ads without products

ads denied the product (hdtv)

with 3 comments

The task before us, it has just occurred to me, is deeply analogous to the problem faced by those who make ads for high definition television sets and services – ads that will be seen on the very low definition sets that they wish to replace… The problem, of course, is that you can’t really show the virtues of the product that you’re trying to sell – the high d become low d on the viewer’s set.

They try metaphor, jokes and metaphor…

Denied the ability to present the thing itself, at other times they present instead the viewer, the viewer’s engrossed apparatus of sight. Didn’t Deleuze, in his work on the cinema, call shots like this “affect images”? If we cannot see what they are seeing, we can at least see them seeing what they are seeing, and feeling what they see….

One of the more sophisticated tricks is simply to suggest that you actually are seeing the new image – to hyperbolize what is already possible in order to give a sense that the change has momentarily arrived…

…but of course, this can lead to conceptual distortion and the problematic suggestion that it’s not the set that needs changing but simply the programming available for it. If we stuck with what we have no, but filled it with neon-piping and just the right sort of chiaroscuro, perhaps we might save ourselves a trip to the electronics store after all.

It is odd. Obviously, I’ve not seen every hdtv ad ever made. But one would think that someone would figure out that it would be far easier (wouldn’t it?) simply to demonstrate the deficiency of the screen that the viewer has rather than to suggest, indirectly, what the viewer does not yet have. Hold a page of text in the middle distance, and ask them to read it. Fill the screen with a painting, and ask the viewer to examine the brush strokes. But, on the other hand, it is also easy to understand that the promise of the new and better, even if it remains invisible, only promised but not yet delivered, would have more hold that the exposure of what’s missing now.

It is our problem as well – how to relate to the apparatuses of communication and representation, how to deal with the fact that they may well be ill-equipped to represent what needs representing.

More to come…

Written by adswithoutproducts

May 22, 2008 at 1:07 am

Posted in ads, aesthetics, teevee

3 Responses

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  1. I find this post really compelling.

    I mentioned the idea to a colleague of mine last night as we stood watching an HD TV. He found it really compelling as well, and I’m sure he would’ve been just as enthusiastic had he not been drunk.


    May 27, 2008 at 9:07 pm

  2. Ooh, I’m really glad you showed the third one — I was expecting something _Videodrome-ish_ and instead it was this interesting use of makeup to mark affective excess, to externalize the emotions and thought processes (supposedly) going on inside the mind that cannot be represented in film. With the eyes widening and the pupils dilating it’s kinda _Blade Runner,_ actually. And there’s also really interesting stuff going on with race there —- eye color is paired in interesting ways with exoticizing makeup that gestures at global cultures (even literally mapping a national flag onto a face).

    By the way, I was just at a conference that makes the mod con look like a paragon of excitement and interesting commitment to the field, not to mention excellent fashion sense. What did you have against it?


    May 28, 2008 at 2:57 am

  3. […] about life and the world. Lots to say about this, but for now, see the relevance in light of this? « thank god for the […]

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