I’ve always had a little chip on my shoulder against advertising. I know its a huge business in this country, but at the same time it makes me kind of sick. I recently was thinking about it because I am on the verge of advertising my comic book through google adsense, twitter, amazon.com, and other means. I understand the need to promote and display what product you have to create, but at the same time I think we have enough marketplace material shoved down our throats as it is. I don’t like the idea of being another voice in a crowded stadium of voices yelling at you to purchase their product or buy into their ideology. One of my favorite bands when I was in high school, Tool, put it best in their song, Hooker with a Penis:
I met a boy wearing Vans, 501s, and a dope beastie-tee, nipple rings, and new tattoos that claimed that he was OGT, from ’92, the first EP. and in between sips of coke he told me that he thought we were sellin’ out, layin’ down, suckin’ up to the man. Well now I’ve got some advice for you, little buddy. Before you point the finger you should know that I’m the man, and if I’m the man, then you’re the man, and he’s the man as well so you can point that fuckin’ finger up your ass.
Advertising has changed drastically over the years too which gets me thinking about the greater amount of deceit and manipulation contained in advertising today. In the 1800’s if you wanted to purchase a piece of clothing you would look in a shop window and see the actual piece of clothing. You could admire it’s stitching, inspect it for mistakes or stains, and decide to buy that individual product. It was advertised in a plain manner with nothing else attached to it. What you see is what you get. As time moved on and advertisers began fighting for more buyers our understanding of psychology and human nature changed the way we advertised. Today when you see an advertisement for jeans you may get an image or commercial where the actual product is never pictured. It is better to sell an image or an ideal then an actual pair of jeans.
When we see Dr. Dre advertising Dr. Pepper you immediately attach the idea of Dr. Dre to Dr. Pepper. You can be like him if you do this. And the same goes for Mountain Dew or McDonalds signing on to the X-Games or the Olympics. To me its all a big lie. “I’m Michael Phelps and I am a real winner because I ate a Big Mac,” This is the connection I make, and I think it’s a bunch of crap. Another great example are precious diamonds, which symbolize true love, wealth, and commitment, which are mined out of the earth by poor and imprisoned children in Sierra Leon.
I guess I feel worse about advertisements where the actual truth about the product is hidden or warped. I think that’s one of the great things about the internet; a great deal of information is presented in raw data instead of whatever the media machine wants you to see. I can see an ad for a Nike shoe on my television with Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan,.. and then I can go online and see actual viewer reviews and comments about that shoe, or research the methods in which Nike shoe’s are produced.
In this day and age it is really ignorant to be uncaring about the origin of anything you are buying; you should know where it comes from and how it is made.
I am a big believer in the future of advertising and product information being free and open, so that’s why I have decided to put my entire first book online for free. You can see exactly what you are getting in the printed version but if you purchase the book you can enjoy it as it was meant to be read; as a 118 page bound full color graphic novel.