Describing advertisement in a book entitled “The Media Monopoly”, Ben H. Bagdikian said, “advertising is the art of arresting the human intelligence just long enough to get money from it” (Jeff, 2010). The advertisement has been around from as early as 3000 BC, where store signs were used to promote goods and services by Babylonians. Thanks to mass media, advertisement is now commonplace in our lives with electronic media taking the lead.
Advertising techniques and methods continue to grow each and every day and over time, this has created consumerism. Sophisticated psychological-based advertising has turned luxuries into needs and created needs where there was never one before (Jeff, 2008). On the flipside, this constant barrage of advertising and consumerism has resulted in a loss of appreciable amounts of traditional culture and replaced it with what the media prefers to call a “cultural trend” thereby creating a global culture with less diversity as time goes by.
Many people have learned that exposure to advertisement, especially from the electronic media, is as normal as breathing, eating, or sleeping. It can be compared to living near the main road where one eventually has to learn to get used to the noise of passing vehicles. But in the case of advertising, it’s not just noise but rather a constant visual reminder of the emerging trends in fashion, foods, nutrition, and generally how we should live. So essentially this affects every aspect of our lives.
Through movies and television, for example, people tend to develop job preference and work ethics because of how characters are portrayed by the advertisers or movie script writers. I particularly like the character of Jack Bauer, a fiction character who stars in the popular American television drama show, 24. He has to a larger extent made me think twice about abandoning my profession and becoming a soldier to serve my country.
In mass media, the electronic media has more influence than print media, having developed continuously since media began more than had initially been perceived. Electronic media here refers to television, radio, among others. In this epoch of globalization, electronic media is taking a dynamic advancement hence becoming more well-known all over the globe. It is no doubt thus, that electronic medium persuades more on how individuals act and make decisions as compared to print media.
This impacts (negatively or positively) on cultural values and consumerism of the general public. Each type of electronic media contributes to influencing communities and societies around the world, a thing that has led to the alteration in popular (American) culture to this day. Any advertisement is meant to exact undue influence on the cultural values of the target consumer. To accomplish this, the marketing team in every organization works hard on how to continually develop the advertising practice.
The ensuing manipulation bestowed upon the world populace results in many diverse trends. It’s important to note that since there has been rapid technological advancement in the electronic devices, every new invention fascinates the people and in the process of wanting to acquire the latest in the market, that is when advertisers take advantage and spread their information. This conveniently impacts on culture, lifestyle, and consumerism.
Under the hurricane of constantly changing values of what the media has declared as fashionable, healthy, and even what is needed or not, the human mind begins to lose a sense of individual worth. Sophisticated advertising also increases depression, a trend which is very destructive. This is because with constant advertisement all over, the human mind begins to buy what the media feeds it with which means that nothing matters but how much it is worth and how much it is owned.
This devalues personal feelings and self-worth because these have no value in consumerism. On account of advertising, for example, individuals may begin to question their relationship with their spouses, friend, and sometimes parents. This may result in individuals slowly sinking into low self-esteem and hence depression. In a developed country like America, for example, the rise in this kind of depression is alarming, to say the least, and the number of cases continues to rise unabated, particularly in urban areas. Statistics show that due to the ever-increasing advertisement in urban areas coupled with the fast pace of lifestyle contributes immensely to the rise in mental, psychological and physical cases in today” s American society (Robertson A. 2008)
Electronic media has generally taken advertising and consumerism to a whole new different level, and the rapid proliferation of internet promises to take things in the same direction. Among the major impacts of concern include pollution, loss of culture, and a surge in mental cases.
This is a destructive trend that ought to be checked.T he media, of course, are beneficiaries of their advertisement and cannot be relied upon to institute changes that will reverse the trend. The million dollar question therefore is, are we as a society in this century ready to contend with the impact electronic media advertising brings?
Jeff, (2010). Advertising through Electronic Media. Web.
Robertson, A. (2010). The Impact of Electronic Media Advertising on Consumerism and Cultural Values. University of Phoenix. Web.