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The Forum > General Discussion > Advertising the real villain or just another Henchman

Advertising the real villain or just another Henchman

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A pet hate of mine is ‘advertising’ not because it tends to annoy but because it spreads ‘misinformation’. A distinction that anywhere else would be seen as simply ‘lying’.
I think there is some thing sick about a society that is dependent on both the magic pudding concept (consumption has no bad consequences) and the need to spin to survive
How many ads have you seen that linking unhealthy products to fun/enjoyment? Exactly why do we need to upgrade our mobile phones every 10/12 months? I still use a 7 year old phone… it works. But get a new battery for it and…good luck.

Likewise cars to freedom, food products that advertise ‘low fat’ but don’t mention that the diabolical sugar content .

Cleaning products 80% are usually only a variation on a theme and most could be replaced with cheaper less toxic more basic alternatives…but where’s the profit in that?

While I don’t necessarily fear GM foods I do fear the corporation that benefits… the industries block us knowing its inclusion why? it’s inconvenient (profit reducing ) for THEM we the consumer may not buy their product! But wait, I thought that was both ‘market forces’ (‘capitalism’) and a Democratic right. Apparently those rights only apply when they conform to corporate profits ambitions.

Do you really understand the star rating/energy usage and capacity numbers?
Ask how they’re arrived at.
e.g. the front loading washing machine.
7kg capacity? Often ONLY on the least efficient program.
Cold water wash? (they say the enzymes need heat yet not in top loaders[European design its the real reason]) the machine either uses unaccounted hot water or heats… energy saving?

Informed consumers making informed choices? You think?. Even those who are CAPABLE of making ‘informed’ decisions are blocked. From unreadable/ incomprehensible labelling to uninformative brochures and ‘thick as a brick’ consumer information services.
God help the less persistent and or capable any wonder the poor/ignorant the easily led are over weight and over consumed.
Posted by examinator, Saturday, 3 January 2009 8:36:33 AM
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Sorry examinator, I can't really support this. I can sympathise, but at the end of the day, I always try to envision the alternative.

We do have very basic advertising standards which can kick in when there is outright lying. Most of the time, the sins are of omission or exaggeration rather than outright lies.
I don't think you can effectively prevent those without going overboard and creating some bloated government nitpicking bureaucracy. Poetic licence must exist, even if it's usually misused.

I take all advertising and information with a grain of salt. If you think it's bad in Oz, try developed countries. Figuring out the reality of products is damn near impossible, all you can do is try to buy from reputable sellers.
Posted by TurnRightThenLeft, Sunday, 4 January 2009 4:24:26 PM
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Dear examinator,

We are literally bombarded with ads, receiving
many hundreds of commercial messages each day
from such sources as TV, radio, newspapers, and
billboards. We tend to take this deluge
for granted, but it does have certain effects.

Of course, the main function of advertising is to
encourage sales, but it also has latent functions.

Advertising creates markets where
there were no markets before, by arousing consumer
desires for items or services that were previously
nonexistent. The implication is that the economy is
not merely satisfying human 'needs,' but is endlessly
creating more of them.

The further implication is
that modern consumers are learning always to want
'more.' And, that each increment of 'more' may leave
them just as unsatisfied as before, yet seeking still
'more' in the hope of achieving greater satisfaction.
Where will this end?

Ageism against the elderly is a subtle but
pervasive effect of ads. Take for example,
television commercials. These ads almost always
present youthful, attractive, active people.

When older characters appear, they are likely to have
health problems and to be promoting health-related

Old people are almost always totally absent from
commercials about cars, appliances, clothing, or
home-care products.

Advertising, like so many other aspects of the media,
often reflects the "fountain of youth" theme that
courses through our culture in which people are
encouraged to believe that creams, soaps, lotions,
colorings, vitamins, diet pills, exercise machines,
sports cars, or whatever will make them look like
a young adult forever. As a result,we have health
problems,(anorexia, dieting), and,
cosmetic surgery obessions.

Then there is the fairly traditional gender
stereotyping in ads. Women are typically
portrayed either as sex objects or as
domesticated housewives. Glamourous models
stroke new cars, or are sent into raptures
by the odour of a particular after-shave.

Ads directed at women show women delighted
beyond measure at the discovery of a new soup,
or thrilled into ecstasy by the blinding
whiteness of their wash or toilet bowl.

All we can do is try not to be influenced
by advertising, and
be very selective in what we chose to buy.
Posted by Foxy, Sunday, 4 January 2009 7:41:01 PM
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I guess advertising for everyday consumer products is bearable because you can just ignore the ads. When I sit in front of the TV, apart from irritating me (mainly a certain homewares company), hardly any of the ads actually influence me. Maybe I'm lucky.

But misleading advertising gets bad when finance companies tout their products to gullible customers, the guys at the top make their profits and bonuses, and the customer loses his hard-earned money. This takes the cake.

Then there's the clever drip feed from technology companies that always seem to have a bug in their software that can only be fixed "with the new improved upgrade". They string people along with promises that they only partially honour, thus keeping themselves in business for the maximum time.

It's pretty hard to regulate against this stuff in a competitive market (no sooner have you shut one avenue that another one is opened by a clever marketer), but much of what's on TV borders on the immoral.
Posted by RobP, Sunday, 4 January 2009 8:41:40 PM
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I'm with you completely on this one, examinator. It's a real no-brainer as far as I'm concerned.

I disagree with TRTL. I think there's quite a lot that government could do to reduce the harm done by advertising. I'm sure that eventually environmental, health and social problems will escalate to the point of forcing governments into taking a tougher line anyway, as has already occurred with cigarette advertising, for example.

Some further government bans which I feel would be of benefit are:

Alcohol advertising - would help reduce the road toll, domestic violence, public health costs, public nuisance offences, and much more.

Junk food advertising - would help promote healthier eating which would improve general health levels and reduce public health costs.

Advertising that sexualises children - would help reduce the development of image problems and eating disorders and give children back their childhood.

Highway advertising - would reduce visual pollution and driver distraction.

None of these bans would be overly complex or difficult to implement and enforce. We've all come to accept and appreciate the banning of cigarette advertising and likewise I think the time has come for a further reigning-in of the advertising industry.

Other advertising I consider problematic includes: car ads that glamourise speed and vehicles heavy on fuel, ads of communications products that prematurely and needlessly consign former models to wasteful obsolescence, ads for air-conditioning, swimming pools and Macmansion-type housing, pharmacuetical ads and ads for slimming fads and cosmetic surgery. And no doubt I could soon think of many more without much difficulty.

I think it's time we the people, through our elected governments, got a whole lot smarter on the issue of advertising, and stopped allowing faceless corporate executives and marketing gurus free reign to inflict on us any fad that takes their fancy, and in any manner they please, as we currently do.
Posted by Bronwyn, Monday, 5 January 2009 1:32:59 AM
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We have regulations which outlaw lies in advertising.

We have an advertising oversight panel and standards board.

But no one can protect the uselessly gullible from their own folly.

If you want to have a whine, send your specific complaint to the

imho, if it ain’t busted, don’t waste time fixing it.

The standards of expectation will be based on the common one, that of a “reasonable person” but sometimes those who complain are beyond 3 SD from that presumption.
Posted by Col Rouge, Monday, 5 January 2009 7:39:07 AM
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