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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Unnecessary greed

The last refugee of the marketing industry has succumbed to the call of the mighty dollar. Novelist Fay Weldon was paid an undisclosed sum of money to prominently place the Italian-owned jewelry store, Bulgari, in her next book. The book is fittingly titled The Bulgari Connection, and its characters shop exclusively at the store. Literary integrity has been bought out by the advertising industry, and this is a shame.
While many people say being paid by a jewelry company is no different than by a publishing house, that idea could not be farther from the truth. The literary corner has always been seen as a place where an author’s imagination is essential to the story. Yet, with this move into an advertising industry, an author’s imagination is second to what company will pay for a place in the book.
In a New York Times article, President of the Authors Guild Letty Cottin Pogrebin said, “It is like billboarding of the novel. I feel as if it erodes reader confidence in the authenticity of the narrative.” When people read books now, they will wonder if a company paid to have its name placed in the novel.
In the Boston Herald, an editorial said, “Now authors use brand names for good reasons – perhaps to show something about a character, perhaps to add believability to a story.” But intentionally accepting money for product placement is something new to the industry. This new wave of advertising will destroy the credibility of books.
Many people see this merge of literature and marketing as the next move making everything able to be sold.
Sporting events and movies have long since succumbed to the marketing world. With everything from the James Bond car to Pepsi on the television show “Law and Order,” the world appears to be turning into a giant commercial. It is logical to see the merger between writing and advertising, but what of the integrity of an author’s creation? It does not seem possible that an author’s work can still be seen as literature when a company pays for product placement.
In a Boston Globe article, BookHampton bookstore manager Chris Avena voiced the concerns of many others when he said, “I do not know how many of us here on staff would be able to get past the concept to find out whether it is a real book or a piece of advertising.” Many others may stop reading because they fear that all they are reading is an advertisement for some company.
In a world that is plagued with commercials and gimmicks to attract customers, the marketing industry has found one of the few places that had yet to be tainted by the greed of money. The literary community and the world of avid book readers should shun this kind of commercialism.
The public cannot escape advertising that is in every facet of their lives. Now, the door into a marketing-hyped world has opened and advertising has entered into the last sanctuary. Literature, that last sanctuary, was the place where the public was able to hide from the commercialism that has consumed the world. Authors need to resist the urge to accept money for product placement and to protest this kind of greed in the literary world.

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