Hillary Clinton testifying on the Hill in 2011: “You may not agree with it,” Clinton said, “but you feel like you’re getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news, which … is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners.
The difference is that we now live in a society where advanced technology permeates all of our lives. Nearly everyone now walks around with computers in their pockets that are far more powerful than the computers that filled up rooms just a few decades ago. Nearly the entirety of human knowledge is now just a few clicks or swipes away at any given moment. The vast majority of our recent technological breakthroughs, I think everyone would agree, have been overwhelmingly good for society. And yet, Hollywood still seems sure that this is going to change. That at some point, our meddling with technology will create HAL 9000 or Skynet, and technology will turn on us.
Advertisers will be forced to reconcile their physical outputs in the world in a way that spitting out spots and microsites never faced us with. Or, said differently, our ad crap is made more evident when it’s a real piece of crap sitting on a desk or floor. We’ll have to continue to ask ourselves, “Is this additive value or just some more crap?” And the crap factor will, hopefully, make us work harder to do better for audiences who are increasingly immune to our virtual ad crap, more so when it’s physical ad crap.
We as consumers will likely find ourselves in a world where, in addition to all the images and messages we are bombarded with today, almost every physical object in public places are designed by somebody in order to make us feel, react, think and ultimately consume in a certain way. A likely reaction against this will be that we will not just close our ears with headphones, but also our eyes to shield our fragile and adaptive minds against all these intrusions.
Following the success of the Avengers film, and with Iron Man 3 set to hit theaters next month, the characters who make up Marvels Avengers team are more recognizable than ever. Naturally, the publisher is taking advantage of that fact via merchandise, including the two t-shirts pictured above.
Of course, aside from the cut of the shirts, the second you look at them you instantly know which is meant for boys and which is for girls, and therein lies quite a problem.
These are Marvel’s characters, the foundation of their company. As such, these products represent them, not the manufacturers. When people see this, and are (rightfully) bothered by it, they aren’t going to care what middle man made the shirts. They’re going to instantly direct their ire toward Marvel, as it it will look to them as if Marvel is telling boys they can be heroes, and telling girls that, if they’re lucky, a hero will come save them.