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Season 3 Episode 7: "Breaking the Contract"

Monday, 16 February 2009 11:30 am and Saturday 21 February 2009 4:30 pm
(Originally aired October 19, 2006)

When Advertisers take our time and attention, shouldn't they give something back? Terry O'Reilly thinks so. This week Terry examines the unwritten "contract" forged between Advertisers and audiences more than 80 years ago. He'll tell the story of ad giant Albert Lasker, who, in the 1920's, pioneered the idea of sponsor-driven broadcasts. You'll discover why an understanding of the contract makes you a better consumer, and why today's advertisers violate the contract at their peril.

Listen to this episode as streaming audio (runs 27:30)


Previous Comments (8)

Nice to hear that someone else gets this. My take on this relates to 'follow the money'. Advertisements on TV, radio, magazines and newspapers generate revenue to cover the cost of production and distribution. If you don't want the ad, don't consume the content.

On the other hand, where does the money go for billboards? Does it pay for roads? Does it subsidize fuel? Is it used to offset greenhouse gas emissions? No! The money generated from billboards in no way benefits those who are exposed to the measure.

Great show . . .

Tim, February 16, 2009 11:49 AM

please bring the lady back, the girl voice at the end, I meant. Did the recession hit Age of Persuasion too? Doesn't sound right without her.

nam le, February 16, 2009 12:03 PM

Terry, I'll admit to be an anti-advertising (direct marketing, billboards, packaging) environmentalist but also admit I must applaud you on this show... and many of your shows that I count as my highest 'guilty pleasure'. Your pieces are well thought out, well produced yet balance/keep neutral opinions for both the pros and cons of advertising


Che Kozar, February 16, 2009 1:12 PM

heard my first 'age of persuasion' today and was impressed. Now that I have looked at all of the episodes available on the website I can see I have a lot of listening to do! A couple of things you said reminded me of a general business class I took in 1972 - grade 12. We were debating advertising, marketing and 'persuasion' when a kid (male) stuck up his hand and said.. I can't get it out of my head, its been playing in my head for days, I'm brainwashed... The prof asked what he was talking about.. The Kotex jingle of course he replied and coursed out a few words from it. When the laughter subsided, he coursed into a half baked renditon and it immediately started playing in just about every mind in the class. And, poor kid, he blurted out 'how can this happen I don't even use them!' The prof replied -- 'The ad men in heaven are rubbing their hands with glee right now - they have accomplished their highest mission, to make a man sing the jingle of a product he will never use'.
Of course its happened time and time again, I once had the campbells soup ad playing in my head for a solid week, until I went to a Rolling Stones concert in Toronto, and that fixed me up. Or STARTed me up, as in the case of Windows 95 and the Rolling Stones jingle.
Great program (Persuasion that is not Windows)

TONY KLANCAR, February 16, 2009 7:53 PM

I read an anecdote about one of the Scottish distilleries which demonstrates how "breaking the contract" can have starkly practical consequences. The company paid farmers an annual fee to erect a sign advertising their whisky. Eventually they decided to stop the stipend. Sometime after, a company employee drove past a field where one of the signs was. He couldn't see it: it was obscured by a manure pile. The company reinstated the policy.

Russ Stotyn, February 20, 2009 3:20 AM

In regards to the hard sell of many of todays I think at least one cafe has taken a step back and told us something without ramming its product down our throats. (Hockey and kids)

Fred Johnston, February 24, 2009 11:56 AM

We want this show to be available for podcast!!!!
Hoping another comment will help


dylan Sadlier-Brown, March 4, 2009 11:32 AM

I, perhaps like Che, find myself increasingly leaning hard against consumerism in all its forms. At least those I can afford to rail against- those I deem expendable in my life. Yet, I must compliment you on the Age of Persuasion- it's great programming and mind expanding to boot! And Terry O'Reilly does acknowledge, it sometimes seems, the environmental and social concerns that occasionally trouble me.

I took a marketing course in the '70's in high school and to this day I credit it with being able to see past a lot of hype and nonsense- from advertisers as well as various people I meet. This show is an outgrowth of that educational process for me.

Derek Madge, March 10, 2009 2:33 PM
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