#AtoZChallenge: Advertainment

advertainment =
advertising + entertainment

 

Today begins the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, and I’d like to welcome all of you who are new to The Sound of One Hand Typing (AM and FM). My theme this year is portmanteau words, words that take portions of two or more words and mash them together to form a brand-new word.

Our first portmanteau is advertainment, defined as “A form of communication that combines the elements of advertising and entertainment,” according to Wordnik. There’s always been a certain element of enertainment in commercials, everything from marching and dancing cigarettes to cleansing powder advertised by barbershop-singing elves, from instant coffee to hamburger joints, from automobiles to cellular telephone service. There’s no doubt that these are commercials, but there’s an element of entertainment that keeps you watching.

Millions of dollars are spent yearly in the US for commercials that air during the Super Bowl, the end-of-year extravaganza staged by the National Football League to determine the best team in the league. Some of those commercials aren’t commercials per se. For example, Chrysler aired a commercial during the 2013 game that featured radio icon Paul Harvey talking about farmers…

That same year, Budweiser aired this commercial, featuring one of its Clydesdales…

Advertainment has been criticized as another form of subliminal advertising, using the commercials to send a subliminal message to purchase a product or service. That’s probably true. At the same time, the commercials are entertaining, often better than the shows themselves.

What are some ad campaigns that you would consider “advertainment”? Which ones do you like? Which ones have caused you to purchase a product or service? I know many of you are from outside North America, and I’d be interested to know about the ad campaigns there.

A
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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

83 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: Advertainment”

    1. “God Made A Farmer” was especially touching. Paul Harvey had a distinctive voice I grew up hearing, and he could read stories that would make you laugh, cry, make you angry, give you faith in humanity, all in the same broadcast. He was the last of a breed.

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  1. In fairness, John, I’ve been laughing at TV adverts for years. Part of the sport is often trying to guess what they’re advertising and, if you can work it out before the end, what about the content of the ad is likely to prompt you to consider buying the product or service advertised.

    Brand awareness? There’s one exceptionally entertaining ad running on TV in UK at present (well, it was entertaining the first three hundred times I saw it, but that’s another story) and, though I’ve seen it more times than I care to admit, I can never remember what it’s advertising!

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  2. A fun start to the challenge! Ads back in India are pretty much the same like in the US, Advertainments! Most of the time the ads are so entertaining yet one can’t remember what product it was for! Cheers πŸ™‚
    @KalaRavi16 from
    Relax-N-Rave

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  3. I love that Budweiser commercial. I wish they’d air it more often. Brings me to a tear, it’s so sweet. That was a very interesting Dodge Ram spot. I remember that spot from the Superbowl. They sure embarked on an intense brand image campaign.
    I’ve been in advertising most of my life and I used to work for an ad agency in Washington DC (Goldberg Marchesano) and they did an Ikea commercial that was so hilarious. It won many awards and was inducted into the advertising hall of fame. It’s always been my favorite commercial. Imbeding it here in case you want to check it out:

    Great word, advertainment. Sometimes the commercials are better than the shows. I’d say the King of Beers is also the King of Commercials as they always seem to have fantastic spots, especially any spot featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales.
    I love watching Superbowl commercials and it cracks me up that the commercials are all over the news the next morning, often talked about more than the game itself!

    Great theme John. I love adding to my vocabulary so I’ll be looking forward to your word journey…

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  4. The reason I love catch up TV is that I can skip all the ads. But shouldn’t complain about them really – my son’s job is with Channel 4 here – scheduling ads. Much more complicated than you think – especially as it all revolves around money! Some of the best ads here are the ones done specifially for Christmas – there’s always an anticipation around those. John Lewis usually come out well.

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    1. The first thing I can actually remember seeing Bruce Campbell in was “Burn Notice.” I know he was in a lot of stuff before then, but can’t recall anything before then. Weird, huh?

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  5. Hi John .. even though I’m not doing the A-Z (had to withdraw) I’d link back here … as I was/will be in 2017 featuring Rare Breeds – these are great … Clydesdales are of vulnerable status here .. I think they have a strong set up in the States … cheers Hilary

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  6. I don’t watch TV very much, so I don’t often see commercials on there. Sometimes though, when I hear about a good one through the grapevine I look it up on youtube and watch it. πŸ™‚ I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything I’ve seen on a commercial before….

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  7. Advertisement is the necessary devil once we buy for more than just survival so it might as well be entertaining! For me, ads are more about brand awareness than actual products and I remember IKEA had a good one some time ago with cats everywhere. I love cats. 😊

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    1. Me, too! We’ve always had a bunch living with us. At one point we were up to 21. That’s when we decided that it was time to let the number dwindle. They’re all getting older now, but are still pretty frisky.

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  8. Interesting topic, portmanteaus! Ads here in Spain are not as entertaining (or stupid) as most of the repetitive ads I have seen on TV while my time in Arizona. As a rule, I consider ads great educators: every time they are on TV, I pick a book and start reading until they are finished πŸ™‚

    @CintaEscribe de
    El RincΓ³n de Cinta

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  9. For every great ad, there are at least 10 stupid ones! I can’t think of any offhand that convinced me to buy a product. My favourite ad lately is the one wtih the little dog from Amazon:

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      1. They all come out big unless you put &w= and specify the width at the end of the URL, at least with WordPress. Little trick I’ve learned. πŸ™‚

        I like the one with the little horse myself.

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  10. I just showed my students yesterday the Coke commercial from the SuperBowl two years ago (singing “America the Beautiful” in various languages). It was a huge controversial thing at the time for reasons beyond Coca Cola, and it gave us a lot to talk about…
    Happy A to Z! πŸ™‚

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary
    MopDog

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    1. TV’s become a drag over the last few years. We finally cut the cord with Comcast and are just getting whatever we can with an antenna. Most of what we watch are the old TV shows on MeTV and Cozi, and one of the local religious stations does some real oldies a few nights a week (“Sherlock Holmes,” “Robin Hood,” and the original “Dragnet,” among others). They don’t make ’em like they used to.

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  11. As a girl who grew up on a farm, that Chrysler ad really touched me. And Budweiser always does a great job. Once you’ve seen the Clydesdale pulling that wagon in person, they’re even more wonderful.

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  12. I love advertising as I used to work in it – in London, Soho, I worked for the editing offshoot company of Ridley Scott Associates, and all the wonderful adverts they used to produce. They have to be entertainment to hold people’s interest. Love your theme! Thanks for visiting me, Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

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    1. Absolutely. Stories make life worth living. I think tha accounts for the popularity of creative nonfiction: it’s more than informative, you can relate to it.

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  13. The commercials have become so entertaining that sometimes I don’t know what they advertised at the end, which kinda defeats the purpose. BUT I think Buick has a really good commercial series that is funny and memorable and makes you rethink the coolness factor of a Buick. Top notch stuff there.

    It doesn’t look like a Buick…

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    1. My favorite is the one they’re running now, the wedding where they decorated the minister’s car because they figured that was the Buick. That campaign could revive the brand; typically the target market for Buicks is retirees (I always say they named one of their cars the Century because that’s how old you have to be to appreciate it…).

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  14. There are very few things I detest more than adverts.
    Since the invention of Freeview+ (you probably call it TiVo or something) I haven’t watched a tv commercial. I have always found the fuss made about adverts in the Superbowl commercial breaks to be utterly baffling; something that I would go out of my way to avoid, people are discussing like they’re worthy of Oscars.

    I can’t think of a better way to ruin an absorbing drama than by sticking three minutes of crass, shouting salesman in your face every half an hour.

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    1. Gee, just every half hour? Here, there are four commercial breaks every half hour. A 30-minute show is actually only 22 minutes to fit in all the commercials, and they have this practice of playing the same commercial at the start and end of the break.

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  15. I don’t like TV commercials very often. There are a few that are funny, but most are horrible. We scramble to mute the worst of the worst, like the Sonic Drive-In ones, with the two guys sitting in their car. Ugh! Some of the combined words are pretty inventive. Ones I don’t like are mashing up two people’s names to make another weird sounding name for the couple. … enjoyed reading your post, looking forward to more for A/Z challenge! πŸ™‚

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  16. I loved that IDEA testing commercial one of your commenters posted. Although the ads of my childhood were not advertainment, it made me think of some of them anyway – the Jolly Green Giant, the hand in the washing machine, Mr. Clean, Brylcreem, and the list goes on. I can remember jingles from 55 years ago!!

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    1. My folks used to sing the jingle from Ajax foaming cleanser, years after it went off the air: “Use Ajax! (bum bum) The Foaming Cleanser! (Buh bububu bum bum) Cleans the dirt, right down the drain! (Bububububububububum)” The hand in the washing machine… was that Action or Axion?

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  17. One of the annual features on my blog is the selection of interesting commercials used during each super-bowl. I agree, many of the commercials can be more entertaining than the program they are paying for.
    I think all of us to one point or another has allowed commercials to influence our purchases.
    Singing gnomes huh? You don’t say. LOL I’m quite familiar with them.

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  18. Two seconds into that Paul Harvey clip and one forgets totally it’s an advert…brilliantly moving piece of work. Enjoyed both and the post.
    Best,
    Nilanjana.
    Madly-in-Verse

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    1. That’s what made it so beautiful. He had a syndicated five minute radio show a couple of times a day and would read the news and make comments about it, then on Saturday he would do things like that. It was pulled from one of those Saturday shows. Paul died a few years ago, and for those of us who had grown up with him it was like losing a member of the family.

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  19. Many ads are pretty damm good. I remember there was this aftershave one where all the women were chasing this man. I also recall another advert about a man trying to shave and getting into an awful jam. They kept using the same guy which was funny. The iconic Coca Cola commercial and the one that makes me laugh are the snickers especially the one with Willem Dafoe in the Monroe dress. I also can’t get my mind off of puppy monkey baby but I will not go out and buy the mountain dew

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    1. I must not be watching TV at the right times, becaause I have yet to see the puppy monkey baby commercial. Was the aftershave commercial for Hai Karate, by any chance?

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  20. I love funny ads or ads that play with words. I usually show the Ship My Pants ad from K-Mart in my class. I love Flo from Progressive and Mayhem from All State (?). Oh, and the Orbitz filthy mouth commercials. And, man, Snickers used to have some great ones back in the day. I will say that when I was hungry and had little money, I would usually buy a Snickers bar because they “really satisfy.” So, yeah. Advertainment makes memorable ads, which means I remember them and am more likely to use the products. I love this topic so much.

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    1. Some try a little too hard to be funny, then there are others that end up being funny by accident (the commercials for Liberty Medical with Wilford Brimley talking about his diabeetus come to mind).

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  21. Great post. I’m going through Cheryl’s Homemade Alphabet Soup and was pleased to find you. Well, to some extent we’ve been following Donald trump’s “ferret” as my husband calls it. We’re Australian and I’m afraid the US Election seems like a circus to me. Meanwhile, our pollies decided we now need a national election. Good grief. No wonder I blog rather than watching TV> That said, Masterchef has just started up again and I am a serious addict. I felt rather guilty serving up leftover chicken with mashed potato last night while we were watching the show. Give me a week or two and there will be a revolution in the kitchen.
    xx Rowena

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