Monthly Archives: December 2014

Seinfeld, product placement and mediated desire

The Carnegie newsletter has a very interesting (and entertaining) post about product placement, in which it gives a lot of credit to “the show about nothing” as a leader in the product placement advertising milieu. The url was way too long, so here it is in Tinyurl form:

You must watch the clip from the Seinfeld show to get the full effect here. What I find most interesting is that research shows that the product placements have a very clear “priming” effect. And that made me recall Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman’s outstanding 2011 book on biases. Kahneman won the Nobel prize in economics for work on the subject of bias that he did with longtime friend and colleague, Amos Tversky. He points out quite rightly that if it had not been for Tversky’s untimely passing, he no doubt would have shared the award.

What I wonder is, do these media folks understand the underlying psychological principles involved, or are they just doing what works? And is there a point at which it stops working?

Kahneman points out that system 1 thinking (fast) and system 2 (slow) DO interact from time to time, and so automaticities may be overridden by a consciousness sufficiently grounded in the present to recognize the manipulation and guard against it. But this presupposes a state of mind and a strength of intellect sufficient to the task at hand. So, how often, truly, are we up to that task of self-aware “mindfulness”?

Goodbye to a wonderful advertising observer

Stuart Elliott, longtime advertising columnist for the New York Times, has announced he is taking advantage of a buy-out being tendered by Times management and leaving the paper. While I have never been a regular Times subscriber, I have in fact subscribed to various digital feeds from time to time and I have had occasion more than once to bring my students’ attention to the wit and wisdom of this sage and intrepid journalist covering the beat where I make so much of my living. I will miss you, Stuart.

Here is the link for the details:

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