keeping it unreal: the advertainers

Are all aspects of or life affected by immediacy? Its an old idea where products not only lend contextual support to a narrative but contribute and propagate a commodity fetishism resulting from the relationship between technology art and advertising.The result is a homogenization and hyper consumerism where actual critical content is simplistically split into black and white yet murky and vague issues of democracy versus terrorism. Does this monstrosity, the entertainment complex,what Adorno termed the “culture industry” turn us all into consumers that caps any possibility for reflection? Is marketed heterogeneity, under the brand name “multiculturalism” simply another commodity to be peddled?

The advent of the DVR, now in almost 40% of U.S. households according Neilsen, allows the television audience to bypass traditional commercials and product plugs.DVR usage varies from 26% to 47% depending on the market. Are television ads becoming obsolete?  Enter Ben Silverman.Is there a future for an entertainment partnership in which viewers are secondary?Can large swaths of American culture be submerged or blind-sided under the weight of reality television? Is the real “reality” that we are not witnessing a replacement of the traditional model, but rather loading it down with additional publicity outside the purview of FCC regulations?

"Acquiring Connected Ventures is part of Electus’s plan to take hold of the largely web-based brand integration market: Electus is the newly chosen name for the venture headed by Mr. Silverman, the former NBC Entertainment chairman who left the fourth-place network earlier this fall. The idea is to create TV and web properties in conjunction with major marketers that want to be more deeply integrated into entertainment than with a typical 30-second spot. If vacating a position as the head of one of the top national TV stations for a new media startup isn’t a sign of the times, then we don’t know what is." Read More: image:

Silverman’s vision is a pretty ugly scenario, but almost an inevitable one in which the industrial and entertainment complex get to hold hands in public. In short, Silverman’s entertainment vision means corporate advertising and programming content are identical. A show is a deluxe infomercial. The ads become part of the entertainment creation process: Silverman wants to make advertising inescapable by bringing major corporations into the writer’s room and putting brands directly into the shows they’re sponsoring. This is not product placement, in which a brand is integrated into an already fully formed show (such as Coca-Cola with American Idol or Glad with Top Chef). It’s a symbiotic arrangement in which writers and a brand create a show together—and in which the brand is as much a part of the cast as the wacky neighbor or wise grandpa. Read More:

Walter Benjamin writing before television and the internet:The “unclouded,” “innocent” eye has become a lie, perhaps the whole naïve mode of expression is sheer incompetence. Today the most real, the mercantile gaze into the heart of things is the advertisement. It abolishes the space where contemplation moved and all but hits us between the eyes with things as a car, growing in gigantic proportions, careens at us out of a film screen. And just as the film does not present furniture and facades in completed forms for critical inspection, their insistent, jerky nearness alone being sensational, the genuine advertisement hurtles things at us with the tempo of a good film… For the man in the street, however, it is money that affects him in this way, brings him into perceived contact with things. And the paid critic, manipulating paintings in the dealer’s exhibition room, knows more if not better things about them than the art lover… The warmth of the subject is communicated to him, stirs sentient springs. What, in the end, makes advertisements so superior to criticism? Not what the moving red neon sign says — but the fiery pool reflecting in the asphalt. Read More:


"Silverman's proposal would position IAC to capitalize on what Diller called the coming "creative destruction." On July 27, 2009, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest broke the news on Twitter that Silverman was leaving NBC and starting "a new studio bringing together the most creative stars and producers." Diller moved two of IAC's youth-oriented production companies, CollegeHumor and Notional, under Silverman's control and gave Silverman funds to start brokering partnerships with additional producers. Silverman moved into office space on West Sunset Boulevard and brainstormed names. He says he wanted his new company to be something patriotic sounding, bespoke, and egalitarian. He came up with "electus," a Latin word for "chosen." ---Read More: image:

In April 2010, Silverman announced Electus’s first big deal: the sale of a multicultural “telenovela” series called Pedro & Maria to MTV, which has Jersey Shore, the top-rated show on cable. Procter & Gamble (PG) would be co-producing the series along with Ugly Betty actress America Ferrera and author Quiara Alegría Hudes. It would unfold on TV but also spin off plots and characters into Web programs. Viewers would be able to influence story lines through social media. It was to be a grand, multiplatform affair, and Electus would retain the foreign rights. At the time of the announcement, Rich DelCore, the director of branded entertainment for P&G, praised Silverman for creating “unprecedented collaboration” between advertisers and creators. “Electus is at the forefront of the evolution of content, and by partnering with them for a project like Pedro & Maria, we can truly explore innovative and creative branded entertainment opportunities,” said DelCore….Ten months after the initial announcement, though, Pedro & Maria is nowhere to be seen. The P&G executive who held up Silverman as a visionary now declines to comment on anything related to Pedro & Maria, Electus, or MTV. Read More:

---DumbDumb ended up making two Wrigley videos—essentially long commercials. According to Electus, they have been viewed 2.6 million times on CollegeHumor's website and YouTube—not an insignificant number but hardly enough to cause a stampede at the checkout line or finance anyone's early retirement. DumbDumb has since made another video for Old Navy (GPS), and Arnett says they are working on some ideas with the Canadian telecommunications

any RIM. "You need to figure out new ways of getting eyeballs on the branding," he says. ---Read More: image:



Jeanne Frazer: Down to business, what does this mean for ratings? The Nielsen live TV measurement is not 100% on point anymore as it does not include the DVR usage viewing, so the live numbers reported fall shy of actual viewing. Primetime now has 1/5 to 1/3 of playback on DVR for the networks and cable prime is 1 out of 10. The DVR viewers are also younger and have a higher income.

Hmmm…When will we see commercials designed to be viewed on a DVR or specifically geared to this DVRs with a message? A great example would be a commercial with graphics that works without sound. Glad you got a chance to watch your show? We’ve been waiting for you… Read More: a

Gillette:While Electus has successfully created sponsored programs for the Internet, only one of its brand-led TV series has made it onto television. In the fall of 2010, Centric, a spinoff channel of Black Entertainment Television, aired eight episodes of Master of the Mix, a DJ competition reality show that Electus co-produced with GTM, an Atlanta-based marketing agency. The show was financed by the London-based liquor giant Diageo (DEO), owner of Smirnoff. In the series, seven DJs compete to become a Smirnoff-sponsored DJ, who will spin at company-promoted events around the world and get a limited-edition Smirnoff bottle designed in his or her honor. Smirnoff is everywhere on Master of the Mix, and it doesn't exactly blend into the narrative. In the first episode, the contestants move into a house in Hollywood where they meet a curvaceous mixologist who works behind a Smirnoff-stocked bar. She routinely pours Smirnoff cocktails and engages in Smirnoff-inspired dialogue. Read More: image:

Who is Ben Silverman:First as an agent at William Morris in London in the mid-’90s and later as the founder of a production company called Reveille, Silverman got American TV networks to pay handsomely for dozens of ideas, pilots, and series based on European game shows, single-camera comedies, and reality TV. Some of the most improbable ideas became the most lucrative: The Biggest Loser, about obese contestants racing to lose weight, grew into one of Silverman’s signature series (it’s currently NBC’s top show among 18- to 49-year-old women and was recently picked up for a 12th season). He also sold the soft-core historical drama The Tudors and a few critically beloved comedies as well, such as the The Office and Ugly Betty….

---The Weinstein Co. and Ben Silverman's Electus have sold a reality show called Mob Wives to VH1. The network has picked up a 10-episode, straight to series commitment, with production slated to begin after Thanksgiving. It will tentatively premiere in March 2011. Mob Wives will follow four struggling women as they attempt to get their lives together as their husband or fathers do time in prison for mob-related activities.---Read More: image:

Selling content has made Silverman rich. Reveille was eventually purchased by Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine Group for roughly $125 million. Ever since he has struggled to start his next act. In May 2007 he was hired by Jeff Zucker to be co-chairman of NBC Entertainment, which for the first time put the consummate salesman on the other side of the table as a buyer of shows. The move was largely seen as disastrous for NBC, which failed to create any major hits during Silverman’s tenure. In July 2009, he announced he was leaving NBC to launch Electus, an Internet-and-TV studio backed by Barry Diller’s IAC (IACI). Read More:

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Gillette:The actress Elizabeth Banks strolls nearby through a rooftop garden lined with California olive trees. A waiter arrives with a plate of warm tomatoes rolling on a bed of a sweet cheese. Silverman shares an anecdote about selling his previous L.A. home to the actor Jake Gyllenhaal, remarks on the water-sucking properties of eucalyptus trees, and tells a story about how some guy in the men’s room just pitched him a horrendous-sounding idea for a reality show. When the waiter passes by, he orders another Arnold Palmer….

Also of particular concern in this convolute is Jungendstil, the art movement from the 1890s in Germany associated with “Art Nouveau.” Benjamin addresses the style and in particular its relationship with advertising: “Advertising is emancipated in Jungendstil” read more:

After he scoots off from his table—in a few hours Silverman will be enjoying courtside seats at the Los Angeles Lakers game—one of his content partners, the comedian Will Arnett, plops down to sing his praises. In the summer of 2010, Arnett and the actor Jason Bateman formed a production company called DumbDumb under the Electus umbrella to create short comedy videos for the Internet in close partnership with brands. Arnett says he wanted a way to create comedy for profit without meddlesome network middlemen. Or, more precisely, with Silverman, whom he “inherently trusts,” as his middle man. So far it’s been hit or miss. “Some brands still want their product to be the hero, and that’s their right,” says Arnett. “Then there are some brands that are much more forgiving. We barely have to mention the brand at all.” Read More: a

Jungenstil then acts to both mimic the effects of advertising and to “emancipate” it within their productions. read more:

Bret Brinkman:Even more central to Benjamin’s investigations in this section is the work of J.J. Grandville (pseudonym of French caricaturist Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard). Benjamin describes the “subtleties” of his caricatures as “express[ing] what Marx called the ‘theological niceties’ of the commodity” . His work for Benjamin directly takes up the enchanting fetishism of the commodity and makes it his central mode of artistic production. a

Fish Fishing for People, 1844, J.J. Grandville. Read More:


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