Diminishing Returns

I’m taking a public relations theory class which is an online format. Online classes can be as lively as face-to-face classes, or they can be nearly dead, with just the minimum number of posts to satisfy the professor’s class requirements. This class takes the form of the second.

It’s not that the subject matter is inherently boring; perhaps discussing theory in an introductory class is just too difficult to keep any kind of discussion going. Some students have tried, but oddly enough, the online Communications Club is also, well… noncommunicative. I guess people are busy doing communications rather than talking about the subject.

One item I brought up for discussion in the online classroom was whether or not anyone thought that there is a point of diminishing returns on advertising. That is, showing the same commercial(s) over and over and over… at what point do people simply tune out the message? And at some point further down the road, do they become antagonistic to the commercials? I’m specifically thinking about candidate commercials because I’m really sick of seeing them every commercial break. I have managed not to destroy my television, but it’s not for the want of handy bricks — I don’t want to have to clean up the mess, and the noise would scare my birds, who would then also make a mess. You see my dilemma.

The public relations textbook that my class is using refers to people as the “obstinate audience,” meaning those people who don’t immediately accept whatever message that is sent their way by public relations practitioners. “How dare you have your own opinion!” is what they are saying. But why shouldn’t people should still think for themselves?

In the spirit of the voting season, I present a poll to all you television watchers. And for those of you who like to think for yourselves, there is a write-in blank in the poll where you can enter your very own unique answer. Enjoy, but be polite!


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