…or how to get a headache in advertising
I know this is obvious, but one thing is bugging me when watching a large percentage of TV.
It’s something that’s come from America and it seems to be something that we now pretty much accept without thinking.
Sponsorship, image rights and advertising deals are leading to the near constant BLURRING of logos and products on TV.
…and it makes my head hurt!
The first tentative blurring steps were used to protect the innocent (or overly cross) but now it is pretty much everywhere. Watch any Discovery, National Geographic, UKTV or other UK satellite channel and blurring is RIFE. The make of that car, BLURRED. That road side advertising – BLURRED. The logo on that fish crate in ‘Alaska’s Last Deadliest Axe Catch’, BLURRED. Eukkk
I imagine this is pretty much how Soviet Russia felt… albeit with the one state endorsed product replacing the ‘shouty’ marketing department with a cheque book and a phone number for a good solicitor.
Back to Blighty…
Growing up in 70’s and 80’s Britain has underpinned a lot of how a generation remembers the relationship between publicly funded TV and advertising.
Back in the day, the BBC (bless ’em) was TERRIFIED of mentioning ANY product in case another manufacturer kicked up an almighty stink leading to the suddendeath of all public television. We remember how, very gradually, it became just about OK to mention a brand name in a song played on Top of the Pops or allude to a particular manufacturer in a magazine program.
And now it’s a pretty much a lovely BBC free-for-all-product-and-logo-a-go-go-fest! A goodly amount of BBC programs just show products in use, normally, with no distracting blurring (as far as my eyes can see anyway!)
This is a great thing for a designer! (see it does have SOMETHING to do with the day job!) You can see styles; brands and behaviour develop over time without distraction or censorship. And it also makes some of the most mundane and useless sitcoms just about historically interesting.
While the BBC still has to pay lip service to not favouring a certain brand, it seems to be just about post-modern and self knowing enough to make it OK (well, without being too smug, usually!)
So well done the beeb!
Doubtless the avoidance of blurring is also connected with the BBC’s tremendously all-encompassing deals for usage rights and archive footage.
This also means they can pretty much show just about anything and back it with practically any music known to man, beast or fish in the soundtrack (witness the difference between a BBC episode of Top Gear and the frankly woeful DVD versions…)