A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan continues. If he had lived Marshall would have been 100 on July 21, 2011. Join me in the countdown to his centennial, and an exploration of more of his observations on the way media work in the electric age in which we live.

Advertising

Down Memory Lane (part three)

This week I’m featuring some of my favourite posts from this blog’s archive.  Submitted today for your approval: Marshall McLuhan discovers the importance of ads:

Cordially, Me

Tags:

Michael Hinton Thursday, July 14th, 2011
Permalink 1930s and 40s, Culture No Comments

Is advertising dead?

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52) Clearly …

“When all production and all consumption are brought into a preestablished harmony with all desire and all effort, then advertising will have liquidated itself by its own success.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58)  Seems like we’re stuck with ads

The realization of such a harmony seems unlikely under our present market-based economy.  The question then for all marketers is not whether advertising is dead but where it will live.

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Forward through the Rearview Mirror:  Reflections On and By Marshall McLuhan, edited by Paul Benedetti and Nancy DeHart, 1996, p. 163.

Tags:

Michael Hinton Friday, June 24th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s No Comments

Why people read ads.

Marshall McLuhan (May 8, 1966, age 54)  To feel reassured.

“Do you know that most people read ads about things they already own?  They don’t read things to buy them but to feel reassured that they have already bought the right thing.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58) Which raises another question

The good of ads then is they convince people not to return things they’ve just bought.  Which raises the question, “What do people read or watch initially that persuades them to take a chance on something?”

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Forward Through the Rearview Mirror: Reflections On and by Marshall McLuhan, edited by Paul Benedetti and Nancy DeHart, 1996, p. 162.

Tags:

Michael Hinton Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication No Comments

The future of advertising

Marshall McLuhan (May 8, 1966, age 54)  Obviously …

“Where advertising is heading is quite simply into a world where the ad will become a substitute for the product and all the satisfaction will be derived informationally from the ad and the product will be merely a number in some file somewhere.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58)  Think of it!

Tobacco without the cancer and alcohol without the hang over.  And why not?  Who hasn’t at least once in their life gone to the movies and wound up fighting a duel and emerging unscathed.  Why not imaginative consumption of more pedestrian experiences.  Meanwhile, until Madison Avenue catches up …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F_CCt5o00E&feature=related

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Forward Through the Rearview Mirror: Reflections On and By Marshall McLuhan, edited by Paul Benedetti and Nancy DeHart, 1996, p.162.

Tags:

Michael Hinton Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Business, Communication No Comments

What good are ads?

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  You need to ask?         

“The historians and archeologists will one day discover that the ads of our time are the richest and most faithful daily reflections that any society ever made of its entire range of activities.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58).  In other words …

They hold the key to understanding us in our real and our imagined worlds.  If we could just break the code in which they are written:

 

 

 

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 232.

Tags: ,

Michael Hinton Saturday, June 18th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Culture No Comments

Ads are naturally dramatic.

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  Isn’t it obvious?      

“Since highly skilled and perceptive teams of talent cooperate in the making of an ad for any established line of goods whatever , it is obvious that any acceptable ad is a vigorous dramatization of communal experience.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58).  Or, at least …

Lively musical theater:

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 228.

Tags: ,

Michael Hinton Friday, June 17th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s 1 Comment

How to laugh at ads.

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  The Will Rogers effect.      

“Will Rogers discovered years ago that any newspaper read aloud from a theater stage is hilarious.  The same is true today of ads.  Any ad put into a new setting is funny.  This is a way of saying that any ad consciously attended to is comical.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58).  In other words …

If you’re going to study ads you can’t afford to pay too much attention to them.  As an exercise try not to pay too much attention to this ad:

Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 228.

Tags: ,

Michael Hinton Thursday, June 16th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication No Comments

Death of the hard-sell

Marshall McLuhan (1964, age 52).  The new cool TV world!      

“Since the advent of TV, the exploitation of the unconscious by the advertiser has hit a snag.  TV experience favors much more consciousness concerning the unconscious than do hard-sell forms of presentation in the press, the magazine, movie, or radio.  The sensory tolerance of the audience has changed, and so have the methods of appeal by the advertisers.  In the new cool TV world, the old hot-world of hard-selling, earnest-talking salesmen has all the antique charm of the songs and togs of the 1920s.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58).  Working against and with the medium.

An ad from the old hot world:

And the new cool world:

Cordially, Marshall and Me

 

Reading: 

Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964, p. 228.

Tags: , ,

Michael Hinton Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication No Comments

Beware the toothy smile!

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  So many questions.

“This ad raises a multitude of structural questions.  The mouth is the all aggressive organ.  Teeth are the most menacing of all human appointments because of their lineal order.”

Me (June, 2011, age 58).  Don’t like that idea?

No matter, as McLuhan would say, he has others.  But a smile can be a very powerful weapon …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7JB68sLGY8&feature=related

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, Culture Is Our Business, 1970, p. 220.

Tags:

Michael Hinton Friday, June 3rd, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Communication, Culture No Comments

Will we ever crack the code?

Marshall McLuhan (1970, age 59).  The ultimate challenge!

“Cracking the code of our own popular culture is much harder than the problem of the Rosetta Stone image.”

Me (May, 2011, age 58).  And what a challenge it is!

The finding of the Rosetta Stone at the town of Rosetta in Egypt in 1799 provided the crucial information required for linguists to eventually decipher the writing of ancient Egypt because the stone contained parallel passages written in Egyptian hieroglyphic characters, Egyptian demotic writing, and miracle of miracles Greek.  Popular culture is so hard to understand because it is more than language.  It is everything that makes us who we are as feeling, thinking, acting, and speaking social beings.  Unfortunately, there are no cultural Rosetta Stones – no worked examples of the multi-dimensional translation of one popular culture into another – to guide us.  As a result we never know which leads are worth following up and which are not.  And to make matters worse, because we are inside of it most of the time we don’t even realize there is something called our popular culture which we don’t understand. (Or as McLuhan liked to put the idea, whoever it was that discovered water it certainly wasn’t a fish.)  One of the ways Mcluhan thought you could see a popular culture was through ads.  McLuhan found ads to be endlessly fascinating.  Each is outside of ourselves and represents a window into our popular culture.   What do they mean?  Who can say for sure, but they do fascinate …

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading:

Marshall McLuhan, Culture Is Our Business, 1970, p. 148.

Tags: , ,

Michael Hinton Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
Permalink 1950s and 60s, Culture No Comments