Modern Advertising

After reading two of Charles Dickens’ novels and seeing the format in which they were originally published, it is clear that his writing and advertising went closely hand-in-hand. Dickens was perhaps not the first author to capitalize on the financial benefits of advertising, but advertising and creative content have only become more intertwined as time has gone on.

One extreme example of this strengthened relationship–one that Dickens’ might have found ingenious–is the development of television and film characters who are designed solely to be merchandised. For instance, Legos are a very popular toy among children. Since 2001, The Lego Group has begun a brilliant strategy of producing children’s films, sometimes Lego adaptations of films like Star Wars and Indiana Jones, and sometimes with original characters, like in The Lego Movie. They then produce Lego sets to go along with these movies, and once kids see the movies, they want the Lego sets as well. So, in this sense, The Lego Group uses original creative content to advertise for its own products, along with traditional advertising.

Conversely, the creators of South Park have become critical of this trend. In response to the over-marketing and exploitation of their characters, they created a ridiculous new character called Towelie, who is a talking towel. Ironically, clothing bearing Towelie’s image and his slogan, “Don’t forget to bring a towel!”, have been produced and sold.

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