Long years ago, when the divide between church and state was better protected in journalism and the business side had no inkling what was happening on the other side, the editors at Time magazine ran an interview with Mother Teresa with the quote-headline, “I’m just a pencil in the hand of god.”
When the issue came out, much mirth ensued when an advertisement for pencils graced the page opposite the interview.
In the latest issue of India Today magazine, something similar happens. A story on the alleged sexual indiscretions of the godman Asumal Sirumalani alias Asaram Bapu carries an advertisement for “Vacurect“, a “US FDA-approved medical device for men who cannot enjoy with their partner”, on the opposite page.
The tagline for the ad reads: “get the power to play harder”
STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania: Time was when the advertising world revolved around the simple 30-second spot. Put one out and, more likely than not, it was sure to capture everybody’s eye at some time or the other. But diminishing attention spans, a growing media clutter, and cutting edge consumer technology—through devices like personal video recorders, TiVo, etc—have made that possibility less certain.
The result, says Matt McAllister, associate professor at the college of communications at Penn State University, is that advertisers and agencies have had to scramble around for newer and more ingenious ways of drawing notice. Product placement, product integration, hybrid advertising, have all therefore become par for the course to evade “the revenge of the remote-control”.
But there is a flip side, says McAllister, author of The Commercialisation of American Culture: new Advertising, Control and Democracy (1996, Sage) and co-editor of Comics and Ideology (2001, Peter Lang):
“Large scale integrated advertising campaigns are taking away the diversity of media. Media look great, they are often spectacular. But when you really ask if we have true diversity, whether we have a lot of different choices, free from advertising, I worry some of the current trends are taking those choices away.”