Share
Explore BrainMass

How does advertising impact society and self-image

We live in a consumer culture, saturated with mass media images. Much of our physical and informational space is for sale - billboards, TV, magazines, newspapers, even the area behind home plate - all of these spaces pitch products promising to improve our lives. We are all, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, affected by this advertising, often in very subtle ways.

The Ad and the Ego explores what critic Leslie Savan calls our "ad ad ad world." The film examines the power of modern advertising. It goes beyond an analysis of individual ads to ask how living in an advertising-saturated environment influences the way we see the world - and ourselves.

After watching the film (see below for links), discuss the following questions.

1. Do you agree with Jean Kilbourne that "advertising is a system of education that is powerful precisely because it is not considered education?" What is the difference between the effect of one ad and living in an "advertising infused environment?" Where can we still go where there's no advertising?

2. What does Kilbourne mean that advertising "sells more than products; advertising sells values...and concepts...perhaps above all, of normalcy"? How do you know what is normal? What does advertising tell you "you should be"? How is this different for males and females? Use examples.

3. Do you believe you are personally affected by advertising? If not you, then who is influenced? Why do companies pay millions of dollars to advertise?
4.Define "salvation." What does McGrane mean when he says: "The purpose of modern advertising is to generate anxiety and doubt...and then offer the entire world of consumer goods as salvation"? Do you agree that advertising's chief strategy is the "production of discontent"? Why does McGrane say, "One message you'll never hear is, 'You're OK', you don't need anything, you're fine just the way your are"?
5. What does Kilbourne mean when she says "there are tremendous penalties for women" who don't conform to culturally accepted standards of beauty? How true is it:

- that ads for women's products "make women feel incomplete, anxious, and insecure"?
- that "women have been conditioned to feel like failures" if they don't meet advertising's definition of "normal" standards of beauty?

- that "men have been conditioned to feel like failures" if they don't have a beautiful-looking woman on their arm?

6. Finally, how is the class system sustained by advertising?
Videos:

http://www.videosurf.com/video/the-ad-the-ego-1of4-1313337136
http://www.videosurf.com/video/the-ad-the-ego-2of4-1313414312
http://www.videosurf.com/video/the-ad-the-ego-3of4-1313414409
http://www.videosurf.com/video/the-ad-the-ego-4of4-1313414406

Attachments

Solution Preview

We live in a consumer culture, saturated with mass media images. Much of our physical and informational space is for sale - billboards, TV, magazines, newspapers, even the area behind home plate - all of these spaces pitch products promising to improve our lives. We are all, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, affected by this advertising, often in very subtle ways.

The Ad and the Ego explores what critic Leslie Savan calls our "ad ad ad world." The film examines the power of modern advertising. It goes beyond an analysis of individual ads to ask how living in an advertising-saturated environment influences the way we see the world - and ourselves.

After watching the film (see below for links), discuss the following questions. "see also attached articles summarizing the film if you don't want to watch the video.

1. Do you agree with Jean Kilbourne that "advertising is a system of education that is powerful precisely because it is not considered education?" What is the difference between the effect of one ad and living in an "advertising infused environment?" Where can we still go where there's no advertising?

Kilbourne is right on when she says that "advertising is a system of education that is powerful precisely because it is not considered education." Advertising is not watched with the preconceived notion that someone has an agenda and is trying to make me think something that is probably different from what I have thought up to this point. As many people have said, they believe that they are immune to propaganda and simply tune it out when in fact they are being manipulated by advertising subconsciously.
The difference between the effect of one ad and living in an "advertising infused environment" is that we can resist one ad and dissect it for meaning, subtleties and falsehoods. When living in an environment infused by advertising we will not have the time, energy or mental capacity to individually analyze each advertisement. Eventually we become like the fish who cannot describe what it is like to live in water because it is natural for him and he cannot conceive of any other type of life. If we do not remove ourselves from the influences of advertising, at least periodically, we too will become desensitized to its negative effects on us.

It is possible to some extent to live free from the reach of advertising even in our daily lives. We can choose not to watch television. We can listen to mp3 music rather than the radio where advertisements are aired. We can choose not to visit websites that sell products. However, once we leave our homes we are unable to keep from seeing ads on billboards, buses and electronic signs. Some people choose to retreat to nature for a set period of time. This can be one weekend a month and/or a longer period during the summer. Though we live most of our time in an advertising world, if we completely free ourselves from advertising for specific periods of time we will be able to identify more easily the lies and distortions imbedded in advertising and keep ourselves from becoming one of those who slavishly ...

Solution Summary

This solution examines a video called Ad and Ego. This video looks at the impact that advertising has on society and individuals. Consumerism, environmentalism, self-image, objectification of women and dissatisfaction are all potential results of advertising that are impacted by advertising. Over 2,000 words of original text along with the four video segments that were viewed.

$2.19