Deader Than Disco: Advertising


  • Choir-Sung Commercial Jingles. During The Seventies and The Eighties, it was very common for commercial jingles to be sung by a choir of (usually middle or senior aged) men and women. This quickly changed once the MTV Generation came of age and the corresponding network began to seriously influence grownup advertising (it was already influencing children's advertising since about the late 1980s). Before long, choir-sung jingles were perceived as outdated and un-hip. Today, while such jingles are occasionally used in local business advertisements, most mainstream ones are performed by professional rock or pop musicians rather than choirs. On those rare occasions when you'll hear a choral tune in mass-market advertising, it will be done sarcastically.
  • Cigarette ads on television. They were banned in 1970.
    • In the UK they were banned in 1965, but loose tobacco and cigars were permitted to be advertised until 1991.
  • Early on, television shows would have the ads contiguous with the show ("This portion of [name of show] brought to you by [product]", read by The Announcer). This format was especially common on Game Shows, which would often have the name of the product displayed somewhere on-set to boot. Over time, commercials took on the format that they have now. Though, funnily enough, with DVR and online streaming giving an option to skip commercials leading to increasingly obtrusive Product Placement, we seem to be heading that way all over again, only now, instead of the announcers, it's the fictional characters who are shilling the product, such as Michael Westen of Burn Notice actually using one of his "When you're a spy..." monologues to promote the car company that sponsored the show.
  • Advertisements for home appliances, such as dishwashers and vacuum cleaners, fell by the wayside during the late-90's. This could probably be attributed to the internet making product reviews much more accessible, meaning potential appliance buyers can now simply go on the internet and look up professional/customer reviews for whatever appliances they are planning to buy rather than relying on television advertisements. If a home appliance is advertised, it will usually just be through an infomercial, or is an absurdly-priced device where the advertiser is selling towards the well-heeled.
    • Another possible reason for this is that home appliances were generally marketed towards housewives and stay-at-home mothers during daytime television. Today, with more women going into the workplace, this market has significantly diminished. Many appliances are now also cheaper, and in line with electronics, are marketed as disposable goods that can easily be replaced rather than a 30-year investment.
  • Cartoon show-tie in toyline commercials. Ignoring the fact that the shows themselves were akin to 30-minute commercials for the toyline. The FCC issued strict government regulations on advertising aimed towards children and this was one of the first things to go on broadcast television. They still exist on Nickelodeon as time-buy TV movies, and The Hub pre-Discovery Family basically existed to sell My Little Pony and Transformers toys, but outside a few cases, most viewers see these shows as uncreative and lacking in entertainment better done with imagination.
  • GEICO ads were once regarded as funny and creative, and often reached Memetic Mutation status. Now thanks to their over-reliance on their ads the company is seen as a joke that no-one can take seriously (with many starting to suspect they use the numerous mascots as a way to hide their shortcomings as a company) and the commercials are seen as annoying and repetitive forced memes, with nearly all their new characters becoming scrappies.
  • Ditto to Ditech. In the early-2000's, their commercials with "Ned The Incompetent Loan Officer" were seen as hilarious and made the phrase "Lost another loan to Ditech" a Memetic Mutation. Later, Ditech and other companies such as Countrywide who had ubiquitous advertising in the subprime days were shamed off the air (and in many cases, out of business) for their terrible loan standards which caused the 2008 mortgage crisis.
  • Ads taking direct potshots at their competition (ie. "AT&T vs. MCI", "Sega vs. Nintendo", "ABC Warehouse vs. Highland vs. Fretter", etc.) were very common during the 90's. They fell by the wayside during the Turn of the Millennium due to a couple factors: The increased ease in obtaining product reviews making it easier for consumers to simply go on the internet and see for themselves who has the superior productnote  and the general perception of such ads as being annoying and immature.
  • Skittles' commercials were once considered quirky and funny back when they first started, now they're seen as gross and weird for the sake of being weird.


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