VC501 – Design Manifesto: Does Advertising Promote Excessive Consumerism

Advertising is an efficent way of selling new products, and many people argue that it’s effectiveness brainwashes us into unnecessary spending. Some people argue that advertising only helps to sell a product, and that we are the ones who choose to buy it. This is partly true, but when comparing advertising from the 1920s, 1950s and 1960s to today, there is vast change in the way advertising is done. It has become much more sophisticated, advertising is formulated, pinpointed, psychological, it influences us, draws us in and we are enveloped in a surreal state, in which we are focused on the product – we will even make excuses to buy the product that’s being advertised.

One of the main arguments for advertising is that it generates wealth for a country. That is to say, taxes paid on goods sold, help governments to pay for essential services such as education and health care. Moreover, the number of jobs created for producing, marketing and servicing these goods helps to reduce the unemployment problem, which is also a great advantage for a country’s economy.

What is more, advertising raises money for a huge number of sporting events and artistic performances which would otherwise not be held. Without sponsorship from companies who advertise their products, these events would disappear due to lack of founding. In other words, although consumerism is promoted through advertising, it is beneficial to both the consumer and society. This is a good thing, but the roots of modern advertising are corrupted.

Advertisements lecture us on what we need, and make us feel bad if we don’t have the latest phone, game, music CD etc. People become dissatisfied with what they already have, and products that they cannot afford make them feel frustrated and dissatisfaction. Advertising with a child market is more complex than that which targets adult consumers, if a parent can’t afford the latest trend product for their child, they feel inadequate.

The fact that people will turn to organised crime to be able to afford goods says a lot for modern society, people go to great lengths to keep the same standard of living, or the standard of living which is portrayed in film, TV, adverts etc.

Advertising has become a drone.

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