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Advertising in the age of terrorism

on August 8, 2005 by Martina Comments

On The Guardian, Tess Alps writes an excellent article on advertising in the age of terrorism. Commercial sense and sensibility investigates the relationship among advertising and tragic news, looking at the reaction in the UK media industry following the July attacks, but also taking a wider and “theoretical” perspective. Among the points touched in the article, the author wonders whether different media have different impact on audience perception of an ad placed closed to a tragic news.

One of those clich├ęd truths is that TV is a more emotional medium and print a more rational, analytical one. This might suggest the presence of a print ad on the same page as a report of terrorist attack is going to cause less offence than a TV or radio break. I think that is so, but not just because print is usually less emotional. A still image can sometimes be even more powerful than moving film. Various papers have covered the recent discovery of photographs from Hiroshima, yet the appearance of ads on opposite pages has neither diminished the editorial nor damaged the commercial message – something to do with the reader’s voluntary selection of what to look at, I guess.

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