Advertising has had a tremendous influence on society. However, many people sharply disagree as to whether this influence has been bad or good.
Advertising has certainly played an important part in making modern goods and services available to the general public. It hastened consumer acceptance of such new products as automobiles, telephones, electric refrigerators, and frozen foods. Advertising continues to popularize new products of modern industry by presenting them in colorful phrases and glamorous illustrations. It seeks to make each product represent a new and better way of life. In its total effect, advertising has built up a concept of gracious living that was unknown and indeed impossible before mass production.
One familiar example will illustrate how advertising helps to increase the production and distribution of a product. The automobile was first developed to a practical stage in about 1910. The early automobiles were not very efficient. Improvements came rapidly, however, and new mass-production methods made possible the manufacture of cars in large numbers. One big question remained: Who would buy all the automobiles that could be made?
The automobile had tremendous appeal to the public, and its use would doubtless have grown even without advertising. However, advertising spread information of this new miracle of transportation incomparably faster than individual salesmen could have done. Advertising simplified the work of the salesmen and helped to stimulate sales. Greater sales made it practical to use improved mass-production methods. Production in large quantities made possible lower prices, which enabled people in lower income groups to buy cars. Thus, in a few years the automobile became part of the standard of living for millions of people.
Advertisers know from practical experience that products, old or new, cannot be forced on people. In the modern economy "the consumer is the king." Customers are free to buy what they want....
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