How Advertising and Commercial Culture Affects Society

955 words | 4 page(s)

Each day, the average individual spends approximately three hours watching television, reads about 5 to 10 newspapers or magazines, and spends about five hours listening to the radio. While engaging in these activities, a part of what the individual gets to see are advertisements that come on at an interval of approximately every 10 minutes. The advertisements are normally used to convince the consumer to purchase a certain product or service (O’Guinn, Chris & Richard 342). The advertisements might also be used to convince the listener to do something that is being asked by the advertiser such as making a donation to various causes. At times, these advertisements are messages that are hidden between or in television programs such as in the case of product placement in television programs. Regardless of the way they are presented, advertisements eventually affect individuals and the society in general. These effects may either be positive or negative. Therefore, this paper will focus on analyzing the effects these advertisements have on our society.

How Advertising and Commercial Culture affects Society
One of the positive effects of advertising is that it informs the public. As time passes, the needs of the society increase and change. As a result, people require new products every time. Simultaneously, numerous new products come into the market. Advertisements hence become the method of communication which keeps the public informed about the new products in the market. Advertisements also make the public aware of social events like performances and concerts. Charity organizations and other non-governmental organizations use advertisements to promote their campaigns, and as a result, the public becomes aware of them. For instance, these organizations may use adverts to educate the society about certain illnesses like TB, viral diseases, AIDS, and many others; these advertisements eventually make people aware of their mode of transmission and what they can do to prevent themselves from contracting the illnesses. The result is a society that is more informed about the world and what is going on around it.

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Another positive effect of advertising is that it stimulates the economy. It achieves this by creating demand for products and services which eventually strengthen the economy. When people view the products and services that are being advertised, they develop the desire to want to own those products and as a result, the demand for the products increases (Brady &Richard 309). The companies advertising the products or services hence get to earn more money when more people purchase their products. In the end, the economy of the society grows. Advertising also helps mass communication media earn revenue. Through advertisements, many types of mass media such as radios, newspapers, magazines, and television get to earn their revenues and hence run their daily activities. Therefore, without advertisements, many types of mass media may not be in existence today.

One negative effect of advertising is that it has led to an increase in materialism in our society. This can be attributed to the focus by adverts to glorify materialism, which can obviously have dangerous consequences in the society. The society is becoming more ignorant towards world or social matters since it is too obsessed in satisfying its newly created needs. People desire to earn more money so that they can purchase happiness in the form of products that are being advertised since they are made to believe that these products can bring happiness (Hoyer& Deborah 43). People are yearning for material goals because they constantly desire to have more material things. As a result, people have become less concerned about other things such as the environment and the human rights. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see people going to great extents such as violating the rights of other human beings, just to satisfy their own selfish desires.

Another negative effect of advertising is that it leads to distortion of the perception of a healthy body image. Advertisements have a tendency of affecting how people view themselves in terms of looks (Mueller 13). In most of the mainstream advertisements, whether on televisions or magazines, there are unrealistic standards set to represent the female beauty and associate it with a certain body weight; this is projected as the norm. When a young woman comes across such an advertisement and realizes that she does not match up to the image depicted by the advert, she will end up believing that the only way to match up to the image is to purchase the product being advertised. This is what the company wants. It is obvious that the adverts presented by the media have the ability to dictate self-image and can be damaging when they lead to depression, eating disorders, and a dissatisfaction of how one looks.

From the discussion, it is obvious that advertisements have an impact on how society thinks and behaves. On one hand, advertisements have positive effects on our society while on the other, they can have negative effects on the same society. Advertisements have positive impacts like informing the public and stimulating the economy. However, advertisements may play a huge role in damaging the self-image of some people in society, especially women and encourage materialistic tendencies with no regard for others. The fact remains that advertisements will remain to be part of our lives; the effects it has on society will greatly depend on how people choose to respond to the advertisements.

  • Brady, Henry E, and Richard Johnston. Capturing Campaign Effects. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2006. Web.
  • Hoyer, Wayne D, and Deborah J. MacInnis. Consumer Behavior. Australia: South-Western Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
  • Mueller, Barbara. Dynamics of International Advertising: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives. New York: Peter Lang, 2011. Print.
  • O’Guinn, Thomas C, Chris T. Allen, and Richard J. Semenik. Advertising and Integrated Brand Promotion. Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.

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