User:Alksub/Citizen's Advertising Consortium
The Citizen's Advertising Consortium is a watchdog organisation created to make advertising accessible to all Americans. It holds advertising firms to exacting standards which guarantee commercial messages are plain enough for anyone to understand, even the least intelligent. To this end, it recommends sensationalist language be substituted for the traditional, yet decidedly ineffective, accurate product descriptions. The consortium shoulders much of the credit for advertising reform during the late 20th and early 21st century. With help from its charitable sponsors, volunteers for the organisation are helping to improve conditions for the brand-disabled.
The organisation issues a brochure annually to advise advertisers on clarifying their message. Low-salaried staff-employees are paid to type updates for new cultural prejudices on half-mangled, electronic Atari typewriters.
“Hey, it's a nice product, but can we get some supermodels over here?!”
With the difficulty shoppers have in evaluating a product based on its technical specifications, it is advised the advertiser employ sexual imagery as a symbolic encapsulation of the product's quality. Draped over the vehicle, cheese grater, or breadmaker in question, a lady, or cutout thereof, can draw the illiterate, ill-informed, ill-postured masses over to a given brand. Studies have even shown that products run better in a model's proximity. Taking off the braziers elicits an even greater response.
In the 1970's, unavailed of the tools of today's advertising, companies made do without marketing departments. Instead, the biochemists had to go down to the studio and go on camera explaining the biochemistry behind the brand of hair gel or cheese spread being sold. However, the CAC received piles of mail skewering the ad firms for presenting too much information. Commercials aired in later decades used less detail and stylised diagrams (of spherical molecules melting into the skin, for example). The CAC brochure rules advise that advertising be crafted to imply the product offers rejuvenation or an increase in longevity.
Web site design
They recommend web sites be designed to target the core customer base: participants in focus groups. To this end, web sites should be structured around advertising objectives. The homepage or "central home base" would come first, and spiralling out from it the consumer appetites. A user looking for bulk purchasing information from a candy bar web site, for an admittedly graphic example, would click on "Fat fantastic," then "Gorgeous gorging." Structuring web sites this way, based on marketing models rather than outdated "logical" arrangements, is the modern way to sell.
The consortium faces the most resistance from small businesses that do not huddle under its umbrella. These companies, private by necessity (as CEOs of a public corporation could not engage in reckless altruism), are "advertising reactionaries" or "culture jammers." They operate "under the radar," flogging legitimate nutritional information, study results, and other facts through Internet and guerrilla campaigns. Their highly paid agents staple, glue, and magnetically affix disruptively boring technical documents to every available surface. The owners of the vandalised property spend hundreds of dollars a year cleaning these surfaces of their informational material.
The watchdog's watchdogs have levelled howling criticism of what they claim is lax hiring practises. This position is not without foundation; a 2004 internal review in the hallways of the consortium revealed shocking laziness in the workforce. Every doughnut crumb found under a desk weighed the scales in favour of brutal layoffs to come around Christmas. It seems half CAC's employees had just been stuffing their faces, playing video games, and reaming thousands of dollars out of the group's various credit cards. While the investigation was subject to the same corruption, the chief uncorrupted manager stopped the investigation on a dime on indictment's side. What caused all the commotion?
|We found all the applicants very convincing, especially the ones in checked suits. Their loud, in-your-face slogans were very persuasive. It was pretty much an impulse hire. While we haven't invested much attention in this endeavour, moving straight on to other tasks after a few seconds of disattentive viewing, we believe that our contractual decisions strongly reflect the level of informed corporate prowess that is available to the general marketing department.|
- ~ Frimble Jenkins, Senior $$$ Earner
This quote conjures up a picture of a lazy, slovenly hiring executive, munching on cheese doodles and not putting in much effort. He was clearly swayed by superficial gestures. A graphic designer, on further inquiry, admitted to having set up a hiring "rewards program" and awarded points for each year of employment. These incentivized the management to keep him onboard even when the quality and affordability of his work dipped. In some cases, prospective hires invented other employers out of thin air to boost their wage prospects. In the wake of this scandal, a government panel recommended that employees go to mandatory training to learn to cut through the rhetoric and identify the best candidates based on objective standards.
The illusion of collusion
When the CAC's staff aren't falling off their chairs, their efforts foster a closer relationship between consumers and the megalithic corporations they depend on for their daily bread. Instrumental in this is a consumer feeling like they comprehend and sympathise with the advertiser's methods. Occasionally, the CAC and the public can have a good laugh: Sprite ran an ad once showing an athlete being thrown bags of money for endorsing the product. Then a small basketball logo appeared in the bottom-left corner. In this way, the advertisers and their clients get the best of both worlds, being manipulated by both the endorsement and the admission of guilt surrounding the endorsement.
Rumour has it the consortium's bridge office is for sale.