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Watch This, Listen Up, Click Here    by David Verklin & Bernice Kanner order for
Watch This, Listen Up, Click Here
by David Verklin
Order:  USA  Can
John Wiley & Sons, 2007 (2007)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Verklin and Kanner are positively buzzing with excitement as they discuss what the media horizon holds for the world. It is not quite the new technologies and how people will integrate them into their lives that excites the authors, but how advertising will become more precise and exact. That is at least how they present it. Their argument is that in today's society, people avoid advertisements because they consider them intrusions into their lives. Advertisements interrupt the television shows we are watching, the radio shows to which we are listening, the articles we are reading. They find us everywhere, and often it is advertisements that are irrelevant that we find invasive.

The authors argue that when an advertisement hits its target audience, it is less likely to be viewed as a disruption. In some twenty-three chapters, they explore the cutting edge of technology and how advertisers will utilize new technologies to spend less money while reaching the most relevant audience for their products. These chapters also look at new trends and how they are disrupting the old way of doing things. Whether it is the Internet's Wikipedia or Craigslist, or the influence of satellite radio and tools like Tivo, the authors identify the benefits of these technologies, as well as the drawbacks and ways that companies will look to get around them. For instance, they explain that Tivo will reinforce even more product placement within the programs people are watching. And while they argue that this should not affect the quality of the show, this seems overly optimistic. Movies abound with an overabundance of bad and over-the-top product placement (I, Robot and Blade III to name two), that certainly distract rather than add to the film.

While the articles provide a lot of interesting comments and explanations about current and future trends, Verklin and Kanner resist providing a critical analysis of the drawbacks these future methods of advertising will bring. They never address the issue of consumerism in general, and rather feed into the idea of people unquestioningly buying more and more stuff, the justification being that these new goods being advertised will be more in line with their wants and desires. Additionally, they give no consideration to the insipid nature of advertising and the outright manipulation that today's advertisers apply against youth, who have little or no working knowledge of the subtleties of advertising.

Verklin and Kanner make a great deal of interesting points and provide some in-depth explanation about how advertising works. They also identify new trends and locations (be it real or virtual) that are challenging the old way in which advertisers spend their budgets. But in the end, the book fails to present a fair picture of the additional costs of the 300 billion dollar business.

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