Some people think advertising may have positive economic effects. Others think it has negative social effects because individuals are not satisfied with who they are and what they have. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
It is no exaggeration to say that we are more bombarded with advertisements than ever. Although economic activity may be facilitated by the ongoing development of the advertising industry, I personally believe the negative social impacts accompanying adverts may overwhelm the economic benefits.
Admittedly, from the overall economic perspective, advertising stimulates consumption and boosts demand for goods and services. Commonly appearing in all aspects of our lives, from magazines, newspapers, billboards and television to the more prevailing Internet, advertising aims to and often succeeds in persuading customers to buy the advertised products presented in an appealing way. However, advertisements seem less persuasive nowadays. Due to the easy access to all kinds of information, advertisements may be less persuasive nowadays since today’s consumers are so overexposed that they often tune them out completely.
The negative social effects of advertising, however, should not be underestimated. The most evident disadvantage lies in the fact that companies try to manipulate people’s minds, endeavoring to coax the audience into buying what is sold through spreading the idea that a person’s life is not good enough without the good or service being advertised. For example, advertisers of weight control products would disseminate the concept that only those skinny women can fit into delicate dresses, and thus gain popularity at work and in private life. This brainwashing advertising is responsible for women’s anxiety about appearance, especially among those who do not fit the mainstream aesthetic. In addition, commercials in a way encourage peer pressure, driving people to constantly buy the latest products and get rid of old ones, even if they still function fine. A case in point is students who are having a hard time competing with classmates in wearing branded clothing and using up-to-date electronic gadgets like iPads and fancy Bluetooth headsets.
To sum up, it is difficult to outright deny that advertising has some merits, but, because ads permeate our life, they also may spread very unhealthy ideas. A major deleterious impact of adverts is that the population of a highly commercialised society is less likely to feel satisfied with what they have and who they are. For this important reason, the overarching influence of advertising deserves careful reconsideration.