Media’s Promotion of Consumerism
“The advertising industry spends $12 billion per year on ads targeted to children, bombarding young audiences with persuasive messages through media such as television and the Internet. The average child is exposed to more than 40,000 TV commercials a year, according to studies. And ads are reaching children through new media technologies and even in schools--with corporate-sponsored educational materials and product placements in students' textbooks.” -American Psychological Association(APA) From the moment you wake up till the time you go to bed you are exposed to limitless types of marketing and advertisements from several sources. The persistence and the amount of such persuasive messages have great repercussions in impressionable children. APA studies have reported that under the age of eight, children are less than able to pick up on the message’s persuasive intent. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) gives a daily figure of 3000 advertisements for American children. The art of manipulating opinion by simply entertaining or “informing” has become one of the best-developed and well-performed strategies by media entities and political corporations. As society as a whole moves faster, we have less time to research claims by products and search out all sides of the story to make an informed opinion. We have become satisfied with the first thing we hear in television, radio or newspapers. Information is coming faster and faster also. Even in unbiased news programs, there are stock quotes on the side and banners flashing headlines across the bottom. These periodically contain advertisements in addition to the actual commercials. Because of this, media’s role to inform people about the reality surrounding us has become easier by means of mass-broadcast. These media entities attempt to sell us anything and everything by controlling what the audience are exposed to, bombarding society with the same absurd images, messages, or unimportant issues. They seem to be slowly convincing us to join some political group, buy some product or service, they even tell us how we are supposed to look or act. Children lack the ability to tune out these messages and claims. In Jean Killbourne’s article, Jesus is a brand of jeans, “to not be influenced by advertisement would be to live outside of culture, No human being lives outside of culture”
In a personal account, I remember watching way too much TV as a boy living in Mexico City. After school, all there was to do is watch television because my parents worked all day and my friends lived miles away. I remember having every single advertisement memorized, from the song to the product that they were selling. I didn’t even have to pay attention I was part of the advertisement. I can say that I was deeply affected by these ads and when Christmas came around, I asked for all of the absurd things that the television had offered over and over.
Such information and propaganda are affecting us in a great way and the way society is developing. The main problem that humanity is facing is the loss of our identities and cultures. This identity crisis, if you will, happens by adopting the news whims of the media manipulators. It wasn’t until the beginning of the twentieth century when studies were conducted about advertisements and its effects on consumers that psychologists started to realize that advertising is an effective way of communication. In actuality the amount of advertisements that we are exposed to has grown exponentially, and they’re getting smarter.
There have been numerous debates about modern consumerism such as ministers of religion, environmentalists, artistic and literary figures and even politicians. It seems like consumerism is one if the biggest contributors of today’s problems as such the disappearance of manufacturing jobs, ecological imbalances, natural resources and psychological health. A...
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