Advertising...Potential Harm?

This topic is hard to tackle.
Based on the readings I do not think that the potential benefits outweigh the potential harm. Godrej says that ‘mass advertising is about brands with the most money behind them pushing to the top.’ PG 126. This statement reminded me of the movie we watched in the beginning of class No Logo. Since we are so bombarded with different types of advertising we are so used to it and it is no longer a problem but apart of our culture. The challenge with this way of living is the unknown biases that we get on a daily basis because the majority of the ads (even though they are different products) belong to the same company.

Discernment in advertising is critical and devalued at the same time because discernment allows us to decipher what we think is beneficial for us and what is not, it is devalued because we don’t pay enough attention to what we are watching which allows room for deception. The point of money arises again in the argument of media and in this case advertising. Money is what creates the “line up” for what “news” we get. A CNN anchor Jeff Cafferty puts it this way “We are not here as a public service. We’re here to make money.” Pg 127.

I agree with Calfee that advertising is a good informational tool, but his argument suggests that it is the main tool for information and I disagree. Advertising is one way to get information to consumers but not the only way. I think advertising is a subtle little by little persuasion for a lifestyle change regardless of whether it is perceived as good or bad. If someone had enough money to put an ad out about how advertising is bad for you would there be a contradiction or cognitive dissonance? It seems like we are in a viscous cycle that doesn’t have an end.


As a Marketing and Emerging Media major, I am fascinated with the effects of advertising and am amazed at the results. We are in a culture where 30-second ads are viewed as too long and I am in awe at how we have progressed from black and white ads to product placement in books and movies. I often wonder if we have shaped our culture or if our culture has shaped us? I do know for sure even though, based on the readings, I think advertising has potential harm then good; I will not let just these two pieces shape my total view on the subject.

Again, this is a hard topic to tackle.

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