Viewer Discretion

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Viewer Discretion Advised

Viewer Discretion Advised
Imagine attending a formal dinner party. The couple that is hosting the party has two sons; the children's ages are three and four years old. The boys have been watching a somewhat inappropriate television station that has just aired an ad about Trojan condoms. The children come running out of the family room chanting "Trojan Man, Trojan Man!" This could be an awkward situation to explain to the guests. Who is to blame for such an incident? After an occurrence such as this one, some people might blame the advertising company or perhaps the television stations. Other people might say that this situation is caused by the parent's lack of monitoring the television stations viewed by the children. Television advertising has become a very popular controversy in today's society. Advertising is constantly evolving by becoming more explicit and descriptive as well as educational. Today's society should accept that controversial television ads will be aired; however, we must take steps to monitor what children are viewing. One of the main reasons that some advertisements are considered controversial would be because television viewers want to watch interesting entertainment. Advertisers realize that the catchy ads are more likely to be remembered longer; therefore, these ads have more luck with higher sales. Controversial advertisements can be very beneficial. The benefits of such advertisements include but are not limited to, educational advertising. The commercial is described in which a man gets up out of bed as a kind gesture to his pregnant wife; he goes to go get her ice cream from the refrigerator. There is not any, so he decides to go the store to get her some. As he pulls out of the driveway in his car, his car is hit in a head-on collision. The commercial states "Didn't see that one coming, nobody ever does, buckle up" (CNN news, 1999, what the spots show, ¶ 1). This type of educational advertisement, as graphic as the advertisement might be, can and does a great deal of good in the prevention of mortality rates in automobile accidents by depicting what can happen. Just like there are reasons why advertising should be aired, there are also arguments why certain advertisements should not be aired. One of the many problems would be that a commercial will send an incorrect message to the wrong audience and will cause danger to the viewers, such as glamorizing smoking. Marlboro had their catchy advertisement which portrayed smoking cigarettes as attractive. The Marlboro man was used as a gimmick to show how "cool" smoking cigarettes can appear. Another example of the problems that can arise from controversial advertisements would be sending subliminal messages. Companies should be careful when they advertise so the commercial does not create unwanted results. One example of this would be a Honda car advertisement which portrays a man admiring a new Honda. The old car locks its doors, drives away, and drives off a cliff. This message is considered controversial, and the commercial sends a signal that condones suicide. Honda was very responsible and acted quickly in removing the advertisement (Madden, 2003). Commercials that will cause debate could also cause the consumer to not purchase the product all together. This can and will hurt the sales of the company that is advertising the commercial. Controversial advertisements can be dubious as to the authenticity of the message being conveyed. False advertisements will do absolutely nothing but mislead the consumer. Leading the viewer to make a decision on emotional appeal is immoral. This will in turn upset the viewer and cause debate. An extraordinary example of this would be Direct TV and its Lawsuit against EchoStar over advertisements that caused much confusion which misled and deceived the consumer. The advertisement stated "Pegasus Communication, may lose their satellite TV signals...
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