A Look At The Evolution of Commercials and Marketing


This guest post is written by Jesse Robson, a freelance writer currently working for Liberty Marketing. When he's not at work Jesse spends most of his free time writing, following pop culture and playing with his golden doodle Max.

Commercials have certainly evolved from the time of your parents and even your parents' parents. If you get TV Land on cable tv, you might have even caught some of the older, retro commercials interspersed between episodes of The Andy Griffith Show and I Dream of Genie.

Yes, things were certainly different back then and all you really needed was a cute mascot, an infectious jingle and an authoritative voice to move product. However, commercials and, really, marketing as a whole have evolved.

Sex sells. While not an entirely alien concept to the early television marketing of the 50s and 60s, newer generations have certainly taken it to a whole new level. Whereas before, ads would entice you to buy their hair cream by suggesting you might "get lucky with the ladies" commercials these days aren't shy at all about not only hinting at that outcome but pretty much guaranteeing it. And the people eat it right up. Why wouldn't they?

Buying into the bizarre. Whereas an infectious jingle would stay with you for weeks on end, a lot of companies nowadays try a different approach. Marketing bizarre imagery and admittedly disturbing notions, it is the initial shock that this form of advertising administers that is just as memorable (scarring?) as an unforgettable jingle. Who could forget the Jack Link's beef jerky commercials where people play pranks on Sasquatch? Or those countless Skittles commercials that walk the fine line between disturbing and artistically absurd?

Commercials with canon. Probably the earliest example of this that comes to mind is the saga of the Energizer Bunny. In the mid to late 90s, the iconic Energizer Bunny was involved in everything from kidnapping attempts to intriguing espionage and he even became the target of Darth Vader and other iconic movie villains. While these commercials really didn't push the brand or the product, they served as serialized snippets of a story involving the unforgettable mascot. You actually had to pay attention to these commercials and people were definitely watching.

Meta marketing. Ever hear of an ARG? ARG is an acronym which stands for Alternate Reality Game. The premise of an alternate reality game was to draw the consumer into a fictional world of whatever product or brand, and have that fictional world influenced by things the consumer did in the real world. One of the best examples of this was the various ARGs created around the hit television series - LOST. Viewers would watch an episode, see some kind of cryptic clue in a commercial or scene, and then go online where they would try to solve a mystery all the while being bombarded by advertising.

Streaming saleable ideas. If you thought you could escape commercials by using online streaming services, think again. Whether it's the infinite repository known as Hulu or even Fox's very own streaming video player, there are guaranteed to be ads spliced into the programming. Even services that aren't blatantly associated with television - like YouTube - have implemented ads in their videos.
And those are really just a handful of the examples that illustrate a clear evolution not just in commercials but marketing methods as well. And, you can bet, as the ways we interact with and utilize technology continue to evolve, so will the advertising.

by Steve Hall    Aug-29-12   Click to Comment   
Topic: Cable, Opinion, Television