branding…

I’m not going to write too much about this, but I picked up an interesting yet complete fluff piece on advertising this morning. I can’t remember who said, ‘If you want to know what’s going on in culture read the business section,’ but s/he was right. (Actually, I think that it was my art professor David Hickey. We all showed up ready to read Frankfurt School and he had us read Isaish Berlin‘s Four Essays On Liberty and The Tom Peters Seminar instead.) Advertisers are better sociologists. They are like Sith lords, if you can handle the reference, working in pairs and sniffing out ‘cool‘ amongst unsuspecting teens. Anyway,  the fluff piece comes upon the realization that there is ‘ad placement’ in television. I think the little chart they offer is interesting. There are a series of brands that show up the most in television and the usual suspects are there (e.g., Coke and Nike), but so are ‘The Pussycat Dolls Lounge’ and ‘Alpinestars Apparel.’ Hmpf. I can’t explain the latter, but the former has it’s own show on ‘The CW,’ which I would say makes for a curious–completely unmentioned –phenomena that would really get at the heart of the issue: the television content is the cultural product and the ‘duping’ of the viewer is beside the point. The article goes on to talk about how people don’t seem to notice the product placement within shows–and that the FCC might look into that (??)–but nothing about how people don’t seem to notice that they are watching shows about  a product itself.  (I have this vision of a Philip K. Dick-dystopia where people watch a Pepsi assembly line for entertainment… Although, to see how much people prefer not knowing what that kind of labor is like see David Redmon’s Mardi Gras: Made In China.) It seems like the perfect set up for my research on branding cities, which is much more about how an entire landscape gets commodified and co-opted (see Wallerstein…)

…a small point, however, belabored a bit too long.

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1 Response to “branding…”


  1. 1 kristina b December 10, 2007 at 12:43 am

    ah but what would sociologists do without rambling? 🙂 that’s when all the good stuff comes out.

    i just read some wallerstein, actually. an article about the 3 instances in all of history of hegemony at the global level, and how the last was the US at mid-century (last c.) and that we’re in the midst of a slow free-fall. very interesting!

    also, re: branding a city, i’ve never been in a city more branded than austin! wow. all of texas, actually, but particularly austin. then again, i guess dc (where i lived for 10 years before this) also has a distinct brand. what an interesting idea! i hadn’t thought of things that way.

    ok, back to grading papers…


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