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BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Don’t become a human billboard

Students at the University aren’t aware of it, but there is a problem that surrounds us all, constantly.

It’s in the air. It’s on the sidewalks. It’s a creeping, covert doom that seems to cover more and more space every day.

It’s on TV. It’s towed by airplanes. This plague is all over the Internet, and it’s choking campus in its evil, vindictive grip.

In fact, don’t look now, but this parasite might just be on something you are wearing.

This mystery disease, more prevalent than bird flu will ever be, is advertising.

The fact is, you can’t look anywhere today without seeing an advertisement for something.

More and more, the odds are there’s a logo or poster for something clogging every available space. Our clothes, our sidewalks.

If it’s not where you’re looking, it’s what you’re listening to. Here we are, ads blaring from the radio and TV to infect our ears.

What made me notice this is how a couple of weeks ago a tacky promotion company decided to scrawl their Web site all over the outside of the Education building.

I might be crazy, but it seems to me that if there is at least one place that should be off-limits to advertisements designed to mislead you, it should be the Education building.

What really upsets me is the enabling role the University takes in spreading this disease, like a boy or girl that kisses you when they know they have a cold.

There’s CNN on our Blackboard site. There’s iPod crowding the Union, pumping music. There’s Pepsi with its exclusive distribution deal.

Close your eyes and breathe deep. When you wake up, these things will still be here.

The truth is, it makes you wonder if a highway is for getting somewhere or for crowding you with billboards.

It’s hard to imagine TV or radio without advertising, because it wouldn’t exist.

TV shows aren’t there to entertain you. If networks could get away with showing you an empty screen or Ray Romano’s ugly head leering at you for 24 hours a day, and companies still paid to hawk Viagra and Budweiser, they would do it.

It’s less artistic merit than a continuous sales pitch.

Sports teams, rock bands, politicians – they’re just as much of a brand as the pair of pants you’re wearing.

The truth is, nine out of 10 people only like you as much as they can sell stuff to you.

Imagine a post-apocalyptic world where the only landmarks left are McDonald’s signs.

It’s less about spreading a message than it is about claiming space.

And the worst part is, when it comes to this surreptitious brand of neo-colonialism, we’re all a bunch of unaware co-conspirators.

Each morning we wake up and dutifully drape ourselves in ads for Budweiser and American Eagle.

We strap on our Nike shoes. Forget the highways. We’re walking billboards.

Those aren’t shoes you’re wearing. They’re an ad campaign, these formaldehyde-smelling accessories.

And the worst part is, we do it for free. There’s nothing like free advertising when someone pays you to brand themselves with your logo.

Every time you plop down $25 for an Abercrombie shirt, somewhere there is an ad executive laughing.

So here’s what you do: the next time you’re in an American Eagle shop, the next time you pick up a logo’d hat or shirt. When you got to the register to check out, tell the cashier that you’ll wear their shirt, but only if they give you $30, not the only way around.

Over the loud music, the cashier might yell, “What?” They might even reach down a press some sort of button.

You wouldn’t work at McDonalds for free. You wouldn’t pay money to spread the word about a clothing line you didn’t work for.

So when you wake up in the morning, before you strap on your Hollister backpack over your L.L Bean coat, ask yourself: aren’t there enough logos out there already?

Do I want to add to the swirling din of messages grabbing for my attention even more?

Close your eyes and breathe deeply. When you open them, this will all still be here.


Send comments to Shaun at [email protected]




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