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Sara <sagliaschi.mara@libero.it>

My Life History with Advertising

The topic I will consider in my life history is advertising, and my experiences with it through media and directly. I've chosen this topic because I think it's very interesting to reflect on the influence that advertising could have on my life and on my point of view, since I was a kid.

I have many memories of my childhood connected with advertising, but one in particular has come to mind. I was five years old, and it was an hot afternoon. In that period I spent a lot of time my grandparents, because both my parents worked all day and I didn't want to go to nursery school.

My grandfather was going to buy a new car ( I don't remember which one), and he was talking vivaciously with my grandmother, describing publicity he had noticed on television. What I remember is the great impact that the particular spot made on my grandfather: he was very excited and animated while watching those images.

My direct experiences with advertising began when I started primary school. I remember clearly the afternoons spent watching cartoons on TV, and in the intervals between them, I was so fascinated by the publicity of the typical products that a child uses at school, like pencil case, rucksack, exercise book, and so on. Television made those things such beautiful that I couldn't wait for the time I could start school, to use all of them every day.

Another clear memory connected with advertising that is engraved in my mind is the influence that advertising had on my desires when it was time for Santa Claus to come. Television was not the only channel that put me in touch with advertising (even if TV was the most convincing). I remember that every year my parents bought me some of those magazines for kids, which were full of images of all types of toys, that attracted my attention and fired my imagination.

How simple it is to influence kids_ desires by showing them what they need: fun, magical atmospheres, possibilities to use and develop their imaginations and fulfill their dreams. Recalling my personal experience, I can confirm this: it was like I was able to buy my dreams and my wishes, which I saw on television, magazines , and billboards.

One particular toy that attracted my attention was Barbie. I remember that when I saw it at television, I felt so excited! My friends and me used to play the role of mother with Barbie and another thing that we liked to do was dressing them. How funny it was!

This is a strange experience I had that I want to tell you: one day, when I was about fourteen years old and was attending secondary school, my friends and I had an original idea: on the occasion of a local celebration in our country, we created a small advertising of the sort that appears on billboards, and we wrote some slogans, like these: "If you always think about fun, if you lack it, and if you can't wait for the time you will enjoy yourself, this is your chance! DON'T MISS IT!" and other phrases like this. Thinking back now, well, I don't feel very proud of it... Anyway, I remember this event with a big smile, and I think it's the same for my friends.

In that period, I often thought about studying publicity at the university. It was very exciting to me the prospect of inventing slogans and trying to guess what people would expect to find or see when they would look for something new.

Growing up, my relationship with advertising has changed a lot, and I became more conscious of what I saw, of different types of visual input that the main channels of communication offer every day.

Last year, during a sociology class at the university, I had an interesting experience with advertising. The professor was talking about the influence that the media have on the mind. At a certain point, she started analyzing the ways advertising conveys messages. She showed us many different types of packaging, asking what meaning each of them had. I had to evaluate the publicity of the telephone company, Vodafone (do you remember it? It says: "It's all around you!"). For me it brings to mind modernity, speed of communication, comfort, and availability. It soon got to be a funny game: everybody was suggesting different ideas about the meaning of the images, and in the end the professor also took part in it!

Two months ago, again at the university, I have took an oral examination on advertising. It has been very interesting studying the history, techniques, functions, and features (I recall it with pleasure because the examination went very well!)

My most recent memory took place about two days ago. I was driving to Vercelli to go to the university, when a particular thing attracted my attention. In a parking space by the street, there was a pickup truck promoting a new line of sun glasses. It had a strange shape, and some men were trying to persuade people to put on a pair of glasses. My impression was that the scene was a great surprise (and a little bit bother, to tell truth!) I thought: what kind of advertising we will see in the future, if we go on in this way? It's terrible! Don't you think the same?

Only one thing is for sure: if in my future I manage to be a advertising writer, a commercial artist, or something like that, I'll try to change the concept of advertising and the way it reaches out people. I think it should develop informative aim, becoming more straightforward, not only working on emotions and feelings. Don't you agree with me?

31/05/2006

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