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In western societies people are confronted with advertisements every single day. Whether you stay in and watch television, take the subway or go to school, there are always channels through which advertisers try to sell something to you. Sut Jhally, in his article 'Advertising of the edge of the apocalypse', explains that these advertising is a mechanism created by our capitalist society to sell commodities that already have been produced. The sale of these commodities yields profit for capital owners, who in their turn will produce new commodities. If this circular movement does not work, our capitalist system will collapse. 'Capitalism therefore has to ensure the sale of commodities on pain of death' (Jhally, 2000). To make sure that there is a demand for the produced commodities, capitalists started advertising their mass produced goods in the late 19 th century. According to Jhally our current culture is based on consumption, we perceive that the accumulation of goods and services will make us happier. He however believes that this process is bad for our society. The main field of study we use to investigate how our capitalism works is economics. There is no single view on advertising within economics. In general it is perceived as wasteful and a loss of resources for a couple of reasons. There are two ways in which you can use advertising: informative and competitive. Informative advertising tells the consumer about the product and tries to convince him that this product is something that he wants and needs. An example for this was the introduction of the iPod, iPhone or the iPad, no one knew what it was, but after the release everyone wanted or even needed one. As Steve Jobs put it 'A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.' In general this is not perceived as being wasteful, since it informs the consumer
I do not agree . Dell and HP. and all products are competing to get a part of that income. This theory also implies extra costs for society. since every consumer can spend their income only once. and since information is valuable it is not wasteful. Competitive advertising tries to persuade people to buy a certain brand of product over another one. but since a dollar can only be spend once. boring and slow and a Mac was fun and playful. A good example of this is the tobacco industry. made my manufacturers as IBM. since they did not longer have to engage in an advertising war. As Jhally puts it 'The market appeals to worst in us (greed. That is for instance what Apple did with their Mac advertisements about ten years ago. to private consumption. It also shifts are need for a clean and sustainable environment to consumption.' This all shows that economic theory tends to agree with the view of Jhally. They wanted to show consumers that a PC. In a sense this theory makes all advertising economically wasteful. since it just raises the overall cost of the product while not adding any value. For-profit organizations or companies spend far more money on advertising than non-profit organizations. was dull. and increased profits for the tobacco companies. selfishness) and discourages what is best about us (compassion. caring.about a new product. or giving out social welfare. but still millions are spend on advertising. where bans on advertisement cut the costs. Advertising creates a desire to spend a greater part of income on certain products. that in general advertising is not something that is beneficial for society. In general this is seen as an unnecessary cost to society. public schools. society as a whole does not really care for instance whether people drink Coca-Cola or Pepsi. and generousity). I will come back to the point whether creating wants for people who did not wanted it beforehand is wasteful. since this will make the demand shift from investing in hospitals. this inflicts costs on society. This makes it really hard to distinguish whether an advertisement is informative or competitive.
ourselves. that the environmental issues will . it is true that consumption and the accumulation of capital. Jhally believes there is a direct link between advertising and consumption. most importantly the environment. make the decision whether or not to buy them. This can be seen for instance in the creation of the 'Occupy'-movement.however with what he concludes from this. but not to the extend that Jhally wants us to believe. The ads do not make us buy commodities. I do believe that people still think about larger societal issues. More and more companies want to show that they have a green image. instead of society being influenced by advertising. But I see advertising as a mere instrument that appeared useful to people wanted to sell their products. I would agree with Jhally if this were his point. since they bring our attention to products. By saying this I do not neglect however. a capitalist one. fueled by the commercial messages they see all around them. that their products are sustainable and that they do not exploit people. As said before. That would not have appeared if people themselves did not start caring about what is happening to the environment. we make our own decision whether we do or do not actually buy the product they are promoting. He beliefs that advertising makes people so narrow-minded. A too important role. earn money. In this way advertising is influenced by society. money. Advertising however is just a tool used by the economy and society we live in. This shows me that people still have common sense and that they have not become consuming zombies. we. Of course. the existence of commercials and billboards will tend to make most of us consume more than we would usually do. that they will just focus on themselves as individuals and lose track of the bigger picture. play an important role in our every day life. And yes. In the end although. He sees advertising as an important cause for global warming. Because of that urge to accumulate capital. according to more and more people. the bigger picture can easily be overlooked. This can even been seen in advertising. In my view advertisements do influence people.
since they make it available to escape from every day life into a state of happiness. but of course there are other ways in which society is influenced by advertisements. but about the experience of having the product. I see for instance strong similarities between advertising and the Roman Catholic Church. but certainly in other ways. a company trying to sell his or her product. so they build churches to impress people. Since our society is becoming less and less affiliated with religion. In the above I focused on the macro-economic implications of advertising and how that influences society. The problem however with his reasoning .' An example of a branch that in general is not regarded as an institution that uses advertising is religion. This is because advertisement has been a part of human life for far longer than the 19 th century. autonomy and self-esteem. When Jhally talks about happiness he shows some strong evidence that material things are not the things that make us happy. but also that in the end people will make their own decisions. romance. People like dreams. What is more important to us are friends. free-time. It is not necessarily about the commodity or product itself they are selling. these dreams are becoming a surrogate for Roman Catholicism. Like I said before. Wikipedia defines advertising as 'Advertising is a form of communication used to encourage or persuade an audience (viewers. They wanted as much followers as possible. Companies nowadays use branding to sell products. but this is a question that will not be answered in the branch of advertising. It is very possible that we might have to give up some of our consumption in order to create a sustainable society. told stories and interpretations from the Bible to inspire people.be resolved without any struggle. readers or listeners) to continue or take some new action. I do believe that ads can influence people. Maybe not in the way that we think of advertising right now. According to Jhally it creates a 'dreamlife' of our desires and tries to sell that dream to us. and they used icons and statues of Biblical figures to remind people of the Church. when mass production started.
have become more valuable. but it does not rule our life. we are influenced by advertising. This is again very related to religion as well. but to some it certainly does. It is very hard to find a conclusive answer. Again. the business owners. because it is relatively cheap to reach a lot of people. According to Marx this will lead to more influence of the capitalists. I do however believe that is very important that people keep thinking for themselves. On the other hand branding does create a lot of value for a lot of people and might be even more efficient than actually giving out more goods.is that he sees material wealth as a substitute for personal social wealth. which has no tangible value. instead of investing in our social life. will become happier while consuming that product. This may not apply to everyone. Because of this you might argue that in fact advertising is not economically wasteful as I said before. This is also reflected in the value of companies with popular brands. I do not see how this cannot be convivent with actual social life. because of advertising products. but does have intangible value. I do not agree with this since I think that people will not be influenced that much by branding that they will abandon their social life in order to be able to acquire merely material wealth. who consider a certain product part of their dream life. because of the dreams it represents. over the common people. People. This can be seen as a referral to Marx' notion of false consciousness. Actually. I am afraid I cannot answer this question in full. As long as that . but does exists in the minds of the consumers. but because of what they represent as well. not just for their useful value. He believes that by capturing the things that makes us happy and turning them into products we will work more and harder to be able to consume those products. One might argue that we become more dependent on the products we buy and therefore lose our skill of making individual decisions. Their market value is higher than the tangible value. The question however remains whether advertising is a good thing or a bad thing. The value it creates is simply not tangible. or that people lose track of the bigger picture in society.
Is Advertising Wasteful?. http://www.htm . Journal of Marketing. 416-428 Jobs invterview by Reinhardt (1998). pp. Routledge.businessweek. Bibliography Backman (1968). 2-8. 32. The advertising and consumer culture. 1. Advertising At The Edge Of The Apocalypse. http://www. Vol. Steve Jobs on Apple's resurgence: “Not a one-man show”.jstor. January 1968. pp.com/bwdaily/dnflash/may1998/nf80512d.org/stable/1249188 Jhally (2000). No. Businessweek.happens I cannot see advertising do much harm to the world as we know it.
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