Another One of Morgan Spurlock’s Experiments

Super Size Me is probably Spurlock’s most famous documentary. It has Spurlock eating everything on the McDonald’s menu three times a day for thirty days. A lot of negative feedback was brought upon McDonald’s after the film gained popularity. However, does that negative feedback still count as publicity? Absolutely, and in Spurlock’s more recent documentary, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, this and many other themes of advertising are explored.

I have to say that I agree with pretty much everything that was in the movie. I liked how he was sort of at a disadvantage at the beginning because of his success with Super Size Me, and how companies didn’t trust him because they were afraid of the movie badmouthing their products or services. Even still, Spurlock managed to get 23 sponsors to produce the film (most of which are American-only, but there were a couple of international companies like POM and Trident). Any publicity is good publicity, people say; and this is very true when it comes to this film. No matter how negative or positive Spurlock would talk of a company, it’s still technically advertising, because it’s almost guaranteed that more people have now learned about them.

The mentality of advertising is a very tricky one. Companies will go to such great lengths to sell you their products, whether it’d be crazy commercials, or outright lying about their products! For example, POM pomegranate juice is not as healthy as people might expect. You can probably get more nutrients from just eating regular pomegranates. At this point, legal action can come into play and accuse POM of false advertising. However, companies find their way around laws to continue their dirty bidding. All of this for sugary water. Spurlock also goes in-depth with this topic and how companies overdo it in a lot of ways.

Overall, I think that this movie hit the nail on the head with how the advertising business really works nowadays. This isn’t the greatest movie I’ve ever seen, but it’s definitely one of the most accurate documentaries out there.

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Nintendo: Cards, Cabs, and Couples.

Surprise, surprise! A blog post about video games! What else do I talk about?

There’s not a person in this world that hasn’t heard of Nintendo, or the Big N, nicknamed by some. They’re well-known for their paramount contribution to the video games industry. However,  there is a lot of obscured history with this multi-billion dollar organization. For instance, let’s have a look at their past logos.

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Nintendo started WAY back in 1889

All of them are pretty bland and uninspired, aren’t they? All except for one. The one at the top right is a spade with an N in the center. That’s right, they used to be a playing card company! This probably doesn’t surprise you too much, considering it’s a form of entertainment much like video games, however by 1963 they had done other things to keep the company alive, such as taxi services and…

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Love hotels?! That’s right! The family-friendly Nintendo also had sex hotspots under its name! It’s amazing how companies and their products evolve to be so distinct.

It wasn’t until 1974 when they started to cash in on home electronics by having rights to distribute the Magnavox Oddysey, a device considered to be one of the earliest forms of a gaming console. Not soon after Shigeru Miyamoto, the man responsible for creating iconic franchises such as Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda, was hired to work for Gunpei Yokoi, a director of the early games in the Metroid series and the inventor of the Game Boy,to design Nintendo’s very own game console titled Color TV-Game

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This was probably the machine that started it all, along with Mr.Yokoi’s invention of the Game and Watch, a handheld device designed to play games and tell time! Pretty revolutionary for 1979.

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These two things pretty much decided the fate of Nintendo’s success and the logo that we know of today.

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I leave you with the knowledge of Nintendo’s awareness that you’re cheating… in both senses of the word!

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Sega’s Campaign Against Nintendo

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Sega Genesis’s library compared to Super Nintendo’s

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Link to video advertisement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mK0OFsWWzu4

These ads were taken from the competitive times between Nintendo and Sega, and the race to see who would come out the victor, although it’s pretty clear which company won. Because of this, I will be looking at the losing side and how their marketing campaign pitted up against Nintendo’s.

All these ads have something in common: they glorify Genesis and bash Super Nintendo. Because of this, the worldview here is “I want to be superior, so I will purchase the superior console”.  People want the better, flashier product, and what better way to advertise this than put down the opposition?

The target audience (at the time) was niche because video games didn’t appeal to many people. Nowadays, you’ll almost never find a household without a Nintendo Wii in the living room. But back then, video games were considered “children’s toys”. It’s interesting to see a medium and its companies slowly grow from targeting a niche audience to targeting a mass audience.

Do Audiences Exist or are they Created?

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Some can argue that they can be created, but it is undisputed fact that audiences do indeed exist beforehand. The thing about many people is that they don’t always know what they want, and that they have to be shown or taught what it is they want.

For example, say you like comedy television shows, but you begin to like soaps. This strikes you and some others as surprising because you wouldn’t expect yourself to enjoy something so different. Audiences set their own expectations, but sometimes they won’t even begin to guess what they expect out of other things.

I don’t watch that much television anymore, so I don’t know what to expect out of most shows nowadays. This presents either a challenge or a blessing to a company or organization depending on their audience’s needs. Some audiences would be happy if something’s just thrown at them, and some will go rabid if they’re not given exactly what they want.

Teenagers and Social Media

It is commonly believed that teenagers can be very irresponsible when it comes to decision-making. This could be due to peer pressure, or just reckless thinking. What a lot of teens stress about the most is their social identity. What kinds of clothes they wear, what kind of music they listen to — just about anything you can think of, really. Now that social media is an avid thing in our lives, teens can now express themselves more openly. However, can this be regarded as a positive or negative thing?

Mostly negative. Especially over the Internet. I say this because we tend to do things that we can regret later on without knowing that we’ll regret it. Teens are capable of doing a ton of stupid things that they may regret in the future. Anything that is posted on the Internet can’t be fully taken off, and some kids might slip up and post something that was probably supposed to be private. This makes others have a negative impact on one’s identity.

This can also lead to misunderstandings and nasty remarks, usually from people behind their computer screens or phones. And they aren’t as afraid to do it from afar than they would be when it’s up close and personal. People can act completely different when they speak through text in the comfort of their own home versus being face to face and talking to someone. Humans are very social creatures, and we rely on one another more than we think. Taking away the real life interaction causes us to act a little differently towards people, and not in a good way, usually. To summarize,

Go outside, will you?

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Portal 2 and how its ARG Impacted its Success

It’s hard to deny that social media impacts video games in a big way. For reference, take a look at the recently released Destiny. The game generated so much hype through every social media outlet imaginable, and its advertising campaign was probably more expensive than the budget for actually making the game.

Like it mattered. Heck, the game made back all of the money used to make it on the first day of sales. Sure, many of us were overjoyed to finally start playing the game, but a lot of us were also underwhelmed by the actual experience. The game was just “over-hyped” as some of us would say. There have been other video games that have generated hype in a more unique way.

Let’s look at Portal 2, made by Valve, and its ARG. What is an ARG? ARG stands for “Alternate Reality Game” and in short, it’s an intricately made interactive networked narrative in real time. What this means is that the Portal Community was given subtle hints through different Valve games such as Team Fortress 2 and various Valve-owned websites. Much hype was generated from this as you can imagine, as it had the community going crazy and finding patterns and other connections from one hint to the next. You don’t see a lot of games getting people excited like this every day. It’s definitely an interesting contrast to how Destiny bloated its advertising to appeal to the masses.

Link to a large summary of the ARG: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1824635

A glimpse of what some of the ARG showcased.

A glimpse of what some of the ARG showcased.

Social Media Today

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“Our social tools are not an improvement to modern society, they are a challenge to it.” ― Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

My take on social media today is that it’s a blessing and a curse. It is undoubtedly useful for anyone because it has many uses. You can contact a friend or family member from the other side of the world, you’re able to keep up to date with the latest trends and news easily, and many, many more convenient things come out of it. It’s not hard to see that it’s taking the world by storm, for better or for worse. I say this because with all the information we have access to in seconds, we start to get more and more impatient with generally anything in our daily lives, really. Checking your cell phone becomes second nature, and that isn’t a very good thing at all, because your attention span starts to break down, and next thing you know you fail a course because you couldn’t keep your eyes off of a four-inch screen for more than five minutes.  Overall, I think that social media is something that is here to stay for a long time, but we all need to think for ourselves and use social media in moderation. Patience is a virtue. A boring virtue, but a virtue nonetheless.