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FILM: Behind The Adverts
DVD [£47.00 plus VAT]
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30 mins, 2001
Everywhere we go we're bombarded by signs and images. Many of these are adverts carefully designed to get us to part with our money. But what are they doing to us? What are they doing to the world?
1. A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY:
In Britain for a long time there simply wasn't a need for marketing and advertising, because there wasn't much competition around. But in the 1950s a consumer boom began. Television advertising enabled companies to get inside people's homes and revolutionise the way goods were sold.
In the first TV adverts women were "mums" - always at home, getting the food, looking after the children. Men were dads who went to work. Black people didn't exist. Later ads showed men and women in more varied roles. Black people suddenly appeared. But did they just create new stereotypes?
3. A MULTI-BILLION POUND INDUSTRY:
Advertising is only one part of a multi-billion pound industry called marketing. Large companies have vast marketing departments. They employ advertising agencies to make their adverts. Other agencies - media agencies - exist simply to place the adverts on TV or in the press.
4. ARE YOU BEING SOLD TO?
What makes you choose one product instead of another? It's not just adverts. Publicity in magazines, sponsored educational materials, the Internet are all used to influence what we buy.
5. THEY WANT TO KNOW YOU:
Companies use market research to find out huge amounts of information about people and how they behave. They want to define their "target market". Surveys, focus groups, and representative samples are all a vital part of the tools of the market research trade.
6. THE BRAND:
Much of advertising isn't about new products, it's about having an established name - a brand. Why do some brands endure? Why do some brands die? Why do so many young people crave well-known brand names on their clothes? Do even they know? What about the terrible working conditions behind many of the famous brands?
7. CULTURE JAMMING: SUBVERTING THE BRAND
But more and more people are fighting back against what they see as media brain-washing. Groups are coming up with adverts designed to draw attention to the way advertising and marketing is being used to influence us. It's all part of a wider, global movement against the power of the multinationals and the Americanisation of culture - anti-globalisation.
Globalisation - it's about making things where labour is cheaper. In itself it's nothing new - but it's the intensity that's different. The Internet is playing an important part. Multinationals want to turn the world into one standardised global market, so everyone everywhere buys the same hamburgers.
9. THE POWER OF PICTURES:
The power of advertising is the power of pictures. But over-consumption brings disturbing pictures of its own. What about the darker side of the glossy advertising? What about pollution, congestion, global warming, which seem to threaten the world in which we live?
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