, all I'm saying here is that our commercials are effective based on their entertainment value. I have no real opinion about this state of affairs; I'm just commenting on the fact that our ability to succeed in sales is often dependent on our ability to make somebody laugh.
Funny too how commercialized our entertainment is... Not just the Hollywood or Disney machines that crank out blockbusters and pop stars, but also the NBA that saps up our young talent and the WWF and NFL and other professional sports leagues. We have ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNU, and others. Now, I'm not knocking those channels and media conglomerations-- I adore SportsCenter. But independent thought is rarely found in today's entertainment, save the occasional low-budget hit or creative cult classic.
I do have an opinion about this -- I think it's sad, but I don't really see any other way.