January 18, 2005

Watch Your Back(drop)

In my last post, I was talking about how politicians — taking a cue from the sports and entertainment industries — have begun turning photo ops into personal and policy product placements

Among other techniques, the President has made broad and increasing use of labeled backdrops, particularly to market his policy agenda.  This practice has been being adopted so fast, I think it’s already hardly noticeable.  ( Although I can’t decide if this practice marks a lasting trend, or will be looked back upon as the expression of a Willy Lohman-esque presidency that replaced old fashioned consensus building with the infomercial.)


In the meantime, the entertainment and sports industry continues to set the pace in carving ever more promotional space out of the visual frame.  Just one example can be found in yesterday morning’s LA Times coverage of the Golden Globe awards — an event, itself, born as a promotional tool.


Lest anyone forget who the main sponsor of the event was, I assume the winning recipients were reminded just how high and in what direction to loft the spoils.



(Postscript:  If you are concerned about advertisers taking advantage of captive audiences, my friend’s at Commercial Alert are currently carrying out a campaign to pressure movie theatres to stop running ads prior to movie previews.  You can go here to send a letter to a theatre chain,  and here for more background.)


(image 1: Anne Cusack for LA Times; image 2: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque; image 3: from Anne Cusack for LA Times)

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Michael Shaw
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