The Social Significance of Advertising:

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The Social Significance Of Advertising:

Potter (1954), points out that advertising not only has economical consequences but can also shape peoples’ values: “The most important effects of this powerful institution are not upon economics of our distribution system; but they are upon the values of our society. If the economic effect is to make the purchaser like what he buys, the social effect, in a parallel broader sense, is to make the individual like what he gets…” (Berger, 2000, p.27)

This statement emphasises that the impact of advertising media does puts pressure not only on consumers to purchase commodities, but the impact of these exposures are much far more reflective on such consumers’ general consciousness, identities, belief systems, and societies and culture in general. Reinforcing Potter’s work, advertising media has been criticised for “unintentionally instilling a sense of inadequacy upon women’s self concept”. (Martin, 2005, p.391) and many argue that the mass media play a part in reinforcing a preoccupation with physical attractiveness (see both Poltarnees (1994) and Reed, et al. (2004)). Pringle (2004, p.53) adds that the advertising industry creates idealised stereotypes that in some way forces women to live up to, and makes women feel dissatisfied with the way they are and has gone as far as saying that, “much of human behaviour, and specifically purchasing, can be attributed to the desire to improve presentation and desirability”.

In support of this, Wan (2003) believes that females begin to associate their self worth with their self perceived attractiveness, and appearance has become an important component of their identity. Past research has shown that when participants are exposed to images of attractive models they tend to score their self-esteem lower than if exposed to images of less attractive models (Wan, 2003). These studies suggest that media exposure of glamorous people may reinforce negative self-esteem. Seno (2005)...
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