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Advertising Manipulates People Essay

1098 words - 4 pages

In our society, we are constantly surrounded by advertising. From the time our alarm clock wakes us up in the morning until we set it at night, our brains are bombarded with advertisements. Ads play a huge role in our lives, telling us what to buy, what car to drive, how our families should interact, and what we should look like. The business of Advertising is built on persuasion. Advertisements attempt to persuade us that we are not rich enough, pretty enough, thin enough, family oriented enough, and the list goes on. To put it more clearly, the advertising empire is built on the exploitation of the fears of the American people. They take the knowledge of our fears and attempt to convince us that if we buy their product, we will achieve all the things we need to attain perfection.

The possessing of material goods and wealth as a determinate of our status and self-worth is a huge emphasis of advertising. It works by convincing people that the amount of money they have, and the quality of the goods that they own will gain them social acceptance. Advertising is then exploiting a persons fear of rejection. We are constantly being bombarded with images of famous people in designer clothing, driving expensive cars, and living in enormous mansions. We are taught that this is a portrait of success, and to be happy you must be successful. Therefore, the possession of these items will endow the possessor with happiness. The rich and famous are viewed as the most socially acceptable persons in our world. Advertising uses the images of these famous people to convince the rest of us average Americans that we need to buy all of the things that the celebrities have in order to be accepted and consequently happy. This is why celebrity endorsements are such a huge part of advertising. If a company wants to sell a product such as basketball sneakers for instance, who better to feature in a commercial than a famous basketball star? People then become convinced that if they buy this particular brand of shoes, they will be able to play basketball as well as that player, gaining them fame, fortune, and everything else that goes with it. If a woman wears the brand of designer clothing as a well-known actress, she will gain recognition and acceptance.

These tactics are especially effective in targeting women. Flip through any women’s fashion magazine; what do you see on practically every other page? That’s right, an advertisement. The majority of them are for some type of self-improvement product. In the February 2004 issue of Cosmopolitan, there are one hundred and seven pages of advertisements. The majority of these ads are for make-up, hair care products, clothing, and diet aids. All of them are aimed at women, at their desire to be thinner, prettier, and have the nicest hair and clothing. The reason they are effective is because they play off of women’s fear that if they are not and do not have all of these things, then they will not be accepted by...

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