Tuesday, February 22, 2005

KMBC Channel 9 News-vertisements

Newsflash: If you're a young, enterprising black male, then contact KMBC-TV immediately! This most likely qualifies you for an entire news segment on their highly-rated, nightly newscast!

Seriously.....Is it just me, or is the definition of news at local television stations becoming more and more suspicious?

KMBC-TV aired quite possibly the most
peculiar segment ever on their Monday, Feb. 21st 10pm newscast. They devoted a nice chunk of time to a new local business using cars and a graphic design technique to advertise business logos and other persuasive messages on everything from low riders to SUV's. Check out
KMBC's homepage to see how this 'wrapping' technique comes out looking.

The segment starts out innocently enough: Jim Ellsworth of Shawnee, KS used this graphic design technique of 'wrapping' a 1962 Chevy Bel Air with images that celebrated black history month (i.e. Malcolm X, Rosa Park, etc.). The kind gesture fades as the piece moves along, and we find out that Ellsworth's company is 'interested' in wrapping other vehicles (one possibility is a message in support of the troops overseas). Hmmm. You feed the news beast a little 'goodwill' bit and then you've got them in the palm of your hand.

The piece quickly transitions from cutesy, tootsey community feature on a local guy celebrating a worthy cause into a guy advertising his start-up business. Ellsworth then spouts off some nonsense implying that segregation is alive and well in the graphic art industry.

"This is a field that should not be segregated. Anyone can create and use this sort of media to broadcast your message," Ellsworth said.

He throws this in out of the blue, at which point the reporter's taped voiceover tries to wrap the segment up, but not before giving Ellsworth's ‘segregated’ business another huge plug (phone number, plus web site).

The JMI signs web site lists Ellsworth as the company's creative director and co-founder. He certainly has a creative way of turning celebrations of Black History Month into: “I’ll continue to be oppressed in this industry until you wrap you car up with these hokey-looking jpegs!”

I contacted Mr. Ellsworth Thursday to see what he implied by ‘segregation’ in his industry, as well as how exactly KMBC went about selecting his business for such an extensive news feature in the middle of their evening telecast. He did not elaborate, but did say it was a broad statement about minority exclusion from the graphic design industry.

*I've just been alerted to a blurb on the company that the LJ World ran on Feb. 5th (two and half weeks prior to the KCTV story). As you can tell, it's much more of just a photo and caption, rather than a full throttle business promotion.


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