Programed by a Small Box
November 30, 2012 1 Comment
I often wonder, when I hear someone talking about the television program they watched the previous night, if they acknowledge the word “Program”. Program is the perfect word.
From the time we are small, whether on our own or by the hands of our parents, we are programmed by a small box. The mistake from the start, was thinking the box was there to inform educate and entertain. The mistake was thinking your favorite series was given a Emmy Award, for anything but the massive revenue created from the sale promotional segment contracts. The mistake is thinking your TV main purpose is to catch the big game on the weekend. When the truth is, all the programing all the broadcasts serve only two purpose. Those purposes are, manipulating public opinion, and the sale of commercial products.
We live in a time where the best and brightest in the field of psychology, are working in advertising. Which makes sense to me, because of the limited time a “program’ break provides, for the material presented to capture your mind. One thing however, that works in their favor is repetition.
Take for example, since this manipulation starts so early, the commercials presented during children’s programing. These commercials seem harmless with their bright colors catch phrases, and cartoon characters. This is far from the truth. What is happening with those commercials is indoctrination to product branding. Any parent who’s ever had a child on the cereal isle, in the grocery store, knows how effective their marketing can be. Even going so far as to bring children and parents into conflict over what’s for breakfast.
This branding, and the building of product loyalty, whether warranted or not, is in evidence in adults also. Lines for new electronics and Black Friday injures prove this out nicely.
I’m also fairly sure, I’d have better luck in helping a child understand this issue. A child’s indoctrination to the manipulations of the medium of television. Also children, have little understanding when it comes to social status through symbols. When almost every adult knows the difference between a Mercedes-Benz and a Toyota corporate logos.
Each and every commercial advertisements has had a show or series made, so they have the media vehicle with which to sell you, not only their product or service, but a feeling or emotion. Take for example, BP. So much damage so much outcry, but introduced the Human Element campaign, and regained much public approval. Coke is a decent example also at this time of year, for those who remember the “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” campaign. Also ATT’s, tear jerking, “Reach Out and Touch Someone” long-distance calling campaign, shows the attempt to manipulate the consumer.
The commercial manipulations mentioned above, are merely a few overt examples. The real issue is those who are much more subtle in their message. I don’t consider the common use of sex to sell in my list of subtle manipulations.
Really what I’d like, is for those who can’t see the reality of my words, in their daily television viewing, to read this. Just some simple awareness, is a good place to start. Becoming an educated consumer, and not a manipulated one, is the desired result. Not the abolishment of Television as a medium, .
As a side note, I would have enjoyed giving Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays a kick to the shin.