Yesterday I finished the "Hunger Games" series by Suzanne Collins. I myself had no idea until recently, but apparently these books have been around since 2008 and have received very positive reviews. The series even stayed in USA Today's best sellers list for 135 weeks in a row. Yet I had never heard of them. The books never came up in conversation with friends, I never saw any pop up ads for them online and the dumb-dumb box never asked me to run to my library and buy the paperbacks. If it wasn't for the fact that a movie was made there's a very good chance I may have never known these books existed which is a little sad. However, thanks to some Hollywood executive who I'm sure doesn't care about the money and only cares about the work, the series was adapted into film.
As if by magic the entire world became aware of the existence of these novels overnight. The universe has made sure I can't go one day without hearing about how great they are. According to the intertubes, "The Hunger Games" film set the record for the third best opening weekend box office sales of any movie in the U.S. with a bling-blinging $152.5 million. I have no doubt that a large chunk of people went to see it because they where fans of the written work, but the reality is that the majority of movie goers where there because of the marketing campaign behind it. The media made it trendy!
Now don't get me wrong, I think it's fantastic that there's some much exposure to what I consider a pretty good work of fiction, but it makes me a little sad that the reason it's receiving so much attention is not because of the merit it deserves but because someone decided that they could make money off of it. And this has always been an issue for me because I don't like people telling me what to do.
The position I'm taking is a difficult one to defend because when this stuff happens pretty much everyone wins. The author receives both fame and fortune, the work receives exposure, fans get to see the adaptations of something they cherish, everyone makes money, everyone gets what they want, everyone is freaking happy... except me. Because I found out about "The Hunger Games" from media specifically designed to MAKE me like it, then I have a creeping doubt in the back of my head as to whether I truly enjoyed the work or if my feelings where tainted by the greedy hands of the advertising industry.
It sounds pretty paranoid to think that some TV ads have enough power to sway the way we feel about things. If you are anything like me (for your sake I hope you are not, but I just needed a good transition), you could probably argue that you have never run out of your home to buy something just because you saw a commercial for it, and although that's probably true, I wouldn't start patting yourself on the back just yet. The advertising industry makes between 300 to 680 BILLION Dollars a year. Go ahead, take some time to wrap your head around that number and the implications behind it. This money is not only spent on filming and printing advertisement, a good chunk goes to research to find the most efficient way to have an effect on the public. There's actually mad scientists figuring out ways to trick you into getting crap you don't need and they are pretty good at it. The companies with the highest marketing budgets tend to make the most profit because advertisement works. One commercial may not get an immediate reaction from you, but constant subliminal bombardment, brand recognition and psychological manipulation will definitely do the trick and that always makes me wonder.
I understand that in the way I see the world is a combination of nature and nurture so it can be argued that my opinions aren't truly my own, but they do belong to me, and so I have decided to make a stand against the huge monster of advertisement.
Thank you for letting me know that things exist oh puppet-masters of marketing, but I will stand my ground and decide WHEN, HOW, WHERE and WHY I will enjoy something. I will give things merit according to my own point system and not the ratings you manipulate because when we let you "guide" our tastes we end up with crap like Fifty Shades of Justin Bieber at Twilight featuring Kanye West and this cannot be tolerated anymore.