Kofi's hat

Kofi's hat

MP3s, music news and reviews, and a sprinkling of pop culture. Named by Aqualung's Matt Hales, after his son.

My Photo
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Ink in my blood, a song in my heart. Metaphor is my middle name.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Live Commercials - The Captive Audience Is Listening

The New York Times reports on "the world's first live theatrical commercial", which since it has also been advertised as such, means the Times is dutifully reporting on an advertisement (on their virtual front page, no less).

Still, it is noteworthy. A crowd gathered to watch "Stomp" sat in silence and let a travel company try to convince them to go abroad, to a particular city, naturally with the help of their company. This company has already used "theatrical ads" in Dublin and Hamburg and one is scheduled for Pittsburg on Friday. "They're a captive audience," the company's communication director told the Times. "They can't switch channels or change over or walk out once the thing is started."

Did he think he was "off the record" or that people enjoy being called captive audiences? Either way, it's pretty entertaining when people in charge of communications for companies or politicians are so excited about their strategy that they talk about it without self-censoring. It might suit his purposes more to discuss how great his company is or say something about the ads that doesn't make them sound quite so nefarious.

Okay, fine. The people in the theater "can't" leave, or at least don't want to, for fear of missing the opening of the show. However, they can cough, talk, or turn their backs. A little civil disobedience now could go a long way. What if people did that early on when the move theaters started showing commercials before trailers? Maybe now we wouldn't have a half-hour of ads before the first trailer. If people don't want six live ads before their plays, they might want to consider protesting those that allow one. And if we tolerate live ads at plays, they could become a frequent presence at concerts.

Sure, some bands, like Franz Ferdinand would likely turn down the really big bucks such advertising would bring (at least they wouldn't accept it from American companies). But many bands, established and lesser-known alike, wouldn't pass up the money.

Many tours and festivals are already sponsored by corporations, which sometimes make their presence rather heavily felt. It's not a big leap to imagine ads acted-out, done by a comic, or sung in between sets at a concert. Something like this has likely already been done on a small scale. If no one has yet sponsored scripted ads in front of large audiences for the length of a concert tour, let's hope the theatrical ads don't inspire someone to do so.

Jon Astley - But Is It Commercial? (from The Compleat Angler)


Post a Comment

<< Home