View Full Version : The Insanity, or not, of advertising.

Jim Nickerson
04-04-08, 01:48 AM
This is neither a rant nor rave, but rather an observation (unoriginal, I'm sure) of the insanity (depending on which side one is:advertiser or audience), incredulity, and ridiculousness of so much, perhaps most all, advertising.

My biggest exposure to advertising is when I watch drama on TV--not so much this year because of writers' strike--but I do enjoy good mysteries except for the interruption by adverts.

One genre that sticks in my mind are women's cosmetic adverts, you know such as makeup, age-defying creams, no-smudge lipstick, and stuff (shampoos and conditioners) that makes the models' long hair, glimmer, supple, shiny, etc.

So many of us Americans apparently have a real hangup about getting older, and I am older but don't to my knowledge have any hangup about the reality of staying alive. The very notion of doing anything that defies the reality of ageing is pure idiocy in my book. The advertising firms employ actresses or models with near or perfect complexions, wrinkle-free skin, teeth as straight as nearly possible to achieve, and show them rubbing shit on their faces that alledgedly reverses or slows the wrinkling process of ageing--I saw a head-line just in the past couple of days suggesting some complication of Botox migrating to the brain--didn't waste time reading it. If Botox does migrate, it serves to show one downside of seeking eternal youthfulness, but if true that complication will be a windfall to lawyers, and no pity for the idiots' brains affected by presumed migration because in my opinion their brains were already defective. An extraordinary line is these adverts is: this cream is like surgery but without the costs and pain. Those that are truly idiots subject themselves to the cost and pain of surgery in attempts to camoflage the effects of being lucky enough to stay alive. The only way to true "eternal youth" is to die young.

Think of what a woman hears (and perhaps some men too) "Here is stuff that is way less expensive than surgery, that will stop or slow down my ageing face, what a feaking deal!" What is $60 or $200 for a vial of cream compared to the costs and pain of surgery. No contest.

Here's another genre. Pay attention to adverts for things that you really don't need. One way I try to define what is "needed" is to think in terms of a economic situation in which money is hard to come by, i.e. a situation that forces people into frugality. Here is my vote for the most useless company: SC Johnson, A Family Company. (http://www.scjohnson.com/family/) and I am not spamming iTulip. The most sickening is Glade Air Care--what total bullshit! Second is Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic shower cleaner. Unbelievable in my book!

Then in this age of increasing awareness of the cost of gasoline, how many adverts do you see of muscle cars speeding around and skidding around showing their asses, i.e. big horsepower engines.

None of this shit would exist except that we are by and large a country of fools.

Rajiv a while back posted a series titled The Century of Self (http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3366)(four hours and I did not watch any of it) along with some commentary and what I took as an alleged statement by a Wall Street Banker,

"We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. [...] Man's desires must overshadow his needs."

I guess I can accept that a true statement because it strikes me as entirely plausible. And if it in fact was stated, it certainly removes any sense responsibilty for their actions of the many helpless shopaholics we have in society. American's like that: actions without responsibility. That series apparently also elucidates Curtis's impression of how this same shit is applied to politics, so all of you dufusses who think any of the current batch of contenders for US President portends a "change" in how the US operates, stay alive and experience the disappointment regardles of who you come to believe is the "best answer" for your futures.

Maybe this is a rant.

Anyone have an similar observations, or are you all in favor of the usefulness of brainwashing, oops!, I mean advertising.

04-04-08, 07:34 AM
Jim, Yes it is a rant.

Some more observations about marketing/advertising:

-Econ 101: Man has an insatiable desire to want.

-Underlying premise of all advertising: Use our product and you will be a better person/have a better life.

-Marketers have one goal: To transfer your money into their pocket.

-Models used are extraordinarily attractive and are fantasy role models for the end user. i.e ever note how male models in Viagra ads are all highly successful, very fit men living dynamic, fun, upper middle class life styles; unlike the reality which are more likely people who are obese, highly stressed and poorly conditioned.

Re-read thread on how much car should you finance for a good primer on immunizing oneself to marketing lies.


04-12-08, 01:33 PM

here is another article for you - Are You Unhappy? Is It Because of Consumer Addiction? (http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/82013/)

The pattern of out-of-control consumption in the U.S. is not too different from the well-known behavioral patterns of substance abusers.
What A Way To Go concludes that industrial civilization -- and its end product, consumerism -- has disconnected us from nature, the cycle of life, our communities, our families and, ultimately, ourselves. This unnatural, inorganic, materialistic way of living, coupled with a marked decline in society's moral and ethical standards -- what the French call anomie -- has created a kind of pathology that produces pain and emptiness, for which addictive behavior becomes the primary symptom and consumption the preferred drug of choice.

"What most of us experience when it comes to addiction," says Erickson, "is a pattern of continually seeking more of what it is we don't really want and, therefore, never being fully satisfied. And as long as we are never satisfied, we continue to seek more, while our real needs are never being met."

"Addiction in one form or another characterizes every aspect of industrial society," wrote the social philosopher Morris Berman, and dependence on substances or corporeal pleasures is no different from dependence on "prestige, career achievement, world influence, wealth, the need to build more ingenious bombs or the need to exercise control over everything."
Consumption without need is the hallmark of addiction, and "consumerism" is defined as "the equating of personal happiness with the purchasing of material possessions and consumption." The pattern of out-of-control consumption in the United States, which per capita consumes 70 times more than India, with three times the U.S. population, is not qualitatively different from the well-known patterns of behavior of substance abusers. In fact, it looks as if the United States just finished with the worst binge of its life

04-12-08, 02:32 PM
In fact, it looks as if the United States just finished with the worst binge of its life

The binge may be over, but the desire remains. Look out for people with hangovers or symptoms of withdrawal from addiction in the years ahead: irritability, anxiety, depression, and so on. :(