Advertisers of today have strategically combined commercials and
television shows in order to sell products. Gloria Steinem discusses a similar
idea in her article, “Sex, Lies, and Advertising.” She repeatedly demonstrates
how advertisements, particularly in magazines, are complementary to the articles
around them. In the same manner, so are commercials to television programs.
They are both aimed at the same groups or types of people, such as sex, age,
Many times, the time of day or day of the week a show is aired has a lot
to do with the types of viewers the program will attract. Thus, the types of
commercials will also differ. On Saturday nights at 10:00 p.m., the program
“Profiler” airs, a mystery-thriller series. The story line is of a young,
beautiful white female trying to capture a serial killer/stalker, who killed her
husband and continues to stalk her. The show is very detail oriented, in the
sense that the viewers need to pay close attention to what is going on to be
able to follow along with the mystery. It tends to “suck you in”, so to say,
because it causes the viewers to become involved and engrossed in solving the
The assumed target of this series is mainly adults over the age of
twenty-five, with the exceptions of those viewers that do not watch it at the
time it actually airs, but they tape it to watch later. Because of the time it
airs, the viewers are very select: children under the age of ten are presumably
in bed, junior and senior high schoolers are out, and anyone out of high school
and under the age of twenty-five is either out or working. This leaves a
majority of the older crowds watching the program.
According to Gloria Steinem, the target of the television show will be
the same as that of the commercials. This proved to be true with “Profiler” and
its commercials. There were a total of twenty commercials aired. They included
and Allstate Insurance ad, a number of car dealers and promotions, chewing gum,
beauty products, medicine, food, and television satellites. Most of them had
female voice-overs with predominantly white actors and/or actresses. The actors
and/or actresses were also good-looking, thin, and of high- to medium-status.
In Steinem’s terms, and as mentioned by Cayo Gamber, an advertisement is
generally linked to the article, or in this case, the program. The show is
seen as a “complementary copy” for the commercials; because it included certain
accessories to a person in the same life-style as the characters in the program.
The cars advertisements, in particular, were at times found in the show.
However, the other products weren’t really enforced by the program. Above all,
the program did help maintain the intended target interested and tuned in to
that specific channel.
The benefit of airing commercials at that specific time of “Profiler” is
great. It airs at a time that is not too late and, therefore the commercials
will not be forgotten. Many times, specifically the Wrigley’s Winterfresh , the
Maxwell House, and the Allstate Insurance, the commercials were loud and peppy.
The Wrigley’s Winterfresh commercial actually shows the product, the pack of gum
even has the price on it. It is basically about many different people that are
having so much fun’, while chewing this gum. The music and idea of so much fun,
entices the viewer to want to buy it. The setting of the Maxwell House is what
catches the attention of the viewer. The commercial shows a family having fun
in the beautiful country, in the background, there is a fun-loving country song
playing. These were just a few of the examples of the commercials with catchy
phrases and loud music.
On the other hand, some of the commercials were a bit more comical, such
as the Lay’s Baked Potato Chips. This commercials shows Miss Piggy and two
super models eating Lay’s Baked Potato Chips at a classy restaurant. Then,
Antonio Sabato, Jr. (a good-looking actor) walks in and sweeps Miss Piggy off of
her feet. He then tries to eat some of her chips. Appalled, Miss Piggy sends
him flying due to his assumption that he could eat her chips.
Changing to somewhat dull and boring commercials were the advertisements
for Lady Speed Stick, Oil of Olay Wrinkle Cream, Excellence Cream hair color,
and the new long distance saver 10-321. The reason these commercial may have
not been as interesting, is because it was most probably directed to an older
crowd. That is to say, those that need wrinkle cream, hair color to cover grays,
or a new long distance savings plan. These commercials, in comparison to the
others analyzed, were not as interesting or lively.
In the words of Janelle Costa,”The commercials sometimes determine whether
or not I actually want to finish watching a program. If the commercials are
boring, I’ll change the channels.” This is the same perspective most say they
take. So, watching a program soon turns into a fight or struggle between the
channel with a moderately good show, that has entertaining commercials. Do you
find yourself turning away from a program because of its lack of good
WORKS CITED IN TEXT
1. Steinem, Gloria: Sex, Lies, and Advertising; Course Packet, English 11,
George Washington University, 1997.
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