McDonald’s may spend billions of dollars every year on advertising, but it is the consumer that chooses to walk into one of their stores, pay the cashier, and sit down for a dose of cholesterol and heart disease. At no time were they held at gunpoint and forced to do anything. While advertising has positive and negative effects, such as informing the public or manipulating consumers, advertising is a spread of ideas and information. It provides choices; it is the responsibility of the consumer to deal with the consequences. Undeniably, advertising is influential on society. There are strong examples of the power that advertising has to manipulate. Advertising has been used to condition consumers into believing that certain indulgences are as necessary to their survival as food and water (Source F). It is evident that ads can create in customers intense desires for specific products, even when they regard them as having no effect (Source E), but a desire it just a desire. A person may desire money, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to rob a bank. Furthermore, cigarette companies have manipulated the public for years into making people think that smoking is not only healthy but also a widespread habit (Source B). Cigarette companies may not be completely honest about the effects of their products, but they don’t put them into a teenager’s mouth and light them, either.
Advertisements, as effective as they are, have been used for the good of society as well. Ads have to been used in humanitarian efforts and have helped organizations like the Red Cross save lives (Source A). Advertisements such as these simply provide more choices for consumers; the only difference is that the outcome is different. While they may be viewed as better than other advertisements for items such as clothing or cosmetics, the same tactics used to influence one to donate money are used to influence one to spend money on products. It is also because of advertisements that radio,...
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