TV ads can bring unintended messages

When the new DVD version of the original Star Wars trilogy was released last week, a companion ad promoted a new video game as well. Star Wars: Battlefront offers users a variety of ways to engage in the battles fought in the Star Wars series. Those who regularly follow this blog will recognize something very important in the ad copy accompanying all the dazzling images:

For years you’ve watched the greatest Star Wars battles…what if…you could actually live them?
We’ve entered the “Age of Participation,” where the ultimate value of knowledge is found in experience. Here’s another piece of copy from the video game’s Website:
Play the classic Star Wars battles anyway you want! Experience the chaos of war as you fight the greatest battles in the Star Wars universe.
In a Postmodern world, this is what people are seeking. No longer content to sit passively and watch life, technology is allowing people to participate in ways that have heretofore been impossible.

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Everybody has seen this ad, where a split screen features Al Franken and Ben Stein describing the various ways Republicans and Democrats use Yahoo!‘s search capabilities. Stein suggests the Democrats use it for hugging trees, while Franken suggests that Republicans are searching for yachts and trophy wives.

I’ve seen this so many times that I’ve begun to ask questions about what’s being said, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a highly effective — albeit subliminal — ad for the Republican party. It’s not what Stein says; Franken unwittingly promotes the GOP by saying they use Yahoo! to find big boats, yachts and trophy wives. Hmm. Think about it, guys. Who hasn’t dreamt of yachts and trophy wives? Just sayin’.

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