Lets talk about images for example, most advertisements for clothing (i.e. bathing suits etc), show shapely thin women and men. This has led our country to think that fat is demeaning and not socially accepted. This type of advertising has caused everyone to want to look like the people in the ads. Diets of all sorts have been developed to try to meet these expectations. But when their goals are not reached it causes depression, low self-esteem that in turn causes a poor image is developed. In my opinion these advertisements have a negative outreach. Who is to say only thin people look great? Advertisements do! These ads also have created anorexic teenagers, which has lead to serious health problems and even death. Advertisements often do not explicitly urge the consumer to buy a given product; rather they promise that the products will enhance a persons life. Opening a whole range of desiderata including youthfulness, attractiveness, social grace, security, success, conviviality, sex, romance and the admiration of others. (Parenti page 204)
Advertising can also be educational and rewarding with regards to prices and who offers the best deal. One such publication that informs consumers of the best-tested and best-priced items is Consumers Magazine. This magazine has a test facility that tests various items of same kind without bias and reports to the consumer via there magazine. Advertising is not created and used just to provide a smug example of public morality, advertising is honest because it has to be. (Wood page 225). What I mean by honesty is the product information is not all ways how it is displayed.
Lets address the issues of What we care about, the way we raise our children, our ideas of right and wrong conduct, these in my view are all together. Lets take a look at liquor and tobacco advertising. The image of the Marlboro Man is one example. This type of advertisement depicts a buff, handsome, cool man smoking a cigarette. What message is this conveying to our young people? That it is cool to smoke. We all know it has been proven that smoking cigarettes can cause cancer. I would now like to address all the violence, sex and bad language that is seen and heard on television and radio (i.e. talk shows, MTV, etc.). This type of media attracts all various kinds of people to listen and watch. While the people are entrained in the media being provided the producers throw in a commercial advertisement. This type of advertisement causes the consumer to subliminally change they opinion of various items. Another type of media that the advertisers use is the Dance shows on televisions such as soul train. This not only is a display of immoral conduct of our young people then the television stations throw in a commercial advertisement aimed at our young people. A recent media event that was used to force advertisement on the population was when the President of the United States was going through the Monica scandal. Not only did the actions of the President display immoral conduct, which certainly sends a poor message to the people of the world. While the public was entrained in the event the producers once again strategically placed ads in low points causing sway in public opinion on various items.
Im not saying that all advertising is negative. The media also sends out some good messages such as be cool stay in school, anti-cigarette commercials that depict the health hazards and negative efforts on the family. We as the consumer in having to evaluate the good from the bad and the pros and cons of advertisement must evaluate what we truly need and what is the best product. In making this determination we need to ensure to make a morally sound decision using good judgement and to feel good about ourselves.
Most of my views and opinions agree with Shudsons. I like his statement, that advertising is neither misleading and manipulative as its critics claim nor as worthwhile as effective as it advocates assert (Shudson page 229)
Advertising cannot exist without the consumer. If the consumer does not purchase the product of misleading ads this will show the companies that using this type of ad will not work. In turn the consumer will be able to get a better product or service.
Spurgin, Sally Dewitt Advertising, Michael Parenti and James Playsted Wood and Michael Shudson Strategies for Argument , 1992 by Prentice-Hall Inc. A Simon & Shuster Company, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632