Advertising

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The first Star Wars film may have been released 37 years ago, but its hold on the popular imagination remains as strong as Darth Vader’s death-grip. On today’s show, a look at the role fandom has played in the success of the Star Wars franchise.

Plus, from data collection to the latest internet tracking technology, online advertisers go to great lengths to find out who we are and what we like. We’ll enter the world of intelligent marketing to find out just how much, or little, they really know about us.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Here’s a statement about campaign advertising that may surprise you even if you’ve seen the influx of ads on TV and online video sites: “Candidates, parties and groups ran at least 10,300 TV ads in the New Hampshire U.S. Senate race.”

That statement comes from a project called “Who’s Buying the Senate?”

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Think juice fasts are tough? Try blood-letting. On today's show, we’ll hear about some of the alternative medical treatments of the nineteenth century and how they laid the groundwork for modern medicine. Plus, we take a look at the funniest and most culturally resonant examples of product placement from the last ten years.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

It's a brave new world for advertising. In an attempt to vie for viewers scattered attention these days, ad agencies will do pretty much anything to cement brand awareness in the minds of consumers. Enter the age of "prankstervising." If you can get someone to scream, chances are you'll get them to remember, or so marketers believe. Here are a few of the best/worst prank ads.

1. Telekinesis prank in a coffee shop for the remake of Carrie.

NASA Goddard Photo and Video via Flickr Creative Commons

In a world filled with tough news, we’ve come to expect our weather updates to include a bit of comic relief. But is it time for them to sober up?  Today we’re challenging our expectations with the case against kooky weather-reporters. And, amid calls to prevent the mentally ill from buying guns, we’ll hear a challenge to the notion that health-care professionals can weed out America’s killers. Plus, we take a look at the funniest and most culturally resonant examples of product placement from the last ten years.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.


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The relatively unknown song "Daylight" by Brooklyn-based band Matt and Kim was featured in a 2009 Bacardi commercial, and by the following year went gold, selling over 500 thousand copies and sweeping Matt and Kim into the mainstream. Not so long ago, selling your music to ad agencies was considered the lowest form of selling out, a sure-fire way to lose hard-core fans. Today many musicians see it as the only way to make a living. And fans, for the most part, seem to be turning a blind eye. 

via adweek.com

In 1978, a message about a new word processing system went out to about 400 users of Arpa-net…that’s the U.S. Government sponsored progenitor of the World Wide Web.  It was the first example of what we now know too well as internet spam. In 1978, the mad men era was snuffing out its last cigarette, the seeds of celebrity endorsements were bursting open, and dawn was about to break on digital. That same year, Ad Week launched.  The publication is marking its 35th anniversary with a look at some pivotal, shocking and subtle moments in the advertising industry.  

David Griner is a contributing editor at AdWeek.

The advertising industry has made a bundle pitching feminine hygiene products, but even that expression, “feminine hygiene products,” illustrates how ads for tampons and pads avoid addressing what they are actually used for. But maybe you’ve seen the viral video that bucks the tradition of menstruation stigmatization…no blue liquid, no white tennis outfits, just a sassy twelve year-old girl, telling it like it is...

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Anthropology translates literally to the “science of humanity." We tend to think of it as a field that seeks to answer the big questions about what makes us human. A number of consultant anthopologists are seeking to answer queries that appear somewhat less profound. For example, consulting firms like ReD Associates use field research and ethnography to figure out (among other things) how people are drinking Absolut vodka at house parties.  Their services offer corporate clients a deeper understanding of consumer behavior through these anthropological methods, which presents a challenge to a traditionally academic arena with its own code of ethics and standards.

Part 1: Big Fundraiser Flame-Out, Circa 1884

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Personalized, addressable ads are finally hitting our televisions. Ad Age's Brian Steinberg explains how they're doing something that seems a little too Minority Report to be true.

And, some feedback about a listener about our coverage of the non-coverage of the Paralympics.

The question of how far the government can go in forcing a business — in this case cigarette makers — to warn consumers about its product is before a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

The Food and Drug Administration wants large, graphic warning labels to scare smokers, but tobacco companies say that violates their right to free speech.

Two of America's best-known companies, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, have dropped their memberships in the American Legislative Exchange Council, a low-profile conservative organization behind the national proliferation of "stand your ground" gun laws.

In the 1990’s, Brini Maxwell became a household name…at least in Manhattan, where the show dominated public access cable airwaves. The character was the alter ego of actor Ben Sander, a prototypical, pre-feminist, 1960’s homemaker…in drag. If Brini was emblematic of the gay counterculture media at the end of the twentieth century, 2003 brought a whole new brand of gay TV to the air…

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As the journalism world continues to grow and change, media companies are constantly brainstorming ways to find the next best revenue stream, while still trying to maintain integrity.  Some experts say journalists could help the cause by building their own personal brand outside of the institutions they work for.  It’s a concept that has caused lots of discussion, and some controversy, among journalists across the internet.  Owen Youngman is a journalism professor at the Medill School at Northwestern University who teaches and

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Here’s something else you’re bound to hear somebody say before kickoff on Sunday,“I don’t really watch football, but I like the ads and maybe the halftime show.” With bazillions of viewers watching "sans Tevo,” advertisers pull out all the stops for the big game, rolling out their most creative, edgy, and, hopefully, memorable campaigns.  This year though, Superbowl advertisers are adding a new offensive move to their playbooks – digital integration.  Here to tell us more is Sean Owen, CEO of the marketing and ad agency Wedu.

Photo by Aerrin99, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Independent producer John Lynch explores the increasing role of big-budget advertising in seducing the 30-something gamer generation to support the industry's Hollywood level profits.