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Wednesday 26 March 2014

Product Placement


Posters #33 (Düsseldorf): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 16 May 2007

As the rip in the screen
the tear in the curtain
the edge of the frame
permits you to see
once again
through the fabrication
to the reality
the window that opens
upon the greater deception
at the bottom of the bin

Posters #32 (Düsseldorf): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 16 May 2007

 Posters #31 (Düsseldorf): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 16 May 2007

  Posters #7: photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 26 September 2004

  Posters #8: photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 13 May 2005

Vertellerkästen #21: photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 14 January 2006

  Posters #13 (Bochum): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 4 November 2005

  Posters #15 (Bochum): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 4 November 2005

Posters #14 (Bochum): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 4 November 2005

Vertellerkästen #26: photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 12 February 2006

  Stops #2 (Duisburg): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 9 August 2007

 Posters #25 (Aachen): photo by Manfred Geyer (beauty of all things), 13 May 2013


Poet Red Shuttleworth said...

What a nightmare... advertising/billboards. But at least we have your poem... its clarity as all our dream-intentions get appropriated and twisted.

TC said...

Red, to paraphrase Stephen Dedalus, "subliminal" marketing is a nightmare from which nobody will ever wake up.

The mobile advert firm AWK, based in Koblenz, began using women in scanties in their displays for various products in 1990.

By 1994 the advert screens had proliferated throughout Central Europe.

From an article by Keith Damsell, assisted by Alena Zivnustkova, in The Prague Post, 26 January 1994:

A woman in a short skirt bends over the arm of an IKEA couch while a man stands to the side, considering the possibilities. Translated, the caption reads "Don't touch, please!," with the "don't" crossed out in red. Is it sexism or just an eye-catching billboard? It depends whom you ask. Advertisers say that billboards with a dash of sex are tasteful and appeal to the Czech consumer's sense of humor. Foreign manufacturers admit some ads leave them a little uneasy -- but if it works, they say, use it. "[Advertising agencies] know that to attract customers here, they have to use sex ... maybe it's easier to sell it [the product]," said Jiri Krizek, managing director of tram and billboard advertising agent Rencar a.s. Praha.

Several people interviewed, however, said they couldn't understand what IKEA was or what it was advertising. "From this ad, I can't figure out what they are selling. It's hard to recognize what they are actually trying to advertise," said student Martin Krcmar.

The 50 AWK billboards in Prague feature a woman's derriere wearing lace panties. The translated caption reads "Look somewhere else ... or not."

The derriere ad was designed to show the effectiveness of billboard advertising to potential Czech clients and ad agencies, said AWK's foreign sales manager Manfred Keweloh. By using very few words and an arresting image, the billboard draws attention to itself, he explained. AWK has yet to receive any complaints about the campaign, he said, noting that when similar billboards ran in Germany in 1990, the company received a 95 percent positive response. "Perhaps women in North America are more [sensitive], they have another understanding of their situation in society. But if you watch tennis on television, you see the same thing. It's not unusual," he said.

[Czech Association of Outdoor Advertisers managing director, Stanislav] Konecny defended the ad, arguing that it successfully fulfills the first principle of billboard advertising: attracting attention. All other "hidden" meanings are completely subjective, he said. "We are trying to find the border of what's suitable. How much of the woman's leg you can and can't see is different in each city. Where you can see the behind, it's worse. It you ran the IKEA ad in the country, the skirt would be longer," he said.


But let's not just rush to lay the blame off on those kinky Europeans. Who gave them the idea in the first place?

Is Ohio part of Czechoslovakia?

High School Theaters Turn to Product Placement (Wall Street Journal)

TC said...

But hey, we don't really need subtle or sub-ubl...what was it again? ... over here.

This is the Land of the Free.

We Will Not Bow to Any Sponsor

Hazen said...

“The window that opens upon the greater deception . . .” There are layers upon layers and frames within frames in this excellent post. What they’re selling us is ourselves. We’re supposed to buy back our lives from them, one product at a time. It’s Happiness™, or whatever "works" this year. It’s a reality fabricated for our “enjoyment,” which we must continually pay for . . . or else.

TC said...

Our "desires", which they invent in order to exploit, are the most basic of commodities.

The hidden persuaders need us to need.

For some time now, I've been increasingly bothered by the all-purpose (mis)use of the verb "to need".

"I need you to..."

(Cops say that a lot, when what they really mean is we are about to be forced to do something.)

vazambam (Vassilis Zambaras) said...

Apart from the poem, I also enjoyed reading about the befuddled Czech consumers checking out the ads.

Anonymous said...

Hi, ich habe eins der wunderbaren Bilder geklaut, allerdings mit Bloghinweis. Hoffe, das war ok?

Nin Andrews said...

Ohio is definitely part of Czechoslovakia. And while I don't recall the details, I do remember an art class where the teacher said in advertising everything is about sex, or rather, subliminal sex. And I have always wondered why they even bother with the word, subliminal, which makes it sound more interesting. But it's not usually all that subliminal. I like how the poem just sees it as layers of deception.

Mose23 said...

The post's sharp. It shows up the broken promise clearly. We need poems and images like this.