The Dark Side of Advertising

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The Dark Side of Advertising

Woolworths, the Fresh Food People! Oh, what a feeling, Toyota! I’m lovin’ it! 
These are the indestructible jingles that the world of advertising has managed to drum into our heads, over the course of time. Effective? Yes. Escapable? No. Teenagers in contemporary society are exposed to up to 3000 ads per day, meaning that we are constantly bombarded with advertisements from the minute we step outside our bedroom door. As promotional agencies increase their exposure, they have changed the typical nature of advertising and have become more affluent with the strategies and techniques they employ. Advertising has shifted into an industry of its own and is clearly shaping, modifying and defining the moral regulations of a 21st century society. As regular consumers, we are seized under the suffocating grip of advertising manipulation. Its pervasive nature is engulfing our society completely, as we are subliminally involved in the perpetual cycle of advertising. These days, it is irrational to state that ads are avoidable, with their invasive nature constantly peering into our personal environment - online, on personal devices, television, radio, billboards and many other vehicles. Dominating and powerful, promotions are a global privacy concern, as ads by Google and other online companies are currently being assembled using our personal information. Google’s privacy policy clearly states that the cunning company uses our intimate information to tailor make ads for products that would appeal to us individually. With an ever-growing rate of fraudulent identity theft and personal information control, do you really want your personal details being manipulated in such a way? In the novel, Ad’s R Us, by Claire Carmichael, arrogant Aunt Kara reveals a comment that is shockingly related to our modern world: “Privacy is an outdated concept, Barrett.”1 The era of privacy is long-gone, with the act of hiding behind an alias or publishing incognito becoming obsolete at an extraordinary rate. Personal advertising is creating an advanced question, which wouldn’t have crossed the minds of individuals twenty years ago - is privacy a privilege or a right? The art of advertising is a nexus of exploiting techniques designed to directly focus on common psychological themes to motivate people to buy products. This keeps consumers coming back after making a direct sale, making us feel complete and whole. Stephen Leacock once famously quoted: “Advertising is the science of arresting human intelligence long enough to get money from them.” Some of the most common emotions that advertisements appeal to are self-sustaining, sexual desire, self-esteem and imitation. It is illogical to say that advertisements are ‘mind-controlling’, but they are certainly having a strong influence. In March of this year, popular Swisse Vitamins were forced to stop broadcasting their TV advertisements because of false advertising. Their promotions, stating “You’ll feel better on Swisse!”, were banned by a federal watchdog because the company simply could not prove that customers would feel better on the vitamin tablets. The Machiavellian schemes fixed with modern advertisements are happening in front of our own eyes and are solely focused on fulfilling our personal desires and aspirations. From a young age, advertising is captivating our senses, and eventually turning into us robotic purchasing tools. Lily Allen’s song, The Fear, refers to what humanity has become and the type of people we are turning into - “I am a weapon of massive consumption - its not my fault it’s how I’m programmed to function.”2 From birth until death, we are swamped by advertisements, meaning that from a young age we are already becoming buying machines. Will you let yourself be inundated by manipulation in a society flooded with greed and materialism? Did you know that a York University study revealed that American pharmaceutical companies spend twice as...
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