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Comm 142 Final paper

Comm 142 Final paper - Ryley Leech Comm 142 Use of Popula r...

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Ryley Leech Comm 142 Use of Popular Music in Advertising: Perversion or Promotion? In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of musicians willing to provide or sell their music for national advertising campaigns. This increase has cultural critics pulling their hair out and turning in their graves while advertising companies and artists are swimming laps in a pool of money and fame. This polarizing effect is caused by the perceived perversion of a long lasting art form and the tremendous success of advertising campaigns that can successfully integrate popular music with their message. It is this confluence that will be discussed throughout this paper, attempting to uncover the reasons for such steadfast resistance and overarching support of the merger between art and commerce; which some argue have always been “wicked and bizarrely fused Siamese twins”(Morford, 2003). By examining popular culture, music, advertising and
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corporate power, we will dissect the marriage of advertising and popular music and its effects on consumers, critics and culture. Advertising In today’s society, one cannot walk down the street, browse a website or read a newspaper without being constantly bombarded with messages. These invasive messages infiltrate through ones eyes and ears, sometimes without notice, and quickly go to work; whispers of “buy this product” or “you should look like this” resonate through the subconscious. That is the goal of most today’s advertising companies, attention through saturation, the reflection of a pseudo-culture onto consumers in order to influence their “actions now or in the future”(Curran 2002). But what is advertising? The definitions are numerous, ranging from Leo Burnett’s definition “selling corn flakes to people who are eating Cheerios" (Curran 2002) to Marshall McLuhan’s "the cave art of the twentieth century" (Curran 2002). Although interesting, neither of these suffice as a substantial definitions, but provide a range in which this paper will operate. For a concrete definition we will use one of Curran’s panels contemporary description of advertising: “Advertising is informative or persuasive impersonal communication that is sponsored and purchased by an identifiable entity for purposes of influencing the cognitions, attitudes, or behaviors of an individual or a target audience” (Curran 2002). The advertiser’s goal is to first capture the attention of the viewer, influence them and have them remember what they have seen. Now,
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one can see why advertising and popular music is such a successful partnership, as the connection between music and memory is well researched. “Whether you agree it cultivates or contaminates, mirrors or manipulates that society, you cannot avoid it”(Allan 2006, p. 435).
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