April 6, 1997

Let the Hype Begin!

So Iím driving home last night, as I am wont to do, and during my journey, I saw two things that made me realize we live in a land where hype rules supreme.

First was the billboard poster, touting the upcoming release of The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Yes, itís one of those big summer blockbusters Iím so fond of, but itís barely April, and the movie doesnít come out until Memorial Day. I guess you need to start that advertising campaign early. And I understand the use of posters, trailers, etc. at movie theaters. But now, billboards and bus stops throughout the greater Los Angeles area are being covered with that Lost World logo that Iím sure will be inescapable well before Memorial Day. Memo to Universal Pictures: Thanks, we know itís coming out. Save yourself some marketing dough.

Then again, what I saw in the grocery store last night made me realize just how big a game this marketing thing has become. As I shopped for cereal, I saw George Clooney. Not in person, mind you, but wearing cape and cowl, scowling out from a Corn Flakes box. Yes, the Batman and Robin hype machine is gearing up, too! At least this time around, they donít have a special Batman cereal. Remember Batman: The Cereal? It came out with either the first or second movies. They may have even had some special cereal for the third flick. It was a real product, I swear. Now that I think about it, itís probably still to come.

These two things (billboards and cereal) got me thinking about why I like the things I like. Am I a sucker for marketing hype? Does advertising influence my behavior? Well, of course! But at least Iím not afraid to acknowledge it. Sure, I go to The Gap. Yes, I bought a Spice Girls single. (Hey, it was $1.99, and thatís a really catchy tune.) Iíve seen each of the re-vamped Star Wars Trilogy more than once. For my birthday, I picked out a pair of Doc Martens. Why? Well, I thought they were cool. As for the others, Gap clothes are comfortable and affordable, the Spice Girls song appeals to my sense of rhythm, and the Star Wars Trilogy has always been near the top of my favorite movie list. So even though advertising may influence my decisions, I still like to think I have the final say.

Now excuse me. I have to go take off my Nikes, put on my Docs, head for The Border (Taco Bell), home of the Star Wars happy meal, listen to the Spice Girls and drive my Nissan Sentra (Lifeís a Journey -- Enjoy the Ride!) to work.

I would be remiss if I did not mention this week the very, very special birthday of a very, very special and great person. Happy 50th, Mom! I love you very much.

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Colin Campbell - jenolen@earthlink.net
Last updated April 6, 1997