Whatever one may say, the sport has been one of the greatest America’s passions ever. One should admit that some other passions this diverse culture is famous for are not so sublime.
Modern show business and entertainment market dictate consumers what they need and want to obtain, and sometimes the consumer behavior is so docile that it is almost funny. It could only be funnier if it was not true.
The advertisement I’ve chosen to present is a CBS-Broadcasting reel called “Fan”. This piece of entertaining trailer advertising shows a humorous story of a golf fan’s typical evening. The fun of it is that the level of fanaticism is overwhelming: practically every object surrounding the man is covered by photos or prints of the golf star he roots for – Philip Alfred “Phil” Mickelson, one of the greatest American golf players, who won three major championships and a total of 29 events on the PGA Tour.
The reel starts with showing the fan washing his teeth; the background of the picture is lullaby music playing. The man finishes the procedure, puts the toothbrush into the cup – and here comes the first surprise – there’s Phil’s picture on the facet. Later on it becomes obvious that everything has the same decoration – the man’s pajama, a cap, the night lamps, his blanket – everything is covered with smiling Phil Mickelson’s face. There are numerous posters and pictures, featuring Phil, covering the walls, his statuette and even his full height pasteboard figure. The fan prays “Please, let Phil win the Majors”, climbs into the bed and takes out a Phil-Mickelson-faced toy from under the blanket, hugs it, smiles, wishing “Good night, little Phil!” and goes to sleep.
The CBS-sports ad slogan is “We are fans, too!”, and the reel itself shows two sides of the American culture – first, its boundless passion for sports, and the second – an even greater passion for things. The US culture is famous for boundless love for material things and hunger for making purchases. It is a popular generalization that brings the rest of the world perceives the American culture as a consuming culture. The US consumerism is sensed from every piece of the US popular culture (movies, shows, advertisements, etc.). People from abroad are often making several generalizing assumptions about the US citizens: they eat a lot of fast food, but at the same time always talk about diets, and are crazy for money and what they can buy. Money and its consequences upon the life of American people is everywhere: in almost every piece of cultural information. This disturbing peculiarity has been noticed a long time ago and is a generally accepted notion though not a very pleasant on, of course. Things that have more positive influence on the foreign perception are the Americans’ passion for sport, high technologies and fun. There also are two other significant elements of US culture: its show business and entertainment industry that often are as breathtaking and impressive, as no other element of culture in the world.
The fan’s obsession from the CBS advertisement provides a humorous insight into what is important to an average American man, who fanatically adores some sport and its stars. Sport icons are only a small part of the enormous popularity market whose players make money on famous people: actors, singers, musicians, artists, show people, politicians, and other icons people worship.
Phil Mickelson’s talent in golf and his presence everywhere in his fan’s apartment are a useful example of how American people are sometimes obsessed with things. Material interests and fanatic worshiping to stars make people blindly consume things they hardly really need in life (e.g. two dolls embodying Phil Mickelson and his cardboard figure). The childish obsession that is made fun of in the CBS ad is a generalizing frame of behavior for an average American.
This advertisement might have both a positive and a negative influence on the American society.
The positive one is undoubtedly the love for sports – one of the greatest elements of human life.
The negative influence may result in an even more profound consumerism culture that will continue to win the hearts and minds of the American people.
Advertisements, as well as any other pieces of popular culture influence the general tastes and preferences. One must always remember that advertising is a powerful tool of consumer behavior management. Modern businesses sometimes stop taking into consideration the customers needs and use advertising and other forms of market influence to make people believe they really need what these businesses provide. And this is also how the culture is formed: through visual entertainment the society perceives and comprehends what is important and what is not. The deceit that is covered by beautiful pictures, loud phases and psychological influence sometimes makes people forget the real cultural needs and even moral values.
1. “Phil Mickelson”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2006. Free Software Foundation, Inc. 12 March, 2006. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Mickelson>
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