Wednesday, October 19, 2011

STOPTHUGS Introduction and STOPTHUGS #1: Limitations on Television Commercials

I have been up since about 4:00 AM due to an early flight my father needed to take, and it is 5:49 AM as I begin to write this. This does not really have a bearing on the subject other than the fact that it may contribute slightly to the rather dreary mood that informs the writing.

Things are heavily stilted right now in the U.S. and the world. The deck is stacked heavily in favor of the “have a ton of wealth” vs. everyone else. That is ok for some people, but more and more it appears that the status quo is under assault, if the month long Occupy Wall Street movement is any indication.

In light of the times, I think it’s a good time to begin my series of pieces on policies that can improve the economy. I do not purport to have some grand scheme that can lift the world out of the doldrums, in fact I do not even think any of the policies I am discussing will even be practical. I do think that they are fun though and can hopefully promote discussion, aided by a catchy title:

STOPTHUGS: Stemming The Oppressive Practices That Hold Up Growth & Sustainability. Well, it was almost a perfect match (It was that or Steps To Oust, Punish, Terminate, & Humble Unemployment Perpetuating Scumbags). Oppressive is probably too strong a word, since for the time being my ideas fall well under the “whimsical” category rather than the “revolutionary.” For the time being, I will aspire to posting a week’s worth of posts on some things that we can do, and hopefully take it further if more inspiration strikes me. Now for the first proposal, since this has all been a lot of lollygagging and fol de rol.

STOPTHUGS Proposal #1: Sharply limiting how long corporations can use the same commercials.

Background: For too long, the primetime television consuming public has had to deal with watching the same commercials over and over again. It does not help that most of these commercials are absolutely terrible and irksome (I’m looking at you AT&T u-verse, with your promotion the wonderfully American notion that families will get along better once there is a better television watching experience for everyone by avoiding conflict in television recordings.) Week upon week and month upon month, these commercials are aired over and over again.

Proposal: A commercial on behalf of a large cap corporation may not run on the air longer than a month and a half (or perhaps even less.) Old commercials cut down and edited from old commercials to save advertising time do not count as new advertising and still count against the allotted time limit.

This proposal will only target corporations above a certain market cap, perhaps at least a billion, so as not to place an unnecessary burden upon the small and medium enterprises and businesses which spend very limited amounts on advertising and create an undue burden. The large cap corporations are the  most primed to be offenders in this regard at any rate.

Expected Positive Impacts:

  • Television consumers will have to endure the same commercials far less than they are currently subjected to.
  • Corporations will need to spend more money on advertising to maintain the same television presence as they are accustomed to.
  • Advertising companies will receive more regular work as a result, and their increased economic standing will help their supply chain and their respective communities.
  • To put it concisely, this is a method of enforced trickle down economics.

Potential Negative Consequences:

  • Advertising expenditure may remain the same on an annual level, and with less money contributed towards advertising per commercial, there is a chance commercials will become even crappier.
  • Large cap corporations may with enough market share may force advertising agencies to do more for less.
  • Expensive lobbying against this policy enactment holding up the courts and valuable government time. And as a result, more money for lobbyists. 
  • More tedious viral campaigns to pollute the tubes of the internet as corporations turn away from television and more towards social media, astroturfing and the internet in general.
  • Commercials which consumers may actually like will have their runtimes cut down far too soon.

Thanks for getting this far in this sleep deprivation fuelled post, and look forward to future posts. Please comment with criticism and suggestions!

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