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Old 09-05-2005, 03:34 PM   #16
lapietra
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I don't think cultural phenomenons will ever be completely eradicated. There will always be people who will be drawn to whatever is making the most noise, is the most colorful, etc. I'm looking at your query with Gladwell's "Tipping Point" most fresh in my memory, and it seems to me that whether or not we're responding to something we've heard about via mass media, or via a network of friends, there are going to be mass responses to cultural happenings regardless.

What may change (hopefully) is that the quality of what we're responding to may rise - purveyors of entertainment and material product will have to make sure that they deliver the goods, because no one will respond to hype anymore - unless, as Gladwell hints at in his book, companies marketing the entertainment or item manage to identify individuals most responsible for spreading information about new entertainment or products among their peers and convince them to tailor their reports based on a paycheck from the interested company. I imagine there will be plenty of willing "Mavens" out there... ugh.

I'm definitely one of those who grew up letting mass media guide my choices. It was easier and safer than finding music no one else had heard or given their "blessing" to... more fun to talk about the latest episode of a favorite show with friends. I don't think it helped having a father that belittled some of my personal choices - and yet, it did, because when I think about the choices he belittled, it eventually drove me to make more sophisticated choices, probably to show that I could. Eventually I developed the courage and began to take pleasure in discovering music and books and new movies on my own. I count A. S. Byatt as one of my favorite discoveries. Now she has a huge following, but when I discovered "Possession", it was just a book with a beautiful cover whose first page drew me in and made me want more. Of course, I learned of her because someone at the bookstore decided the book should be placed at the front of the store in a prominent position... There are so many possible layers of discovery based on personally seeking out the new and unique. Maybe that will, maybe that has become the new trend! A courageous generation of people not satisfied with being handed their experiences by some company only interested in making lots of money... One can only hope. It certainly isn't something mass media is going to promote...
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Old 09-06-2005, 09:20 PM   #17
Brynn
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great posts, folks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lapietra

What may change (hopefully) is that the quality of what we're responding to may rise - purveyors of entertainment and material product will have to make sure that they deliver the goods, because no one will respond to hype anymore - unless, as Gladwell hints at in his book, companies marketing the entertainment or item manage to identify individuals most responsible for spreading information about new entertainment or products among their peers and convince them to tailor their reports based on a paycheck from the interested company. I imagine there will be plenty of willing "Mavens" out there... ugh.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what's happening. They are going after the kids, of course. I was appalled to find out that the advertising of the future will be between peers, harnessing the most sought-after, advertising-coveted power of "word of mouth" by offering cash incentives for kids who want to throw a party featuring their product, for instance, or hand out samples at school.

They're already exploring ways to turn commercials into entertainment - this has been going on for a long time, actually, with product placement in shows, but in the future there will be shows with an engaging story line built completely around a product. The dream is to completely transform entertainment as we know it.
A great early example of this is "Extreme Home Makeover" which, if you watch closely, is really just a thinly-disguised hour-long advertisement for Sears, complete with sears commercial breaks recapping what you've just seen on the show. It also advertises for various contractors and business franchises ("look who just showed up to knock down some walls! That's right, the Dallas Cowboys!") When I first read about it, I thought it would be impossible to make it work, but then I saw the show. It's amazing. It's got this tear-jerking, heartbreaking hook every week - some desperate family who really needs and deserves help - and then Sears makes all their dreams come true. No follow-up stories, so far, I've noticed.
I'm torn.
On one hand I think "Good. Corporate America gives back."
But on the other hand, it's kind of insidious. And compared to the vastness of real needs, paltry and self-serving.
But at least it makes helping the poor and homeless an attractive financial option for corporations in terms of advertising dollars, which is better than nothing.
At the expense of using the T.V. for artistic endeavors.
But really, helping one family at a time is all anyone can do, ever, right?
But doing that on T.V. makes it look like they are actually addressing the problem of poverty in the country without actually doing it on the scale that it needs. It's little more than a dog-and-pony show.
Sorry. I seem to have become schizophrenic talking about this.
Edited to add: And off-topic

Last edited by Brynn : 09-06-2005 at 09:23 PM.
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