Monday, May 29, 2006

What would Times Square be without Ads on every corner?

--> Since the beginning of class we have been talking about how traditional ads aren't reaching the general public anymore. We discussed that since we are already constantly bombarded with ads( whether it be on TV,online, on billboards) we have learned to tune them out.
However this weekend I was in NYC and from the moment I stepped on the street, street marketers were surrounding me, begging me to buy something. Much of the day was like this street marketers trying to get my attention, and me constantly ignoring them. But, upon entering Times Square I realized something. What would Times Square be without giant, flashing ads on every building. Part of the allure of Times Square is seeing the flashy ads trying to market a new product/service, promote celebs, etc.
As much as I don't like advertisments, I would hate to one day enter Times Square and notice that they had all been taken down and turned off because it is perceived by many that this traditional marketing is constantly being ignored by people and wasting money for the companies who pay for them. I'll be the first to admit that I can't remember half the ads that flashed before my eyes, but it was so exciting to be in the heart of Times Square surrounded by them.
In any event, I wouldn't mind seeing TV and radio ads go, but as far as the ads in Times Square are concerned, I feel as though its what makes Times Square, well Times Square.


Kennie Swanson said...

Hey Sapphire-Gurl,

I was also in NYC this weekend and man oh man it was fun. Places actually stay open late! I won't get into the specifics of my stay, but i also felt the power of Times Square, and I became wrapped in all of the baroque advertisements that brand the city. Even though a lot of these ads had absolutely no effect on me, i have to say they sure are quite the specticle. And, I also argue that as life consuming as they may be, the traditional advertisements on TV, radio, online, and billboards are still a powerful way to reach the masses.

I mean, who doesn't love a great commercial? I couldn't imagine if all of a sudden, all these traditional means for advertising were simply abolished by companies. Advertisements are part of our daily lives and still inform and influence a lot of our decisions. I think WOM will gain a lot of power, but traditional advertisements will always have their spot in society.

DietPepsi said...

Another thing to keep in mind is the question of whether or not these advertisments are ethical. I try to think about the bright colors and flashy lights, and the role those key elements play in the company's advertisements. Compare Boston to Times Square. It is obvious which one catches your attention. I wonder who started Times Square, and if the advertisements were welcomed at the start of it. Will other cities ever take off and run with the 'Times Square' idea?

couture said...

I completely agree with Kennie! I don't think traditional means of advertising will ever become obsolete. Advertising is to deeply ingrained in the American culture and is so much a part of our everyday lives that i don't think companies will ever abandon it. Although i do see WOMM becoming more and more prominent in the future i don't think it will ever take the place of mainstream media marketing. As Brad Fay said in his presentation to our class; alot of WOM about a product or company starts as a result of traditional marketing campaigns (such as people talking about the Carl Jr. commercial). That said, in my opinion as more and more companies begin to take advantage of WOMM we will see a great deal of combined WOM and traditional marketing campaigns as opposed to WOM taking the place of traditional media.

tanyak said...

New York City is completely origninal with its ubiquitous advertising in Times Square. I was in Philadelphia this weekend and it (like Boston) does not have anything comparable to Times Square. And I think because of this, the advertising there is different from other traditional advertising. It is famous, flashy, (and if you've never seen it) awe-inspiring. It has an effect on people like traditional advertising doesn't. It is in your face. You can not escape it. But people like it. It is part of the charm of Times Square. And for that reason, I think it is more effective than a poster somewhere else. It may not be as innovative as WOM, but it is legendary. Times Square captures your attention whether you accept it or not. Maybe for our seasoned city dwellers, the ads are just noise and color. However, to the tourists who are seeing it for the first time, I think the colorful, flashy ads will leave a lasting impression.

towey said...

I think that the ads of Times Square are more of an experience rather than a well targeted marketing plan (although every type of person does pass through that square). Anyone who visits New York always walks through Times Square with the understanding that there will be thousands of people walking quickly together and staring up at the flashing signs.

To backtrack a bit, I do give Times Square a great amount of credit with their ability to continually move forward with their advertisements. They don't have flat, billboard-type advertisements, but 3-D, flashing, eye-catching statements to attract people from all around the world.

Although, over the years, I have begun to know Manhattan rather well and find myself avoiding Times Squrae whenever possible, and from what I've heard from friends who live there, they avoid it at any cost as well.

I think that they continually attempt to change and attract attention to the new "billboards" but it is more of a novelty rather than a serious marketing campaign, in my opinion.

KERandall said...

I agree with the other comments on this post and your thoughts that Time Square is original because of it's flashy, in-your-face advertising. I think a great comment you made in your post was that you would could not recall the actual ads or messages you saw in Times Square. This is key. I think that many people go to Time Square for the experience which, includes all the ads. However, like Las Vegas, they are being drawn in by the lights and signs. Not the messages conveyed by those ads.

Are these ads effective? Well, many believe that merely exposing people to a single message multiple times can increase sales. This is because the more an ad or product is viewed, it's more likely that consumers will be inclined to buy it or prefer it because they recognize it.

Nice post.. Seems to be generating plenty of comments!

Walter Carl said...


Just to clarify the findings you attribute to Brad Fay. It's not necessarily the case that WOM episodes get *started by* traditional marketing and promotion messages (such as an ad) but rather that traditional media forms (in this case, print, TV, radio, etc.) are *referenced* in about 40% of the brand-related conversations. Thus, there's a difference between starting the conversation as a result of the marketing message versus referencing information from a more traditional media form. :-)

Dr. Carl

Jesols said...

hey Sapphiregurl!

You sure have generated a lot of buzz. I agree with you (and it seems like most of the class) that Times Square wouldn't be Times Square without the ads. I just came back from studying abroad in London and for those of you who have been, or haven't, there is an area, Picadelly Circus that is a miniture Times Square. I'll admit that I was homesick when I first got to London but walking into Picadelly was like walking into Times Square.

Now I'm from Long Island and am a HUGE fan of NYC, so perhaps that's why I felt quite at home, but it wasn't until I saw the flashy lights of Picadelly that I felt completely "normal." I feel, like you stated, that the ads DO make Times Square.

Just a thought...

kenw said...

Ah, times square. Indeed, what would it be without the rediculous electronic bombardment it's now famous for? Unfortunately, this is a perspective that history is sort of sorcing us into. I would have to argue that I would rather see, quite simply, a square bustling with people and activity. We are so desensitized to this bombardment, however, that it does seem inappropriate to consider this media hub as anything else. That's why I love WOM--there is strong potential for us to overcome our reliance on and somewhat disturbing familiarity with advertising.

ericrocksmyworld said...

I think it's interesting that you cite Times Square as representative of traditional advertising. Obviously this is true, but I also think of it as a place for new methods. The clip we've all seen countless times in class from some nightly newsmagazine springs to mind: Times Square was an area where stealth marketers posed as tourists to get people to try their new camera phone. Not only is Times Square a plastered with traditional advertising, it is also a center new forms of marketing.