Standing tall amid ad storm
There’s no escape. Offline, online, on street or on screen, we are battling a marketing barrage. Virtually every modern media is a sold-out platform for either over-the-top advertising or crafty viral marketing.
Yet in this digital world, I am glad ― proud, dammit! ― to state that there stands one last bastion of information integrity. Yes, I am talking about good, old-fashioned newspapers like the one you are holding.
Problem: Newspapers are sinking as revenues evaporate. Why can print media not come up with new financial streams by leveraging their core competencies ― professional word-smithing and credible information delivery? After all, traditional print media deliver professionally written content that is also straight dope, for a blazing firewall separates editorial from advertorial.
Take this column. As a journalist, integrity oozes from my pores. This byline declares: ``You are about to be entertained, informed and challenged by copy that is untainted by corporate cash. Sell-out in this column will come over my dead body!”
That, gentle reader, is the mission that is front-of-mind as I draft this brain-feast on my Samsung tab. Oh, and did I mention what a superb product that tab is?
Stylish, innovative, and jam-packed with user-friendly features, it would be a bargain at twice the price. Not only does it assure my envious fellow professionals of my tech-savvy millennial cool, its reliability is unchallenged, its technology unsurpassed, its innovation moderately impressive.
But let us return to the main argument. Ads are not racing toward you just on the interweb. More dangerously, they are racing toward you when driving through Seoul.
Which, incidentally, is the premier choice for anyone considering an unforgettable urban getaway. The beloved hometown of 10 million beautiful, friendly people, Seoul offers fascinating attractions, 24/7 shopping, sumptuous wining and dining, and accommodation options, ranging from palatial hotels to high-tech love motels. Be you a cultural vulture or dirty old man ― make Seoul your next destination!
It is an outrage that, perched above the city’s fine highways, loom giant LED screens endlessly channeling mindless ads. How many distracted drivers have these monsters killed? Thousands, probably. Fortunately, I know that if I suffer a shunt, I am optimally protected in my carefully designed Hyundai Sonata.
This rampant road beast is the ultimate machine to convey the busy professional from A to B with maximum speed and minimum energy. And it’s not just for work! After hours, it transforms into a steaming passion wagon that enhances my (already impressive) manhood, drawing the gaze and raising the eyebrows of admiring babes on every street.
But I digress. After a day spent battling the marketing tsunami, it is a relief to open the door of my apartment and close it again behind me against the storm.
And my Hanwha apartment is a dream combo of palace and castle! Offering the kind of luxuries once available only to kings, it protects my family with the kind of security features once only available to murderous dictators and gangsta kingpins. Coming home is like stepping from hell into heaven.
But when I put my feet up, crack a frothy one and turn on the TV, what am I bombarded with? Ad after bloody ad. And in the all-too-rare intervals between commercials, most programming is little more than a stage for product placements. Confronted by this shower of shi ― er, rubbish ― I move to switch off the TV.
But do I want to? No.
My LG TV, you see, is such a wonder of 3D digital engineering, that it transforms the direst soap opera into compelling, must-watch viewing. Which is not to say it can be ignored even when off! If I had an original Da Vinci on the wall, I’d tear that 1D scribble down and tear it up, just to replace it with this exquisite, flat-screen object d’art.
Anyway … back to marketing. What makes me doubly furious about the blitz is that I could fix it!
Recently, I was contacted by a major conglomerate for a PR role. That role could elevate me from a miserable life of journalistic poverty (so long, suckers!) while enabling me to implement the changes so desperately need. Yet after emailing them my CV (a masterpiece of a document, you may be assured) I never heard back.
I wonder why not?
(Confidential note to marketing execs: OK, saps ― the above is but a gentle snifter, the merest taste of what could be. Do you want best-of-breed copy, cunningly integrated into any story for a knockout subliminal punch that lands squarely on the consumer wallet? Do you want subtle marketing, totally unlike the usual in-your-face, irritating and ubiquitous offerings? Do you want idiot readers who will never even realize they are being marketed to as my hypnotic narrative works its insidious magic? If so: Contact me; state your price; and let the bidding begin ...)
Andrew Salmon is a Seoul-based reporter and author. His latest work, ``Scorched Earth, Black Snow,” was published in London in June. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.