Half the work
that is done in
this world is to make things
appear what they are not.
E. R. Beadle
saw an ad the other day that I couldn't believe.
this woman--and I think it's degrading to womankind--she
out of her mind over a new product called "A Thousand
Flushes." Here she was in her toilet, saying, "Oh, I love this
"My life is complete!"
Good God, if your joy depends on
"A Thousand Flushes," you're
If a person had
delivered up your body to some passer-by, you would certainly be
angry. And do you feel no shame in delivering up your own
mind to any reviler, to be disconcerted and confounded?
is the difference between unethical and ethical
advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to
deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to
deceive the public. -Vilhjalmur
advertisers spend the same amount of money improving their product
that they do on advertising and they wouldn't have to advertise it.
in general bear a large part of the responsibility for the deep feelings
of inadequacy that drive women to psychiatrists, pills, or the
bottle. -Marya Mannes (1964)
can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements.
society's values are being corrupted by advertising's insistence
on the equation: Youth equals popularity, popularity equals
success, success equals happiness.
newspaper ad showed photographs of two boats: One
was an extravagant cruiser splashing boldly through a
small wave. The other was a simple rowboat with two
cruiser, indicated the ad, was what you'd have if you did
business with that financial service provider. The
rowboat was what you'd have if you did not.
deceptively simple, the ad illustrates the materialistic
equation that tugs at our hearts, minds--and souls--each
day: the idea that bigger is better. The idea
that something garish is better than something simple.
The idea that something fast is better than something
slow. And--no pun intended--the idea that if we do
not choose big, garish, and fast, then we're somehow
missing the boat.
root, the ad wants you to feel unhappy, discontent,
lacking, inferior, temporary. Because
materialism--in essence, the doctrine suggesting that things,
not relationships, make the world go around--is a
replacement for something else. And when we're
content with that something else--the something else you
can't buy with a credit card--we won't need to adorn our
lives with the unnecessary goods and services being
flashed before us at every turn.
Welch The Things That Matter Most
will see advertising as one of the real evil things of our
time. It is stimulating people constantly to want things,
want this, want that. -Malcolm
trouble with us in America isn't that the poetry of life has
turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising
copy. -Louis Kronenberger
advertising industry is a huge industry, and anyone with their
eyes open can see what it's for. First of all, the existence of
the advertising industry is a sign of the unwillingness to let
markets function. If you had markets, you wouldn't have
advertising. Like, if somebody has something to sell, they say
what it is and you buy it if you want. But when you have
oligopolies, they want to stop price wars. They have to have
product differentiation, and you got to turn to diluting people
into thinking you should buy this rather than that. Or just
getting them to consume - if you can get them to consume, they're
trapped, you know.
starts with the infant, but now there's a huge part of the
advertising industry which is designed to capture children. And
it's destroying childhood. Anyone who has any experience with
children can see this. It's literally destroying childhood. Kids
don't know how to play. They can't go out and, you know, like when
you were a kid or when I was a kid, you have a Saturday afternoon
free. You go out to a field and you're finding a bunch of other
kids and play ball or something. You can't do anything like that.
It's got to be organized by adults, or else you're at home with
your gadgets, your video games.
the idea of going out just to play with all the creative
challenge, those insights: that's gone. And it's done consciously
to trap children from infancy and then to turn them into consumer
addicts. -Noam Chomsky
cumulative effect of initiating our children into a
consumerist ethos at an even earlier age may be profound.
As kids drink in the world around them, many of their
cultural encounters--from books to movies to TV--have
become little more than sales pitches, devoid of any moral
beyond a plea for purchase. Even their classrooms
are filled with corporate logos. Instead of
transmitting a sense of who we are and what we hold
important, today's marketing-driven culture is instilling
in them the sense that little exists without a sales pitch
attached and that self-worth is something you buy at a
one ad is so bad," says Mary Pipher, a clinical
psychologist and author of The Shelter of Each Other,
a best-seller about family life. "But the
combination of 400 ads a day creates in children a
combination of narcissism, entitlement, and
David Leonhardt and Kathleen Kerwin Hey Kids, Buy This!
There are huge advertising
budgets only when there's no difference between
the products. If the products really were different, people would buy
that's better. Advertising teaches people not to trust their judgment.
Advertising teaches people to be stupid. -Carl Sagan,
possible that advertising as a whole is a fantastic fraud, presenting
an image of America taken seriously by no one, least of all
the advertising people who create it? -David Riesman,
The Lonely Crowd
It is really not so repulsive to see the poor asking for money as to
the rich asking for more money. And advertisement
is the rich asking for more money. -G.K. Chesterton,
The New Jerusalem
treats all products with the reverence and the
seriousness due to sacraments. -Thomas
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
paradox [of advertising] is that we get two sets of
messages coming at us
every day. One is the "permissive"
message, saying, "Buy, spend, get it now,
yourself," because your wants are also your needs--and
you have plenty
of needs that you don't even know about
because our consumer culture hasn't told
you about them
yet! The other we would call, for lack of a better word,
a "puritanical" message, which says, "Work
hard, save, defer gratification,
curb your impulses." What are the psychological and social consequences
getting such totally contradictory messages all the time? This is
what you would call "cognitive
dissonance," and the psychological consequence
pervasive anxiety, upon which the political right has
very adept at
mobilizing and building.
message comes to us from a variety of sources: from
from church, often from parents, and every so
often from political figures
when they refer to "traditional
values." Hard work, family loyalty, the capacity
defer gratification--these are supposed to be core,
the traits that made our country great
and so forth.
permissive message, as I said, comes to us chiefly in the
of advertising, which is a force to which family
therapists should perhaps
devote more attention. Advertising is inescapable; it is fed to us in dozens
forms and in more and more settings.
Barbara Ehrenreich Spend
papers that matter live off their advertisements, and the
advertisers exercise an indirect censorship over news.
Why I Write
As the wall
between advertising and content erodes, the aptitude required to
understand the functions and design of media content becomes more
complex. -Matthew P. McAllister
What editors are
obliged to appear to say that men want from
women is actually what their advertisers want from women.
The Beauty Myth
Advertising design, in persuading
people to buy things they don't need,
with money they don't have, in order to impress others who don't care,
is probably the phoniest field in existence today. -Victor Papanek,
Design for the Real World
I were asked to name the deadliest subversive force within
single greatest source of its waning morality--I should without
advertising. How else should one identify a force that debases
thought, and undoes dignity? If the barrage of advertising,
unchanged in its tone
and texture, were devoted to some other purpose--say the exaltation of
public sector--it would be recognized in a moment for the corrosive
that it is. But as the voice of the private sector it escapes this
startled notice. I
mention it only to point out that a deep source of moral decay for
arises from its own doings, not from that of its governing institutions.
-Robert L. Hellbroner
media commercials encourage us to believe that if we buy
a certain product, we can be physically appealing, or popular, or
successful. According to the commercial message, it may be easy
to make friends and influence people if we simply do what we're
told to do. It would be wonderful if that were true, but
life does not seem to work that way. What is inside of us can be
much more important and influential than what is outside.
Worldwide Laws of Life
In a culture that is
becoming ever more story-stupid, in which a representative
of the Coca-Cola company can, with a straight face, pronounce, as he
a collection of archival Coca-Cola commercials to the Library of
that "Coca-Cola has become an integral part of people's lives by
helping to tell
these stories," it is perhaps not surprising that people have
trouble teaching and
receiving a novel as complex and flawed as Huck Finn, but it is even
urgent that we learn to look passionately and technically at stories, if
protect ourselves from the false and manipulative ones being circulated
among us. -George Saunders,
The Braindead Megaphone
is the modern substitute for argument; its
function is to make the worse appear the better. -George Santayana
One the one hand, our
economists treat human beings as rational actors
making choices to maximize their own economic benefit. On the other
hand, the same companies that hire those economists also pay for
advertising campaigns that use the raw materials of myth and magic to
encourage people to act against their own best interests, whether it's a
matter of buying overpriced fizzy sugar water or the much more serious
matter of continuing to support the unthinking pursuit of business
as usual in the teeth of approaching disaster. -John Michael Greer,
The Long Descent
a culture becomes entirely advertising friendly, it ceases to be a
culture at all. -Mark Crispin Miller
All of us somehow felt that the
next battleground was going to be culture. We
all felt somehow that our culture had been stolen from us--by
by advertising agencies, by TV broadcasters. It felt like we were no
our songs and telling stories, and generating our culture from the
bottom up, but
now we were somehow being spoon-fed this commercial culture top down.
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