Schmios "Honor" Advertiser's Dubious Achievements

Budweiser received a hearty toast earlier this week when it was awarded the "This Bud's For You, This Kid's For Us - Hook 'Em Early So They're Yours For Life" award at the 2nd annual "Schmios" ceremony for using cartoon characters (frogs not camels) to target kids early. "Kids for Sale" was the theme of the event, touted as the un-celebration of the ad industry's achievements. Bianca Jagger, Neil Postman and Dick Gregory led an expert line-up of media critics, scholars and activists, who celebrated the "children" theme in order to, "dispute the obscene assumption, held so firmly by advertisers, that children are merely markets, customers to fuel the economy," explained Master of Ceremonies Neil Postman, author of Amusing Ourselves to Death. The event, hosted May 12 in New York City -- the same week as the ad industry's self-congratulatory CLIO Awards -- drew attention to the power and influence wielded by the $150 billion industry of persuasion. According to Postman, "By age 20, average American youngsters have already seen 650,000 TV commercials so that their conception of what is good and true and beautiful is profoundly influenced by those people who will give themselves CLIO awards later this week."Bianca Jagger made the star appearance, presenting "The Jonesboro Award" for the most effective contribution to our "culture of violence" to The National Rifle Association for its targeted marketing campaign to make guns acceptable to kids. Media critic Mark Crispin Miller presented the "I want my EmpTV" award for coolest teenage despair to the Keanu Reeves spot suggesting there is no meaning to life, and Sut Jhally awarded the "Hallmark, We Invent Your Dreams" honor to DeBeers for its campaign to ritualize the giving of diamond rings in every ceremony -- not just marriage. Sponsors included: California Newsreel, Center for Analysis of Commercialism and Education, Zillions magazine of Consumers Union, Hunter College's Dept. of Film and Media Studies, Institute for Alternative Journalism, Media Education Foundation, New Mexico Media Literacy Project, and NYU's Dept. of Culture and Communications.SCHMIO PRESENTERS, AWARDS AND WINNERSNEIL POSTMAN, Master of CeremoniesAWARD: "There Goes The Neighborhood Award" for stonewalling, bullying, double-dealing and otherwise resisting efforts to clean up the block.WINNER: Clear Channel Communications Outdoor Systems, Lamar and Other Billlboard Companies for fighting local ordinances ordering the removal of beer, alcohol and cigarette billboards. PRESENTER: Dick GregoryAWARD: "The Jonesboro Award" for the most effective contribution to our culture of violence.WINNER: The National Rifle Association for their targeted marketing campaign to make guns acceptable to kids. PRESENTER: Bianca Jagger AWARD: "A Marketing Opportunity Is A Terrible Thing to Waste Award" for turning schools into sales promotions.WINNER: Coca-Cola & Greenbrier High School, Greenbrier, GA for "Coke in Education Day." Greenbrier High School suspended Mike Cameron, a student, for wearing a Pepsi T-shirt to school that day.PRESENTER: Alex Molnar AWARD: "The Zillion's Magazine 'Zap' Award" from Consumers Union for toys that fall short (way short) of their advertised promise. WINNER: Merwees by CAP Toys with first runner-up: Spiderman Web Blaster (by CAP Toys) and second runner up: Casey Cartwheel (also CAP Toys).PRESENTER: Karen McNulty AWARD: "This Bud's For You, This Kid's For Us -- Hook -Em Early So They're Yours For Life Award."WINNER: Budweiser for following in the Joe Camel tradition of using cartoon characters to recruit future customers - kids. PRESENTER: Jean Kilbourne AWARD: "I Want My EmpTV Award" for coolest vision of teenage despair.WINNER: MTV for its Keanu Reaves spot suggesting that there is nomeaning to life. PRESENTER: Mark Crispin Miller AWARD: "Oh, What A Tangled Web You Weave Award" for the web site that most craftily ensnares children.WINNER: POPSICLE.COM and SMARTGIRL.COM for sneakily capturing demographic information from children.PRESENTER: Kathryn Montgomery AWARD: "The Possessions Are Everything Award"WINNER: Sears for their Maia Campbell (star of UPN's "The House") "Gotta Have the Dream" scholarship contest/ad campaign in Seventeen Magazine suggesting that shopping is the most important thing in life. PRESENTER: Christina DilisioOTHER AWARDSAWARD: "Our Bodies/Your Sales Award" for a post-feminist return to T&A.WINNER: Candies (its ad featuring Jenny McCarthy) for honoring the bimbo within.PRESENTER: Barbara Lippert AWARD: "The Hallmark 'We Invent Your Dreams' Award" for turning a marketing strategy into a tradition.WINNER: DeBeers for its campaign to ritualize the giving of diamondrings in every ceremony - not just marriage.PRESENTER: Sut Jhally AWARD: "Sex, Lies, and Ratings Award" for the news organizations most forsaking truth in pursuit of ad revenue.WINNER: So-Called Reputable Media. Ewen linked the recent presidential sex scandal with the American advertising establishment.PRESENTER: Stuart EwenAWARD: "Have Your Coke And Drink It Too Award" for the most disingenuous use of a celebrity.WINNER: Sprite for "The Image is Nothing /Obey Your Thirst" Campaign. PRESENTER: Alyssa Katz


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