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Are you a walking billboard for companies?

By JACK GODBEY

Contributing Columnist

It’s impossible in this day and time to go anywhere, or do anything, without being subjected to advertising. Whether you realize it or not, you are faced with advertising everywhere you go. I see it when I watch TV, when I read a magazine and even when I utilize social media. If you go for a drive in your car, they will still get you with the huge billboards on every corner advertising every personal injury attorney in the area, and how they can get you more money than the next guy. I was listening to the radio the other day in my car, and I heard the DJ brag that the radio station played 30 minutes of music. I thought to myself, what about the other 30 minutes? Isn’t that the purpose of the station, to play music?

I understand the purpose of advertising. This is how the bills are paid. Without the business buying advertising time, and trying to sell us something, the radio station would not exist. What really gets my blood pressure up though, is when I pay for a service such as a subscription to a movie channel, and then have to watch commercials anyway. It’s not that I dislike commercials; it’s that the majority of them have very little creativity and seems like very little effort went into them. There are some companies out there though that put more thought into it. I mean, who can forget Jake from State Farm, for goodness sakes.

Sometimes, such as with the Super Bowl, the commercials are the main attraction and people tune in specifically to see them. That is the one time that the advertisers bring their A-game. The rest of the year, we are subjected to boring commercials that show how much weight I can lose if I swallow this pill, or that pill. It has to be true, because a celebrity says so. However, what I never understood is how people will make themselves walking billboards for companies. Any trip to the grocery store will show people everywhere wearing T-shirts with the names of different companies plastered on the front. Everything from brands of shoes and jean companies, to golf clubs. You pay for the shirt, then walk around, and provide free advertising for the company. I see the same issue many times on automobiles. Every car dealer I have ever seen will put a sticker on the back of the car with their name on it, so as you drive around you are advertising for them, for free. Another thing that the car dealers utilize is to place a license plate frame on the vehicle with their name on it. I understand why the car dealer would do this. It’s good business sense. However, what I don’t understand is why people leave them on their vehicle after they purchase it. Unless the car dealer wants to knock off a few grand on the price of the vehicle to pay for the advertising, then my license plate frame is not for rent and it will be removed as soon as I get it home. I am not immune to the free advertising scam myself. An inventory of my own closet showed that almost every T-shirt I own is printed with some sort of motorcycle, or vehicle brand. Let’s face it; we all wear something with a brand name on it sometimes. The important thing is to make sure that the beliefs of the company actually reflect our own morals and beliefs. Of course, basketball shirts are immune. This is Kentucky you know.

Jack Godbey is a resident of Danville and is a published author and historian. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Physical Science.