March 22, 2001
8:05 AM   Subscribe

A Chicago Trib reporter logged all of the ads she saw in one day. It makes for an interesting and kind of scary read. [via obscurestore]
posted by hijinx (33 comments total)
 
As a side note, those flipping Citi ads she mentions up on North & Clybourn in Chicago are really really annoying. There was a fair read on the campaign behind them in Newsweek.
posted by hijinx at 8:07 AM on March 22, 2001


I'd always thought Sara Lee's slogan was "Nobody does it like Sara Lee," not "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee." It turns out I've been wrong all these years.

Am I alone on this one?
posted by MarkAnd at 8:16 AM on March 22, 2001


Wow MarAnd, me too. That's freaky.

Also, on the checkout at the market, she saw a "1-800-Buy-CD" ad? Huh?
posted by pnevares at 8:31 AM on March 22, 2001


MarkAnd, you're not alone. I could have sworn that the phrase was "Nobody does it like Sara Lee." Now I feel like a pervert for twisting their words around.

I must go wash.
posted by OneBallJay at 8:32 AM on March 22, 2001


Also, on the checkout at the market, she saw a "1-800-Buy-CD" ad? Huh?

Supermarkets have flat-screen displays that are presented to the customer. They're a good 13" or 14" size, and I think were originally added so you could actually read the prices being scanned. Now, there are banner ads at the top of the screen as the prices scroll below and, when idle, full-screen ads are there, happy to sell you things.

This seems to be more of a Dominick's (Safeway) thing here than Jewel (Albertson's).
posted by hijinx at 8:36 AM on March 22, 2001


hijinx, i should have clarified. i meant 'how is that a valid phone number?'
posted by pnevares at 8:38 AM on March 22, 2001


We need to start a support group:

"Hi, my name is Mark and I did it like Sara Lee."

and, hijinx: I think the question may have been, "What's going on with 1-800-Buy-CD? Not quite enough numbers to be a telephone number..."

I have no answers on that one.
posted by MarkAnd at 8:39 AM on March 22, 2001


i meant 'how is that a valid phone number?'

oops.

There is a wonderful Sara Lee letter in one of the Ted L. Nancy books, in which he states quite clearly to the company that he doesn't like Sara Lee, and thus the slogan is incorrect.
posted by hijinx at 8:43 AM on March 22, 2001


I too assumed it was 'does it like Sara Lee'.

But back to the article. The Tribune writer's story demonstrates the commercial, consumption-driven economic machine that is America. Everyday we are inundated with advertisements night and day. It's not an argument anymore about how this consumerism is bad for the environment and society as a whole.

Take Europe for example. There are ads there but they lack the 'in-your-face' approach US marketers take. They respect privacy. Driving through the country-side you know you are in a different place because billboards are not placed every 10 yards. It can be different. It should be different.

I never before thought myself a socialist but reading what I just wrote it appears I'm about to fall off the fence on my left side.
posted by borgle at 8:53 AM on March 22, 2001


She missed quite a few ads. How many logo-wearing people did she talk to that day? How many appliances did she use with prominent logos? Everybody look at your phone. Store signage is also considered an ad (not that I'm against signage). I'm sure she passed hundreds of cars not only proclaiming their brand, but cleverly emblazoning their features near the logo--XT, GLS, ABS.

Most advertising flies beneath our radar, because we are so inundated. Try avoiding ads for just one day. It's impossible unless you carefully clear out all advertising from one room and stay there for the day.

Is all advertising bad? Of course not. But unless we are consciously aware of all of it, it is allowed to creep in subconsciously. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have my motivations for consumption on the surface.
posted by frykitty at 8:58 AM on March 22, 2001


Yeah, "Nobody does it like Sarah Lee" is much less susceptible to false advertising claims, as it would be a lot harder to prove false.

It's true that in American society today there's almost no possible way to escape advertising. Here at work, I have advertisements sitting on my desk. There's an ad for professional liability insurance on my straight edge, an ad for a local financial planner on the cover of my 2001 tax guide, there are ads on the spines of my phone books for auto insurance. The class schedules we got when I was in college had advertisements in them. I refuse to be shocked when new forms of advertising come out. I just try to put them in the subconscious part of my mind that decides what to ignore.
posted by OneBallJay at 9:05 AM on March 22, 2001


Twinkies slogan: "Freshness never tasted so good." So why bother eating fresh things - have a twinkie instead - it will never go bad! *grin*

As far as being inundated with ads... I live WAY out in the country and the closest "public" building is twelve miles away and it's just a general store and our post office, and I do my work from home. No billboards, just lots of cows and fencing mostly. Living out here for a few years, I've had the opportunity to become REALLY aware of the contrast of being out here and when I go "into town". (Or log on - LOL) There's a sense of 'breathing room' out here that's wonderful. I don't actually get more annoyed by ads now, but instead, I notice the things AROUND the ads more. Like the wildflowers growing around the base of billboards in town, or the pansies planted in front of the supermarket, or the puddles that form in the parking lots after it rains. That stuff is there too, and the more I focus on them, the more I see 'em - kinda like the ad thing, but in reverse, and not annoying at all. *grin* I highly recommend it!
posted by thunder at 9:58 AM on March 22, 2001


I've got to say that if her assignment was to catalog all the ads she saw on in a day, she did a pretty lousy job of it. I mean, I understand how hard it would be to be 100% accurate, but she didn't even try that hard. What has become of the American Journalist?
posted by jpoulos at 10:04 AM on March 22, 2001


"Nobody does it like Sara Lee."

Oh, nothing would make me happier if this were the actual tag line. It would be the most wonderfully filthy double-entendre in advertising since "I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing."
posted by Skot at 10:25 AM on March 22, 2001


Safeway used "Nobody Does It Better" several years ago--right along with the Carly Simon song. It was like watching a former child-star try to shed their cutesy image by doing a naughty movie.
posted by frykitty at 10:41 AM on March 22, 2001


LOL. Man, to be proven wrong about Sara Lee after all these years. Here I was thinking that Sara Lee was a polymorphously perverse bisexual baker.

Is it possible they've recently changed the slogan in light of political correctness? Because I could have sworn that it was always "Nobody does it like Sara Lee."
posted by ed at 10:42 AM on March 22, 2001


It has to be "Nobody does it like Sara Lee." This is actually making me angry, my whole youth of hoping that one day I would meet Sara Lee and we would do something that nobody else does is now shattered. You can add me to the list of someone who does not like Sara Lee....unless she wants to fulfill my boyhood fantasy.
posted by Stretch at 10:44 AM on March 22, 2001


In the Sara Lee corporation FAQs (don't even ask) they address this question explicitly:

"Q. What is the slogan for Sara Lee Bakery?

a. Nobody Doesn't Like Sara Lee!
b. Nobody Does It Like Sara Lee!

A. The correct answer is 'a'. "
posted by MarkAnd at 11:24 AM on March 22, 2001


Why are some of you people beating up this reporter? In the first few lines she clearly states "here are some of the more unusual kinds of ads that, as people in the ad game like to say, 'broke through the clutter.'" Her article wasn't meant to be a log of every single ad she saw in a day.
[this comment brought to you by tony's pizza]
posted by gluechunk at 11:47 AM on March 22, 2001


Approximate counts of the ones she registered would've been a nice perk. How many ads per hour does a person see?
posted by cCranium at 12:12 PM on March 22, 2001


I wonder how many ads were blatantly aimed at turning our younger generations in to good little consumers. Get them when they're young and you have them for life. A Nazi doctrine
posted by a3matrix at 12:20 PM on March 22, 2001


This whole Sara Lee thing is hilarious. I always thought it was "Nobody does it like" too. Must be a conspiracy coverup or something....
posted by grank at 1:41 PM on March 22, 2001


I've known it was "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee" ever since I saw the TV commercial that had it printed out in words on the screen about, oh, twenty years ago.
posted by kindall at 2:00 PM on March 22, 2001


I love this - a post about the number of ads seen in a day turns into a sideblog on the wording of a Sara Lee ad; this is why I read MetaFilter. Seriously. Although, now that damn ad jingle is going to be stuck in my head indefinitely.
posted by jennaratrix at 2:27 PM on March 22, 2001


Hey, it's an advertising-jingle mondegreen!

I submit that the reporter's notes were scrawled quickly: that phone number should probably be 1-800-BUY-MYCD (see left column) -- but don't call it. That ad was for a service that's been discontinued for three months....
posted by dhartung at 2:41 PM on March 22, 2001


Synchronicity: just this morning I was just reading Matthew De Abaitua's article "Letter from London: Pay Attention", recently recycled in Hermenaut. It begins with a thought-provoking quote:

"If you replaced every logo, advert and brand image you see on the high street with a quote from the Bible, you would feel that you were living in an intolerably strict religious state ..."

Would that be so much worse than an intolerably consumerist state?
posted by sj at 3:08 PM on March 22, 2001


"If you replaced every logo, advert and brand image you see on the high street with a quote from the Bible, you would feel that you were living in an intolerably strict religious state ..."

What would happen if you replaced every logo, advertisement and brand image you see with a quote from one of many different "holy books" including quotes from atheist philosophers? That seems more analogous to advertising. And far from living in an intolerably strict religious state, it'd make me feel like I was living in a pretty damn tolerant place, to have people putting up with all sorts of public display of beliefs that are not their own.

Yeah, sure, if all advertising was the Nike swoosh, that'd be pretty oppressively monotonous. But it's not like that...
posted by kindall at 3:23 PM on March 22, 2001


Not exactly, kindall, wrt to the supposed 'diversity of messages' -- there's only one, and it's "Buy buy buy!"
posted by EngineBeak at 3:54 PM on March 22, 2001


Would that be so much worse than an intolerably consumerist state?

At least some adverstisements aren't as boring as the bible.
posted by gleemax at 4:33 PM on March 22, 2001


Hey! The bible's got sex, violence, and all sorts of drama...

Jackie Collins' has got nothing on King James
posted by owillis at 4:36 PM on March 22, 2001


Not exactly, kindall, wrt to the supposed 'diversity of messages' -- there's only one, and it's "Buy buy buy!"

So with the diversity of religion: there's only one, and it's "Believe believe believe!"
posted by kindall at 4:49 PM on March 22, 2001


If there's one thing kids should learn from the barrage of ads we live with, it's "Don't believe everything you're told."

This comment brought to you by the letters D, V and the number 8.
posted by Loudmax at 6:49 PM on March 22, 2001


Not exactly, kindall, wrt to the supposed 'diversity of messages' -- there's only one, and it's "Buy buy buy!"

Then explain this ad for PBS that's staring at me from a magazine as I type this.
posted by aaron at 12:17 AM on March 26, 2001



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