Violent Television/Internet Commercials: Behavioral Effects on the Minds/Emotions of American Youth

I was recently pondering the effect that television and Internet commercials have on the day-to-day behavior of human beings, especially of those millions of impressionable adolescent and preadolescent American boys and girls, primarily between 5 and 19 years of age. Much like computer video games, which are designed to get the person, or persons, playing the games (80 percent of Americans who regularly play video games are between the ages of five and nineteen) cognitively and emotionally detached from their real environmental surroundings and immersed into the games’ virtual (fantasy) environments, commercials are usually three-to-five minutes in length and carefully designed by television, computer, advertising, and social psychology experts to get the television viewers immersed, for those few important minutes, in persuasive product scenarios. These scenarios are meticulously designed to persuasively lead the human beings watching them to remember why it is, both, needful and important to purchase the advertised products. The combination of computer graphics and animation with television electronics has made the creation of commercials for industrial domestic products and government propaganda almost like the production of very short movies. Unlike video games, however, television and Internet commercials are not a matter of personal choice. You have to be very deliberately plugged-in to play computer video games according to personal decision, but commercials are interspaced between segments of television programs, documentaries, or television movies with intentional purpose. Unless people want to avoid commercials by turning-off their televisions or PC, or switching momentarily to other channels or websites not, at that particular time, in commercial mode, they are forced to watch, and listen to, the commercials. Believe it or not, approximately 99 percent of all Americans who subscribe to, and watch, cable television and Internet programs watch the commercials along with the scheduled shows that they are viewing. This is especially true for children, especially those youngsters 5-to-13 years of age.

In connection with my foregoing surmise of broadcasted network television commercials, I happened to watch, a while back, a particular snack food commercial on cable television that, to me, carried with it some grave social implications; and it was, as I saw it, but an example of many such commercials currently conveying the same negative implications. It was an approximately one-minute “Cheetos” commercial that involved computer animation, computer graphics, and precise acting choreography. It had suspenseful action music and an action scenario that showed a young boy, six-or-seven years of age dressed-up like a sniper, his older sister, and a male adult, sneaking up behind the boy’s mother, who was busily exercising, with a blow-gun through with which he hit her on her backside with a “Cheeto,” causing her alarm. In all of my formative years, from 1952 until 1969, growing-up in East Texas, I don’t ever recall seeing any type of television food commercial showing a child sneaking upon a mother, or any adult, and shooting her with a blow-gun. That’s simply because such television commercials were socially unacceptable at that time in history. That was when the main television station in my part of the country was KLTV, broadcasting from Tyler, Texas, which was plugged into the NBC Network. It was the time of the Chet Huntley and David Brinkley news reporting, “Bonanza,” and the original “Fugitive,” with David Janssen, and a totally different collective national mindset about morals and electronic advertising. My dad had proudly erected a 60 foot television antenna that drew in channels from Dallas, Shreveport, Fort Worth, and other television stations within a 100 mile radius. Television programming, and commercial production, at that time during the 20th Century, were geared to idealism and morality, which declared that there were definite and clearly delineated rights and wrongs to all social issues, not the pragmatism that flippantly proclaimed that the end results of endeavors, or investments, justified the means used to achieve them.

When I first saw this socially suggestive commercial, I recalled the spit-wads, and other types of projectiles, strategically discharged from straws by prankish public school students, against other students, in classrooms behind the backs of teachers. I personally saw this happen several times while busily engaged in my school work during elementary and junior high school, but never did I do it. I was taught better by may parents, and, if caught by teachers in such an act, harsh penalties were regularly imposed by, both, the classroom teacher and the school principal, and I was sure to receive stern additional punishment from my parents if punishment was imposed on me at school. As an aside, at that time in history, unlike today, parents totally supported the discipline administered by classroom teachers, who were empowered to do so. On one occasion, a student, a boy with a severe attitude problem, went from spit-wads to straight-pins as projectiles, and a customized blowing straw, that allowed the pin to be propelled for quite a distance across a room. The youngster had thought that, since a spit-wad hadn’t hurt the class geek, the quiet guy who never spoke in class and had the best grades, and upgrade in weaponry wouldn’t matter. So during a test, the perpetrator thought he would send a pin into the ear of the smart kid, but his aim was off and the metal missile went into the child’s eye, permanently blinding him. The child’s parents were devastated, but no city, county, state, or federal representatives became involved with the issue, and no laws were passed to ban straws and spit-wads from schools. Instead, it remained a school matter, and the boy offender was punished severely for his action and made to feel like a worm for what he had done. The parents of the blinded boy didn’t sue the parents of the offending child, but, instead, were allowed to privately talk to the boy. When they did, he, like the normal human being he was, realized the seriousness of what he had done and sincerely apologized to the parents and their son. whom he had hurt. The boy’s father, not a court of law, imposed a sentence of restitution on his son to work for the blinded boy’s father for two hours every day after school, and for six hours on Saturdays. This sentence of work lasted for two years. Now, by today’s standards, you might think that the offending boy was, himself, offended by the work he was forced to do in penance. Nonetheless, the blinded boy’s father owned his own automotive repair service and was a good person, not a vindictive taskmaster; and during the two years he became like a second father to the offending boy and taught him how to work on cars and trucks. Eventually the boy began working for the man after he graduated from high school, and, while the father’s injured son eventually became a college professor, the repentant offender eventually owned and operated his own repair garage. What’s that you say? Not all such scenarios turn out like poetic fiction? When you radically change the environment and the standards of morality such scenarios aren’t allowed to turn out positively.

When you consider the awful changes, and the sad results of those changes, which have occurred in the American family, and in American society as a whole, since around 1970, the disappearance of moral idealism and the propounding of pragmatic immorality, with its sore lack of definition as to what is right and wrong, is no doubt the reason for such a blatant distinction between those segments of the 20th Century. What’s really amazing about the American boys and girls who grew to adulthood prior to 1970 was the effect of the twelve-year Vietnam War on those boys and girls who later served as GIs in Vietnam. These were the American children exposed to the television and media morality of the 1950s and 60s. The lack of violence shown by returning Vietnam veterans, between 1964 and 1987, was vastly different from the displays of mass violence demonstrated by military veterans, and American citizens in general, who were born after 1980. The general social behavior of children produced by American parents, between 20 and 30 years of age, after 1985 was greatly marred with dysfunction in the public schools. This is a matter of public record, and the educational success curve began to plunge from its extraordinarily high marks from 1950 through 1969, and with it came behavioral degradation in the public school classroom. As revealed by reliable and replicable university studies, preadolescents in the typical American homes were given very few moral ideals by parents to which they could developmentally aspire. These young men and women suddenly became adolescents (teenagers) with a sore lack of gender and psycho-sexual balance, and moral direction, as to what was right and wrong. The type of public school children that have, since 1994, been produced by this same type of diffident and un-nurturing parents have produced an even lower, and more dismal, educational curve with 70 percent more incidents of social deviance. With all of this behavioral deviance being perpetrated by preadolescents and adolescents, and systematically recorded, in the public school classrooms (and on the streets of the typical cities with populations exceeding 100,000) why would American television networks allow the type of aggressively violent commercials, as I have previously explicated, and the equally violent entertainment programming, to be aired before the eyes of these morally ungrounded boys and girls, just to increase the number of Americans watching those programs? Perhaps there is a school of pragmatic social psychology that persists in proclaiming that this aberrance is merely a natural swing of the social pendulum. I, nonetheless, heartily disagree that a deliberate effort to effect social disorder and deviance, or the application of gross social negligence, is hardly a natural swing of the pendulum.

What disturbs me most about the “Cheetos” television commercial is the voice of the animated tiger, seen by the television views emanating from the tiger, but apparently invisible to the eyes of the actors in the commercial (the tiger is sitting with the adult, the sister, and the boy sniper hidden from the mother behind a couch). The voice of the tiger is directing the actions of the young boy, just as many young people, under the influence of SSRIs (prescribed psychotropic drugs for psycho-physiological behavior modification) claim to hear voices telling them to do socially inappropriate things. Relationships between mothers and children have become quite different since 1970 due to the great amount of time mothers spend away from the home in professional work endeavors. In most cases, where mothers and fathers work 40-or-more hours per week and the preadolescent children in the home spend more time during the week in day-care, or at public school, than with their parents, the children develop quite a resentment against their natural, but delinquent, caregivers. As such, the idea placed in a child’s mind, while repeatedly watching the Cheetos commercial during a television show, might trigger an emotional desire in the prepubescent child to use a blowgun with, perhaps, something much sharper and injurious than a “Cheeto” to make mom pay for her delinquency. The voice of the tiger is heard to say, “You’ve been preparing and waiting for this moment,” just before the preadolescent boy hits his mother on her backside with the “Cheeto.”

For what it’s worth, I believe that all such commercials should be eliminated from network television, not by imposed state and federal laws and legislations, but by the willingness of the CEOs and boards of directors, of the corporations and businesses seeking to sell their products via electronic advertising, to change their ways and return to the age of idealism and the conscious reality that there is a clearly delineated right and wrong associated with every social issue. Morality cannot be legislated and forced upon a people. It must be accepted as natural law in the hearts and minds of that people, just like an acceptance of Christianity and the holy laws and commandments set down through the advent of Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for the sins of the world. A return to natural law and its wonderful moral consequences in America would, indeed, be a grand thing to behold.

Risk Management in Private Commercial Bank

Risk concerns the expected value of one or more results of one or more future events. Technically, the value of those results may be positive or negative. However, general usage tends focus only on potential harm that may arise from a future event, which may accrue either from incurring a cost (downside risk) or failing to attain any benefit (upside risk). Risk management can be considered the identification, assessment, prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximize the realization of opportunities.

Asset Liability Management: The Asset Liability Management is integral part of Bank Management. This risk is related to the balance sheet gaps, interest rate gaps that can lead to under performance. To manage this risk Bank has a committee name ALCO (Asset Liability Committee) which usually meet at least once a month to analysis, review and formulate strategy to manage the balance sheet. Main functions of this committee are identifying the balance sheet management issues like balance sheet gap, interest rate gap profile, reviewing deposit-pricing strategy and liquidity contingency plan.

Foreign Exchange Risk: Today’s financial institutions engage in activities starting from import, export and remittance to complex derivatives involving basic foreign exchange and money market to complex structured products. All these require high degree of expertise that is difficult to achieve in the transaction originating departments and as such the expertise is housed in a separate department. this task is done by Treasury Department. Treasury department watches over the flow of foreign exchange, it takes long and short position of foreign currency to mitigate the risk of depreciation of the hold currencies.

Internal Control and Compliance Risk: Internal control is the process, affected by a company’s board of directors, management and other personnel, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives in the effectiveness and of operations, the reliability of financial reporting and compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and internal policies. In every bank the responsibilities of internal control are to check the efficiency and effectiveness of activities, reliability, completeness and timeliness of financial and management information etc.

Money Laundering Risk: Though money laundering risk is relatively a old phenomenon, it got the organized look after the enactment of Money Laundering. This cause some activities as legal and if any bank is found to be involved in any kind of money laundering, the concerned official and the bank will be punished. As, money laundering is very common, it poses a great risk for the banks. To mitigate this risk, bank employed a strong KYC (Know Your Customer) policy, strong account monitoring policy etc.

Credit Risk: This is the most important risk of all as it involves the key asset quality of any bank. Credit Risk is defined as the risk of losses associated with the possibility that borrower will fail to meet its obligations; in other words it is the risk that the borrower won’t repay what is owed. Many banks have failed in the past because of poor management of credit risk. To understand credit risk, it is important to know about the credit facilities.

Commercial Real Estate, A Career – How Do You Get Into It?

1. WHAT IS IT AND HOW DO YOU GET INTO IT?

Several years ago, I was attending a Society of Industrial Realtors Annual Spring Conference in Maui. My wife had accompanied me on the trip so that we could also do a lot of sightseeing. Colliers International, a 241 office worldwide firm, sponsored its own company cocktail party the night before the Conference officially began and my wife and I attended the party.

A short while into introductions, a fellow came in from the golf course and he sat down at our table. Andrew Friedlander introduced himself an we discussed our home in Philadelphia, his original home in Brooklyn and his new home in Honolulu. As to how he ended up in Hawaii, Andrew told us that on R&R during his tours in the Army in Vietnam, he decided to take a break in Hawaii after he was finished his last duty tour. He rented an apartment, waited tables, washed cars, etc. to have some extra cash. He said that he paid his apartment rent to an older man who came around once a month and he finally asked the man whether that was his business. Andrew said that he never thought about property management as a business, but the more he spoke to the man the more that he realized how diverse a business commercial real estate could be, particularly in Hawaii. The rental agent began to show Andrew the basics of the business and Andrew decided not to return to Brooklyn.

Forty years later, Andrew is the manager of approximately six Colliers International offices in Hawaii with over 40 brokers and salespeople as his responsibility. Aside from selling and leasing commercial real estate and traditional brokerage transactions through the islands, Andrew’s team is involved in all of the other aspects of commercial and industrial real estate.

As one concierge person told my wife and I while we were touring there, “Yes, it is a great place, now where would you ever think of moving to once you are here.”

In the past year, a young Army Captain and friend called me from Hawaii. He and his wife were taking in some R&R after his last duty tour and he called to ask me for some advice on commercial real estate firms. I gave him Andrews phone number after I checked with Andrew on his availability. Andrew treated my friend to lunch and introduced him to Colliers’ business in the islands. As it turned out, my friend and his wife decided later to relocate to Florida to be closer to their parents. Our Colliers office in Ft. Lauderdale was anxious to interview him and did so. He found a better fit for a concentration in office brokerage with another firm, but I think that it is clear that opportunities do exist with major firms for someone who has an interest, who can demonstrate that they are self motivated and whose comportment (manners, speech, personal grooming, business attire) are all positive. A long time friend told me one night after we and our wives checked in, very late, at a hotel owned by a well known hotel group, “That desk clerk is the person representing this hotel company to its customers and I know the CEO. That clerk’s slight rudeness toward us does not at all represent what their CEO wants his company to be known for in their business. He will need to learn that if he is going to be more than the late night clerk.”

I mention this because a company such as Colliers or any of its competitors must ensure that a salesperson or broker first meeting a potential customer properly represents the company’s image. So much money is spent defining that image to the business community that each person, including all staff, must reflect that effort. Otherwise, a potential customer will choose to hire a competitor whose act is together. My understanding is that customer relation training at Wal-Mart is quite strong for all personnel. I would think that any major restaurant chain has in place a thorough program for staff training and it may pay to observe whether if the customer is not always right at an establishment how the staff person handles a customer who is being a bit particular.

2. Entry

I use Andrew’s story as an example of the opportunity that commercial real estate offers. A senior business mentor and good friend of mine told me in Florida in 1971, just at the beginning of that recession, that commercial real estate offered an opportunity to enter a business without having my own capital to invest other than my time and energy, and, with no limit on the size of transactions that could be put together. We discussed this in relation to my going back to law school. His opinion was that it was almost a “sky is the limit” approach, but with some basic sense to it. I had done a few financial reports on potential deals offered to him. I also handed over that year, at my mentor’s instruction, a $300k commission check to a broker who he had employed to buy a property that he had settled on the year prior to that. The next year, at the same time, I handed over the same check to that broker as the second half of that commission to that broker. Please realize that in 1972 that commission amount in the onset of that recession was a significant amount of money for any transaction.

Each state has its own regulations for licensure. Florida required a person to take a sales licensing course, pass that, then work in a licensed real estate broker’s office for a minimum of two years before being eligible to take a state broker’s exam. The sales course is offered by numerous private firms and colleges, evening courses in particular. The cost of the course is minimal. The basic skills for reading, writing and math portions are not difficult. Depending upon your educational qualifications, commercial real estate firms may often offer to provide the course. Smaller, more generalized, brokerage firms may also do the same in order to gain a salesperson.

There typically is a recognized “culture” or business reputation known for a real estate firm in any community, The community can be local, regional or national. It pays to do your homework as to which firm appears to suit your style. The internet is definitely one of the most productive sources for finding a firm’s history, its areas of expertise, personnel, and its successes. Recognize that major metropolitan commercial firms often outsource client needs in an outlying area to a smaller commercial firm in that area rather than requiring one of their main office brokers to commit to travel time. Consequently, if you are in a rural market outside or between major metropolitan markets, you should investigate which real estate firms have those relationships for the larger deals.

Your time for success starting in commercial real estate (particularly without capital) will be the result of what you put into it. I had the option in the early ’70’s of returning to law school and finishing. What I realized most was that I liked being out of an office and “on the street.” My attorney friends in Ft. Lauderdale were spending innumerable hours, as needed, in their offices to write briefs, draft documents, etc., all of which that profession requires. My decision was to put in the same hours on commercial real estate that I would have to put in for any law practice. If it worked, then fine, if not I would go back to school.

Considering that the early ’70’s recession in Florida hit every occupation with almost equal damage, many attorneys had practices with slim billings and clients whose businesses were suffering economically. Several real estate brokers who I met were having very difficult times because the banks were not lending money for deals. Florida had a usury cap of 14% at that time. Deposits were down and when interest rates in California started to go above 14% that is where the money went.

Weekdays in those years, I was knocking on the doors of businesses in the West Palm to Miami corridor. Weekends, I was often painting a house or captaining a motor sailer owned by a friend’s corporation. Weekday evenings after dinner, I was at the office reviewing property information, ownerships, tax data, etc. for the next day’s driving or phone calls. I found that it was possible to earn a living while getting into the commercial real estate field. I later found out after moving back to Philadelphia, that several of the commercial real estate firms did not mind their starting salespeople to moonlight as bartenders, waiters, or whatever until they had enough experience to close transactions. That has changed somewhat in the larger cities due to the financial strength of the larger firms and their ability to either offer a base salary or draw to new salespersons.

Gender in today’s commercial real estate world is not an issue as it was in the ’70’s. At that time, men only eating clubs were often the norm and women were not often able to match that type of selling locale. The number of women who have joined commercial real estate organizations such as SIOR, CCIM, etc. (which I will discuss later) has increased dramatically over the past 15 years. The commercial real estate courses offered today provide an excellent means of obtaining knowledge that once was taught generally “in house” by senior brokerage personnel responsible for a new salesperson’s progress.

Therefore, in considering commercial real estate the aspect of having minimal capital has not changed. Gender is not an issue and many women who have chosen to specialize in industrial or office real estate have done very well. You
can choose your hours, choose your area of specialty(s), choose your market area(s), and choose who you want to approach as a firm to join. Most commercial real estate involes the standard business week, not including late Saturday or Sunday hours (vs. residential Sunday open houses). These are several of the positive aspects of working in commercial real estate. The competition is keen, your competitors respect a good work effort and, most importantly, they respect a strong reputation for any individual.

You should investigate both larger commercial firms and smaller real estate brokerage firms. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

A). Larger firms may be willing to offer a base salary or a draw against commissions. They may prefer prior business experience, but not necessarily prior real estate brokerage experience that may conflict with what their “culture” is and what their in-house training entails. Typically, a new salesperson would be assigned to a senior broker or brokers to do cold calling, marketing materials, marketing reports for any existing client’s property and probably handle property inspections by other competing brokers with their prospects.

A few points on Larger Firms:

Future ownership potential for you in the company may be limited or non-existent.

Control over what market, territory or discipline that you work in may not be your choice. If you are hired for one department, such as retail, that may change if they need personnel support in another department, such as office. You may find that they prefer a new person to rotate through each department and possible each regional office if they have multiple offices.

Depending upon whether the firm is privately held or a public company it could be sold or merged without you being involved in the discussion. There is no real “safety blanket” for any position in a larger firm. If a primary, large, client is lost to a competitor, cuts may be relatively fast to absorb the lack of revenues.

Senior brokers who are successful occasionally leave to join another firm or to start their own competing firm. Clients usually follow those brokers and that could disrupt your potential income if you are in that department and the rain makers leave.

Deal volume can be significant as can be the size of the deals. If an institutional owner (bank, insurance company, pension fund, etc.) has a presence in an urban market, the leasing or sale assignment that they may award to a larger firm can be a “year maker” if the assignment is completed. Usually some year end bonus money flows down to the salespersons who may have participated in the marketing effort.

Senior brokers should have upper level corporate contacts through either a business association, country club, educational institutions, commercial lenders, or contacts referred from other cities where a corporate headquarters may be located. If the firm owners or top brokers are not developing those contacts and relationships, but are relying on the mid-level brokers to do that you may want to look at another firm whose top management is better involved. You want work to filter down from the top instead of getting the crumbs leftover from competing firms who have a solid community (business and non-business) presence.

B). Smaller firms usually will have a broker/owner running the operations with or without broker partners in the firm. Quite often they will have a residential department and a separate commercial department in which a few of the brokers may work in residential and commercial properties.

A few points about Smaller Firms:

Future ownership shares may be offered depending upon deal volume and commitment to the firm. If the founding broker of the firm is nearing retirement age, the opportunity may be better provided that they are maintaining an fully active presence in the community.

Commission percentages may be much more liberal once a minimum threshold of deal volume is met to cover the cost of your desk, phone, secretarial, etc..

A salary or draw is less likely to be offered.

A senior broker may be more likely to have you work directly under him on any property. You will be accountable directly to him and, as should be the case, learn “on the job.”

If there is a residential component to the firm, those brokers specializing in that area should be a source of commercial referrals and the same for you referring any possible single family residential to them. Smaller multi-family buildings should be on the commercial side of the business, but motels may be on either side. This can vary in an area such as Ft. Lauderdale, Hilton Head, or New Jersey resorts where a residential owner with a relationship to the firm may also own retail rentals.

Most regional areas have a Realtors Association, Chamber of Commerce or other organization that offers discounted insurance and other benefits to its members. Whereas a larger firm may have a good corporate health plan and other bulk discounted benefits to its employees, you should look at the costs for each that are offered. I have not found that much of a saving on either side, but if you leave a larger firm you will need to find the alternatives that are affordable.

Your business exposure may actually be more effective working out of a smaller firm and being a primary contact for that firm instead of a secondary contact at a larger firm.

Property databases and the Internet have provided smaller firms with much better access to real estate information than in the mid-’90’s and before when only larger firms could afford to maintain proprietary property information for a larger market. Launching a significant marketing campaign for a property can be expensive even with the Internet and smaller firms will have a lack of cash resources to compete for major property listings. Deal size, therefore, will be smaller and you will have to strive for volume,

Best regards.

Peter P. Liebert,IV-SIOR
Flourtown, PA