Like a sitcom without a laugh track, Clear Channel has agreed to remove a billboard located in the parking lot of Sav-on-Drugs in Hollywood. The billboard is promoting a movie, made by Mexican filmmaker Sergio Arau, called "A Day Without A Mexican" and is meant to portray what life would be like if, suddenly, all the Mexicans in California disappeared. Obviously, the movie will say that's a bad thing and it would be. So a little play on words was used in the creation of the billboard. It reads, "On May 14th there will be no Mexicans in California." Apparently, a Sav-on-Drugs customer didn't have the wit to see the word play and complained to store management who then called Clear Channel who bent over....I'm sorry...honored the customer's request and moved the board.
Televisa Cine CEO Eckehardt von Damm, whose company produced the film, said, "It is a Mexican movie made by Mexicans, and we just want to entertain. Of course there's a message: We are here; we are part of the country."
America's sense of humor has left the building.
Back in December 2003, it was announced that the 4A's would launch a self-congratulatory slap on the back called the Walk of Fame on the corner of 50th and Madison Avenue. As the September 20, 2004 unveiling nears, the finalists have been announced. Consumers can vote for their favorite advertising icons during the week of June 14 on Yahoo, USA Today and advertisingweeknyc.com.
Writing in Ad Age, Commercial Alert Executive Director Gary Ruskin says, "...the advertising industry seems caught up in a death spiral of disrespect. In its desperate clamor to claim the attention of potential shoppers, the industry invents a new intrusive ad mechanism almost every week, until citizens are driven nuts by all the billboards, product placement, junk faxes, pop-unders and all the rest of it."
While Commercial Alert isn't exactly a proponent of any kind of advertising, he does have a valid point. It's bear impossible to escape advertising and media planners are continually being presented with or developing on their own new and more intrusive means of reaching consumers. Ruskin claims this will backfire in the face of the advertising industry and cause more harm than good. He cites San Francisco Board of Supervisors restoring its baseball park name to Candlestick park and Channel One being booted out of schools as signs of the rebellion.
He goes on to lambaste the industry claiming, "The industry's implicit message is a total lack of respect for our time, our privacy, our attention, our peace of mind, and not least for our concerns about our kids. 'Your attention is ours,' the industry says, in effect. 'We are entitled to it at every moment.'" He leaves no stone unturned claiming marketer's disdain for our health as represented by what he calls "marketing-related diseases" such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and smoking related illnesses; marketer's corruption of civic institutions by forcing their way into schools and onto police cars.
Calling this an escalation towards "mutual disrespect," Ruskin says this will be played out in the courts in the years to come as the boundaries of privacy are finely tuned and law upon law are passed governing the relationship between marketers and consumers.
Freedom of speech only goes so far. A car dealer has already fired a gun at a competing dealer's blimp. How long will it be before a holographic ad lands on one's front lawn causing an angry homeowner to unleash his private household nuclear powerplant on said holograph's ass?
For all the talk last year about those refusing to pay the ever rising costs of television during the upfront, well, that was last year and our attention span in the advertising industry is not so good. Upfront pricing for the children' television segment is seeing 15 to 20 percent increases over last year mostly due to heavy demand from the entertainment sector and that sectors propensity to shift plans continually once placed.
In the endless pursuit of fresh advertising ground, Chicago-based Relay Sports and Event Marketing has signed deals with the Professional Bull Riders and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for its client the Army. The deals include event signage, branded uniforms for sponsired riders, web site sponsorship interactive kiosks at events and a television campaign. Other advertisers that have jumped on the saddle are U.S. Smokeless Tobacco, Wrangler jeans, Pace Picante, Coors Light, Bud Light and Ford.