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The Evolution Of Advertising And Its Impact In The Modern Day

1703 words - 7 pages

Advertising has been an essential facet of marketing for as long as there have been human civilization and interaction. It is human nature to “advertise” oneself or to expose certain aspects of ones life that create an image or facade of how that person would prefer to be perceived by their community and peers. Advertising generally involves the promotion – and many times an exaggeration – of the positive aspects and the cloaking of negative attributes related to the particular item in question.

The very first form of advertising that took place in humans was the propaganda, otherwise known as intentionally skewed or misleading advertisements to fit an agenda or dogma, that rulers used to promote their image. Rulers, whether it be the ruler of a small tribe an isolated forest in Papua New Guinea or the emperor of the Roman Empire, generally promoted a self image of generosity, fairness, kindness; while simultaneously appearing stern, powerful and uncompromising. However, a public figure's true image and public image are almost never one in the same. This was a result of an attempt to gain public acceptance. The medium by which this advertising propagated during this period was almost ubiquitously by word of mouth. In the past, especially before the printing press, dissemination of information was especially slow and was susceptible to the spread of misinformation. This phenomena can be witnessed when watching the childhood game of telephone; a game in which children in a row choose either end to start by saying a random message to be passed along the entire row of children. When the game is played correctly with enough people, the message is generally skewed in some way – either from mishearing or misinterpreting the person before you. On a societal scale, this could be detrimental to a monarch or other authoritarian figure of the time.

The purpose of advertisements are to persuade the recipient of the ideas embodied by the author of said advertisement. This can be accomplished by one of three rhetorical devices or a combination thereof, either Logos, Pathos or Ethos. Each of these devices is used to appeal to logic, emotion, or credibility respectively. In a widely consumerist culture, the tool wielded in the creation of advertisements is predominately Pathos. Consumerist culture implies over consumption and, as such, an accumulation of things that are simply unnecessary. In order to persuade an individual to continue to consume unnecessarily, their emotions must be targeted because logically it doesn't make sense and the only ones that may be considered credible on the subject of consumerism are in positions to benefit from additional consumption. Utilizing Pathos in this sense could mean selling “status” or “comfort” or “love” or any other of the myriad of human emotions. Status could mean a new car when you already have two in the driveway. Comfort could mean the extra kitchen utensil that is designed for one very particular...

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