While researching the influence of media advertising upon people’s minds, I found a few very interesting authors who published works about media advertising, particularly journals, newspapers, and videos. These authors expressed their opinion concerning the influence of the media advertising upon people. What is more, some of the articles are based on the material of the surveys. My goal in this paper is to find out whether there is some connection between the advertisements and peoples’ purchases; do these advertisements use our subconsciousness and make us buy things we do not need? This is the question I want to find the answer to.
To achieve this goal, I have organized my paper into three main sections
In the first section, I provide general ideas of what media advertising is and with what other terms or concepts it is connected. In the second section, I discuss the influence media advertising has upon people, especially the fact that advertising media encourages us to buy materials we do not need. I end my paper with the third section that offers the answers to the research question and discusses the importance of choice people have when buying different things.
First of all, I would like to find out what advertising is. There are many definitions, but the main concept of it is – to promote their products. We can also define advertising as “…commercial solicitation that is a form of communication designed to sell some commodity or service.”(“Psychology And Advertising” 0:32). The aim of the advertisements is not to help people with their problems, but with the help of some peoples’ needs and problems sell their products. Advertisements surround us everywhere. We live in the world where an average person is influenced by nearly 3,000 advertisements every day. We cannot omit these advertisements and the only way is to get used to them or try not to pay attention to them. Advertisers use television, magazines, billboards, movies and many other things with one aim – to promote their products. “These images of products can be considered beneficial to some but also unethical and unhealthy for many people…”(“ Advertising Influence” 0:31) One more term that is closely connected with media advertising is the term “economic expansion” or in a broader sense – the economics itself. It suggests something people need and desire to have, but actually it simply means spending more money. The truth is that spending more money does not always mean that the life is getting better. As a rule, the effect is just the opposite – crime, poverty, pollution. If we do not keep spending money many companies, advertising companies as well, will go out of business. The main rule is very simple: people buy things – the whole system works. The society itself is in need of need. We do not always need all the things that are advertised and produced by the economy, but the economy needs us to feel the lack of these things.
Does the media have any affects? Yes, it does
There can be an argument concerning what the effects are, but undoubtedly media has some effects. In other way, advertisers would not be so improvident. They spend millions and even billions of dollars every year on their media advertising, and if there were no effects, I do not think they would spend their money on nothing. The main purpose of media advertising is to sell products. Nowadays, the advertising companies sell everything: they sell values, images, and even feelings. Advertising companies even tell people how to look. They surround our world with perfect, ideal images of everything. Advertisements show us an ideal body; the food in advertisements is just amazing, it is ideal, the faces of the advertising models are ideal! That should mean that we live in an ideal world, but no, that is not the truth. Women learn from the very early age that they must spend an enormous amount of time, energy and money in order to achieve this ideal. They feel ashamed and guilty if they fail. In the end, failures and loses spoil the life of these people, they make them feel that they are not as good as others, people from advertisements in particular. The truth is that these ideals are based on absolute falseness and lie. There is no wonder that our perception of beauty is distorted. Is it not terrifying? Media advertisements get into our mind and change it in the way that is beneficial and profitable for them. Some people will not agree with this opinion. To my mind, this happens because they simply do not want to accept the problem, it is easier to omit it. As a result, we can notice that people suffer from the influence advertising has upon them. The images that surround us today tell us that we need to be unnaturally and painfully thin in order to be accepted. Other images in media tell us what to use and what to buy. For example, images of products in movies have become extremely successful marketing techniques. Since it is very expensive to promote a movie these days, producers are looking for ways to get some money back. What do people get from these unreal advertisements? Actually, nothing positive. We buy things we do not need, just because the image of the product and the advertisement itself make us believe that we need these products. People become robots, they believe in some magic effects the product can have. They believe that only one drop of some detergent can help us to clean the whole house, or dozens of dirty plates. What is interesting, people do know that this is impossible, but still, the advertisement will not lie, so they go and buy one more detergent that undoubtedly will help. Advertising is sometimes considered as a modern art. To some extent this is exactly what advertising is, because this is really an art to persuade people that their products can make their lives better. As we can see, advertising and images are all around us, but it is up to us to determine how they influence our society.
To end up, I would like to say that having read a lot of information concerning advertising, its main principles and its influence on us, I have made a conclusion. To my mind, the only right answer to the research question is: “Yes, media advertising encourages us to buy things we do not need”. What is more, it not only encourages us, it makes us buy these things. Need is a very interesting thing: some people suffer from it; others make profit with the help of it. Need helps and even fastens the economy development. Advertising companies only use these needs. The economics do not know the concept of enough, it always needs something more, and it ruins peoples’ lives. Instead of spending their money on self-development, people spend it on unnecessary things. There are various reasons for it: some people do not want to remain behind the fashion. For instance, modern extremely expensive gadgets are a must for people that aim to look stylish and presentable. Others simply do not want to look weird near those people, they do not want to be black sheep among the white ones. Many companies play a trick with the consumers of their products. For instance, there is a company that produces food with a high fat content. As a result, people suffer from obesity and high blood pressure. The trick is that the same company manufactures products that help people to get in shape and diet. Moreover, the same company produces pills that help people steady high blood pressure. “In October 1982, when seven people in the Chicago area died after taking Tylenol headache capsules laced with cyanide, the event was widely publicized by the national news media. Indeed, for several days it was difficult to turn on the TV or radio, or pick up a newspaper, without encountering the Tylenol poisonings. The effects of this prominent coverage were immediate: Similar poisonings were reported in cities across the country, involving the contamination of mouthwash, eyedrops, nasal spray, soda pop, even hot dogs. Dramatically billed as "copycat poisonings," these incidents, in turn, received widespread media attention. The public reaction spiralled: Many people panicked, seeking medical aid for burns and poisonings when they suffered from no more than common sore throats and stomachaches. False alarms outnumbered…”( Anthony, R. Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson 4”). From this example we can see how easy people believe everything they hear or see. Our main problem is that we know about these things, but we do nothing to reduce this destructive influence.
Advertising is the area where fraud and dishonesty use innocent people in order to reach their aim. It strikes me as having a profound impact on people, particularly on children, who are highly susceptible and vulnerable at their age. Actually, advertisements that aim to have some impact on children have a significant advantage. Despite the fact that children cannot buy the products, as they do not earn money, they have parents who will not refuse their sweet child’s request to buy some sweets, modern gadget, not very cheap toy etc. Even if the child has a lot of these things at home, it is impossible to say “No” to a person you love. This is how this area works. They play on our feelings, the same way luring us into unnecessary spending. On the other hand, we can understand people who create these false advertisements: it is their job, they also have some needs, and they need to earn some money to live. In this case, we can say that responsible for ruined lives, poverty, debts is society. Earlier people did not need any mobile phones, they preferred real communication. The time has changed and nowadays there almost are no people left that can imagine their life without mobile phone. The society itself has created the need for this gadget, and the advertising companies simply use this need to make profit.
To sum up, people nowadays let advertisements manipulate their thoughts, minds and needs
They try to persuade us to buy their products by creating an illusion that these products will make us happier and more successful: “…we can be mistaken and misled. We have seen how information about our world can be selectively edited by news and entertainment organizations or managed by experienced political consultants. The picture of the world that emerges, mistaken as it may be, serves to guide our thinking and our actions. We have also seen that it is possible for a propagandist to play on our emotions and to take advantage of our decision-making processes …” (Anthony, R. Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson 135). It is our choice – either to believe it or not and nobody can make us choose the wrong option, unless we allow them to do it!