Thursday, April 8, 2010

Controversial Television Advertising

Controversial television advertising has always been an issue for the networks to deal with. You know the old saying, it is impossible to please all of the people all of the time. But, that is exactly what the TV networks try to do�please all of the people all of the time. Talk about impossible goals. There is an entire department at each of the major television networks whose only function is to screen all advertising to find and , in most cases, eliminate, controversial television advertising.

So, what constitutes controversial advertising? It could be almost anything since controversy is in the mind of the listener. Cigarette advertising was a staple of television for many years. But, when the surgeon general announced that smoking was hazardous to your health, public opinion began to change. Eventually as fewer and fewer adults smoked and as children�s advocates push the idea that the glitzy TV advertising was encouraging children to start smoking, smoking became controversial. Finally, all advertisements that promoted tobacco use in any form were banned from television.

A similar thing happened with alcohol consumption. As drinking again became an issue in society, the wheels began to turn that would make alcohol related promotions controversial television advertising. However, the beer and liquor manufacturers �headed it off at the pass� and prevented suffering the same fate as the tobacco advertisers. That is why every beer or liquor commercials always mention that you should always use their product responsibly, that is should only be used by those legally old enough to drink, and that you should never drink and then operate a motor vehicle. By adding all of these disclaimers, which may be a written warning displayed on screen or actually part of the commercial, although still a subject of controversy, alcoholic beverages are still being advertised on TV.

There has always been controversy over ads that specifically target children. Children are much more impressionable and can have their beliefs formed by what they watch on TV. All child-related advertising is considered controversial television advertising. Since, as a society, we have enacted laws to protect children in others aspects of life such as mandatory child seats, it makes sense to not allow inappropriate advertising aimed specifically at children to be aired.

The most controversial television advertising has always been ads using sex to sell everything from beer to watches and everything in between. But the hallmark of good advertising is to appeal to a viewer�s wants, needs, hopes and fears. Since sex is an important aspect of human life, using it to sell things is effective however it is still the most controversial television advertising.

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