Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Network 23 Stirring Your Brain


Blipverts took over 20 years, but they may be ready for prime time. In the Max Headroom world of Network 23, Blank Reg, and 20 minutes into the future, flashing, intense advertising could dominate or craze.

In this ADD world now, paying attention and controlling rather than receiving entertainment is just so, so, so 20th Century.

Clear Channel is trying two-second ads on radio in the latest short-attention-span ploy. On over 1,000 stations, they're plugging in ads for the passive. As the Globe piece describes them, "calls 'blinks' and 'adlets' that are tucked between music or disc jockey's chatter. Blinks, in about two seconds, may spit out three or four words like 'Sweet tea at McDonald's.' Adlets, about five seconds, offer a bit more: 'This Saturday at Rain, it's a glamorous VIP afterparty hosted by Fergie. Visit rainnightlife.com.'"

Double ha ha here. The article has actual links, where the the mid-20th Century-style Globe is famous for ranting on about websites without hyperlinking. Apparently the subject matter dictated the content, as is apt.

Blipverts in the movie and TV series surely drew on the early TV era fears of the imagined evils of subliminal advertising. The idea is that we can process information much faster than hearing speech, so that a flash message will embed itself in our brains and compel us to consume...as though we needed help in that.

Now seems like a great time for advertisers to try for real. A generation of text-messaging kids, many of whom seldom read news, opinion or fiction, is prime lab fodder for this experiment.

Max himself said a couple of relevant things. And I love, love, l-l-love... love those blip-blip-blip-blipverts!

Yet in his frenzied, disembodied state he could be philosophic too, as in, "But, as a famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' And as I - another more famous person - once said, 'If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like.'"

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