In Korea in the middle of 2020, the problem of hidden advertisements displayed by several YouTubers became a hot potato. In response to the controversy over such advertisements, a bill was issued stating that "If you receive a recommendation or service from a business operator, you must make this known. Any violation of this will result in a fine of 10 million won being imposed.” Are hidden advertisements really only a problem on YouTube? As the number of people who access YouTube is increasing, the issue of hidden advertisements on YouTube has become central. But, in fact, hidden advertisements have already been around for a long time. In newspapers, established as major media decades ago, hidden advertisements have existed in the form of article-type advertisements, and in broadcasts, they have existed in the form of linked organization of advertisements.
First, let's look at article-type advertisements in newspapers. Article-type advertising refers to the posting of advertisements in the form of articles written by reporters rather than placing advertisements in a separate advertisement section of a newspaper. Since article-type advertisements are indistinguishable from general articles, it is difficult for readers to tell whether they are reading articles or advertisements. For example, what may look like an article written to tell readers about a medical issue may, on closer inspection, actually be advertising a drug or a hospital. Article-type advertisements are completely article-like on the surface because they have a title and display the name of the reporter like general articles.
Second, there is a link between broadcasts. Linked organization refers to scheduling home shopping channels to sell products immediately following product placement in a program or at the same time as appearing in a program. Through sponsorship, people, places, and goods are provided for broadcast programs, and production costs go down, but the only way consumers can be aware of this is through simple notifications. Companies and advertisers benefit from sponsorship, and consumers view advertisements unconsciously. Companies and advertisers directly increase product sales by asking home shopping programs to sell sponsored products after the sponsored program has finished. For example, when an advertiser sponsors a product for a health-related program, and the program mentions the effect of the product, home shopping programs subsequently offer the product for sale. This leads consumers to think, 'I am lucky to have the opportunity to buy the quality product that I just saw!' In fact, this is simply being fooled by the advertiser's detailed and clear plan.
Consequently, the information we encounter in media is likely to have been planned with a clear purpose. So we must always consider whether the information we encounter is reliable or rather an advertisement produced for financial gain. When we watch videos on YouTube, programs on TV, or read blog posts, and even when we watch the news and read news articles, we should not take what we see as it is. It is just an old saying that seeing is believing. We always have to think about where the sources of information are from and whether we can trust them. In addition, education is necessary. Media education on finding, accepting, and digesting information in a world called the “media flood” should be offered to everyone in our society.
by You Young Um email@example.com
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