The Ultimate Intention of Complex TV Advertisements Question

Description

Questions from the Readings assigned from the PDF-book text(s) per
the Syllabus for Week 5. Tuesday: Let the (not so) Good Times
Roll–1970’s (Part 1): > The “Illusion of Inclusion” (Advertising “Black” America)> Public Suspicions and Government RegulationsThursday: Let the (not so) Good Times Roll–1970’s (Part 2): > Social Issues and Selling Change> The Economic Crash of the late ‘70’sHOMEWORK: (Assignment Type 2) Readings and Responses (4/8) – AAC: Ch 4, “The Effects of Advertising” Questions
to Respond to, in a half-to-full page writeup in TOTAL (i.e., NOT a
half-to-full page writeup for each), answering your choice of TWO below:Name three of the elements that should be considered in the analysis of what the author calls a “complex television commercial”Why the Macintosh commercial of 1984 is considered so important in the history of advertising?What is intertextuality and why it is important for advertising?What is the main interpretation the author gave to the Macintosh ad of 1984?What are the mythical components included in the ad, according to the author?What is the quote “Good campaigns end up being relatively inexpensive” refers to?

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STUDIES IN CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION
General Editor: John Fiske
ADVERTISING
AS
COMMUNICATION
IN THE SAME SERIES
On Video Roy Armes
Popular Culture: The Metropolitan Experience
lain Chambers
Understanding Radio Andrew Crisell
Introduction to Communication Studies
John Fiske
Understanding Television
Edited by Andrew Goodwin and Garry Whannel
Understanding News John Hartley
Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture
Henry Jenkins
The Ideological Octopus: An Exploration of Television and
its Audience Justin Lewis
Case Studies and Projects in Communication
Neil McKeown
An Introduction to Language and Society
Martin Montgomery
Key Concepts in Communication and Cultural Studies
Tim O’Sullivan, John Hartley, Danny Saunders,
Martin Montgomery and John Fiske
Communications and the ‘Third World’ Geoffrey Reeves
Television Drama: Agency, Audience and Myth
John Tulloch
Film as Social Practice Graeme Turner
A Primer for Daily Life Susan Willis
ADVERTISING
AS
COMMUNICATION
Gillian Dyer
LONDON AND NEW YORK
First published in 1982 by
Methuen & Co. Ltd
This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2009.
To purchase your own copy of this or any of
Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please
go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.
© 1982 Gillian Dyer
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by
any electric, mechanical or other means, now
known or hereafter invented, including photocopying
and recording, or in any information storage or
retrieval system, without permission in writing
from the publishers.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Dyer, Gillian.
Advertising as communication. —(Studies in culture and
communication)
1. Advertising
I. Title II. Series
659.1 HF5821
Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication Data
Dyer, Gillian.
Advertising as communication
(Studies in culture and communication)
Bibliography: p.
Includes index.
1. Advertising. I. Title II. Series.
HF 5821.D89 1982 659.1 82–8134
ISBN 0-203-15834-2 Master e-book ISBN
ISBN 0-203-17730-4 (Adobe ebook Reader Format)
ISBN 0-415-02781-0 (Print Edition)
For my parents, Bertram and Gwen Dyer
CONTENTS
General editor’s preface
xi
Preface
xii
Acknowledgements
xiii
Introduction
1
What is advertising?
2
Commercial consumer advertising
3
Mass communications
7
Public relations
8
1 The origins and development of advertising
11
Mercuries and newsheets
11
An ‘all-deafening blast of puffery’
24
The break-up of the column lay-out in newspapers
25
Slogans and catch phrases
27
Bubbles
27
Suggestions for further work
31
2 The new advertising
33
Organizing the market
33
The rise of popular journalism
34
‘Daddy, what did you do in the Great War?’
35
The never-never
36
The nerve war
38
The home front
41
Note
44
Suggestions for further work
44
3 The new media
47
Post-war developments
47
Television
48
Commercial television
48
Commercial television and the BBC
50
Diversiication
51
viii Contents
The pattern for the future
52
The press
53
Advertising sponsorship in the press
54
Advertising as a publishing authority
55
The crisis
56
Note
57
Suggestions for further work
57
4 The effects of advertising
59
Effects research
59
Market research
60
Sociological research
61
Advertising’s effectiveness
63
Cultural effects
64
Images
65
The consumers
66
Notes
67
Suggestions for further work
67
5 What do advertisements mean?
69
Approaches to the study of meaning
69
Lines of appeal
73
Approaches to form and content
74
Props and settings
83
Analysing photographs
84
Content analysis
85
Notes
88
Suggestions for further work
88
6 Semiotics and ideology
91
Semiotics—concepts and methods
93
Iconic, indexical and symbolic signs
98
Syntagmatic and paradigmatic sign relations
100
Denotation and connotation
101
Codes
104
Notes
108
Suggestions for further work
108
Contents
7 The language of advertising
ix
111
Words have feelings
111
The tone of voice
112
The role of advertising language
114
Language and the law
117
Key words
118
Figurative language
120
The ‘absence’ of language—calligraphy
124
Suggestions for further work
124
8 The rhetoric of advertising
127
A theory of rhetoric
127
Visual rhetoric
129
Suggestions for further work
149
Conclusion
151
Appendices
155
References
177
Bibliography
181
Index
185
GENERAL EDITOR’S PREFACE
This series of books on different aspects of communication is designed to meet the needs of
the growing number of students coming to study this subject for the first time. The authors
are experienced teachers or lecturers who are committed to bridging the gap between the
huge body of research available to the more advanced student, and what the new student
actually needs to get him started on his studies.
Probably the most characteristic feature of communication is its diversity: it ranges from
the mass media and popular culture, through language to individual and social behaviour.
But it identifies links and a coherence within this diversity. The series will reflect the structure of its subject. Some books will be general, basic works that seek to establish theories
and methods of study applicable to a wide range of material; others will apply these theories and methods to the study of one particular topic. But even these topic-centred books
will relate to each other, as well as to the more general ones. One particular topic, such as
advertising or news or language, can only be understood as an example of communication
when it is related to, and differentiated from, all the other topics that go to make up this
diverse subject.
The series, then, has two main aims, both closely connected. The first is to introduce
readers to the most important results of contemporary research into communication
together with the theories that seek to explain it. The second is to equip them with appropriate methods of study and investigation which they will be able to apply directly to their
everyday experience of communication.
If readers can write better essays, produce better projects and pass more exams as a
result of reading these books I shall be very satisfied; but if they gain a new insight into
how communication shapes and informs our social life, how it articulates and creates our
experience of industrial society, then I shall be delighted. Communication is too often taken
for granted when it should be taken to pieces.
John Fiske
PREFACE
This book is meant to provide some basic ideas, concepts and material for the study of
advertising. It draws on work from a number of fields but revolves around the core concept
of communication. Much of the book is in the form of a survey of existing material, and
the second half in particular deals with questions of method and how to study advertisements rather than with extended examples of analysis. I hope that this provides enough
groundwork for readers to pursue some of the issues raised in more depth, and especially to
‘decode’ one of the most ubiquitous and tenacious forms of communication and ideology
in society. Advertising influences our thoughts, feelings and lives; we need to be aware of
how it operates and equip ourselves with information and ideas on how far we think it a
necessary and useful form of social communication. I hope this book contributes in some
way to that project and will help people become more aware of the images and values
perpetuated by advertising, and the forms and structures which carry and determine what
they mean.
I would like to thank Julie Staniforth and Christine Barker for their excellent typing,
a number of friends and colleagues who have helped with suggestions and ideas for this
book, in particular Helen Baehr and David Child for their involvement and support. Clare
Richardson kindly lent the newspapers from which the annoucements in chapter 1 were
taken. Tim Bell of D’Arcy MacManus and Masius, and George Harrison of the History
of Advertising Trust, also provided help with historical material and went to a great deal
of trouble on my behalf. Special thanks should go to John Fiske, the general editor of this
series, for his helpful advice and patience. I would also like to acknowledge a debt of gratitude to my parents for their general encouragement and interest in my work.
Gillian Dyer
1982
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The publishers and I would like to thank the following for their permission to reproduce
material: A. & F.Pears Ltd for plates 4 and 5; the Imperial War Museum for plate 6; Hamlyn
Publishing Group Ltd for plate 7; Cadbury Typhoo Ltd for plate 8; Arthur H. Cox & Co.
Ltd for plate 9; Jøtul Norcem UK Ltd for plate 10; Pendleton Woolen Mills and Danecraft
International for plate 11; the International Gold Corporation for plate 12; Renault UK Ltd
for plate 13; Lever Brothers Ltd for plate 14a; Philips Industries for plate 14b; Van den
Berghs for 14c; Colman’s Foods for plates 15 and 22; Birds Eye for plate 16; R.J.Reynolds
Tobacco International, Inc. for plate 17; Rowntree Mackintosh Ltd for plate 18; Norman
Craig & Kummel Ltd for plates 19 and 20; Kraft Foods Ltd for plate 21; John Walker &
Sons Ltd and Parim Ltd for plate 23; Brandmark International Ltd for plate 24; White
Horse Distillers Ltd for plate 25; Record Pasta Foods Ltd for plate 26; Young & Rubicam
Ltd (International Distillers and Vinters Home Trade Ltd) for plate 27; Jacques Durand for
table 1; the Advertising Association for tables 2–9 and Appendix IV; Campaign for tables
10 and 11. Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders, where this has not been
possible we apologize to those concerned.
INTRODUCTION
Every day and for most of our lives we see and hear many advertisements. Even if you don’t
read a newspaper or watch television, and walk around the streets with your eyes down, you
will find it impossible to avoid some form of publicity, even if it’s only a trade display at a
local store, uninvited handbills pushed through the letter box or cards displayed in the window of the corner newsagent. We usually take advertisements for granted because they are
so pervasive, but many people, not least among them the advertisers themselves, claim that
they are one of the most important influences in our lives. Not only do advertisements sell
goods and services, they are commodities themselves, ‘the most ubiquitous form in which
we encounter commercial photography’, according to a critic of advertising, Judith Williamson (1978, p. 57). In a sense advertising is the ‘official art’ of the advanced industrial
nations of the west. It fills our newspapers and is plastered all over the urban environment;
it is a highly organized institution, involving many artists, writers and film directors, and
comprises a large proportion of the output of the mass media. It also influences the policies
and the appearance of the media and makes them of central importance to the economy.
Advertisements advance and perpetuate the ideas and values which are indispensable to a
particular economy system. Advertisers want us to buy things, use them, throw them away
and buy replacements in a cycle of continuous and conspicuous consumption.
Some advertisements are silly, inaccurate, misleading, or just plain irritating. On the
other hand, we have probably all had occasion to say ‘That’s a good advertisement’. They
can be skilfully designed and produced, very attractive, entertaining and funny. But we
should not lose sight of their ideological function, which is linked to their economic function, nor of the real messages that lie behind their superficial gloss.
The primary function of advertising is, we are told, to introduce a wide range of consumer goods to the public and thus to support the free market economy, but this is clearly
not its only role; over the years it has become more and more involved in the manipulation
of social values and attitudes, and less concerned with the communication of essential
information about goods and services. In this respect it could be argued that advertising
nowadays fulfils a function traditionally met by art or religion. Some critics of advertising have even suggested that it operates in the same way as myths in primitive societies,
providing people with simple stories and explanations in which values and ideals are conveyed and through which people can organize their thoughts and experiences and come to
make sense of the world they live in. Varda Langholz Leymore, in her book The Hidden
Myth (1975) argues that like myth, advertising reinforces accepted modes of behaviour
and acts as an anxiety-reducing mechanism resolving contradictions in a complex or confusing society. She remarks, ‘To the constant nagging dilemmas of the human condition,
advertising gives a simple solution… [It] simultaneously provokes anxiety and resolves
it’ (p. 156). In a similar vein Raymond Williams (1980) has called advertising ‘the magic
system,…a highly organized and professional system of magical inducements and satisfactions functionally very similar to magical systems in simpler societies but rather strangely
2 Advertising as Communication
co-existent with highly developed scientific technology’ (p. 185). And the critic Fred Inglis
(1972) describes the advertiser as a modern-day shaman whose ‘anonymous vantage in
society permits him to articulate a novel magic which offers to meet the familiar pains of
a particular society and history, to soften or sharpen ambition, bitterness, solitude, lust,
failure and rapacity’ (p. 78).
What is advertising?
In its simplest sense the word ‘advertising’ means ‘drawing attention to something’, or
notifying or informing somebody of something. You can advertise by word of mouth, quite
informally and locally, and without incurring great expense. But if you want to inform a
large number of people about something, you might need to advertise in the more familiar
sense of the word, by public announcement. If you put up a notice in a local newsagent’s
shop (preferably near a bus stop), design a poster or buy some space in a local newspaper,
you are likely to attract the attention of more people to the information you wish to communicate than if you simply pass the word around friends and neighbours. You could go
further and distribute leaflets as well, get someone to carry a placard around, even broadcast on local radio or organize a publicity stunt. However, you might not be content simply
to convey certain facts, such as, for example:
For sale: four 6-week-old kittens
Contact M.James Tel. 324810
and leave it at that. You might wish to add a bit of emphasis to your message by proclaiming:
Adorable, fluffy kittens (house-trained) need a good
home. Black and white. An opportunity not to be
missed. Phone 342810. Hurry, only a few left!
There is a certain temptation, if we have anything to say or something to sell, to draw attention to our notice by exaggerating the facts or appealing to people’s emotions:
Troubles at home? Marriage under strain?
These kittens will change your life, and will
bring joy and peace to your family.
And this is of course where all the controversy about advertising arises.
People who criticise advertising in its current form argue that advertisements create
false wants and encourage the production and consumption of things that are incompatible with the fulfilment of genuine and urgent human needs. Advertising, it is claimed, is
an irrational system which appeals to our emotions and to anti-social feelings which have
nothing to do with the goods on offer. Advertisements usually suggest that private acquisition is the only avenue to social success and happiness—they define private acquisition and
competitiveness as a primary goal in life, at the expense of less tangible rewards like better
health care and social services. The consumer economy is said to divert funds from socially
useful and human needs and make us greedy, materialistic and wasteful.
Introduction 3
On the other hand, those who defend advertising say that it is economically necessary
and has brought many benefits to society. It contributes to society’s wellbeing and raises
people’s standard of living by encouraging the sales of mass-produced goods, thus stimulating production and creating employment and prosperity. Those people who would do
away with advertising are accused of trying to deny cheaper goods and services to the
majority, and of being puritanical, élitist and economically shortsighted. Furthermore, the
champions of advertising say that people are perfectly free to ignore advertisements and
that ads do not brainwash people because a number of advertising campaigns fail to attract
customers.
Indeed it is perfectly true to say that consumer goods have brought comfort and pleasure to a large number of people and have alleviated want and hardship. I would not wish
to argue that this is morally bad. In a complex society such as our own, consumer goods
are necessary and important and on the whole have been a welcome development of the
modern world. But along with commodities we need information about them: about their
price, function, durability, quality, etc. This kind of information will help us make wise and
rational consumer choices.
The question we have to ask ourselves is whether consumer advertising gives us enough,
or indeed any accurate information, and whether the economic function of advertising is so
vital that we cannot afford to do without it whatever the cultural, social and personal drawbacks. We also need to ask who is ultimately benefiting from the advertising of consumer
goods—society as a whole (as it is claimed), or a few powerful commodity manufacturers
and business corporations.
Commercial consumer advertising
There are many kinds of advertising: commercial consumer advertising is perhaps the kind
most visible in our society. It commands more expenditure, space and professional skill
than any other type and is directed towards a mass audience. It therefore provides the focus
of this book. However, the other types are worth mentioning briefly:
Trade and technical advertisements are usually confined to special interest magazines
like Hi-Fi News, Amateur Gardener or Engineering Today. They are aimed at the expert,
professional or hobbyist. Most trade advertising is informative and useful—the customers
are usually well able to evaluate the claims of cost, value, use and so on. The advertiser/supplier probably regards the customer as a ‘user’ and not a ‘consumer’—a crucial distinction
first proposed by Raymond Williams (1980) in his authoritative critique of advertising.
Prestige, business and inancial advertising is a growing sector of the advertising industry. Ads for large companies or the publishing of yearly financial results in newspapers
are usually designed to promote public confidence and favourable business images. Such
advertising is not usually intended to influence sales directly. You will often see ads on
television for such enterprises as the giant petrochemical firms or the large clearing banks
which present themselves as disinterested pieces of public information and which are
designed to make us think of these private corporations as benevolent, public-spirited and
socially responsible. The inherent message in this type of campaign is the promotion of the
capitalist enterprise and the values of the acquisitive society.
4
Advertising as Communication
Small ads are usually straightforward and informative and have long since been relegated to the small print of the classified sections of newspapers or to such journals as
Exchange and Mart.
Government and charity advertising is usually non-profit making, but often uses the
persuasive techniques of commercial advertising. However, we should remember that an
organization like the Health Education Council has a very small amount of money to promote anti-smoking in comparison with the giant tobacco firms who spend a great deal on
encouraging us to smoke and thereby, by all accounts, to damage our health.
How then is advertising related to the economic systems of modern society? The sheer
volume of goods or commodities which flow from modern factories would cause serious
problems for the manufacturers unless they were quickly consumed and unless the general
ideology of society was in tune with acquisitiveness and the ‘way of life’ associated with
the consumer society. Advertising is one of the means used by manufacturing and service
industries to ensure the distribution of commodities to people in society at large and is
designed to create demands for such goods and services. It helps the manufacturer or business to secure a section of the market by organizing and controlling people’s tastes and
behaviour in the interests of company profit and capital growth. Advertising works not only
on behalf of specific goods and services, it also assumes certain characteristics which are
less directly connected to selling. It tries to manipulate people into buying a way of life as
well as goods. In the words of the economist J.K.Galbraith (1970), advertising keeps the
atmosphere ‘suitably consumptive’.
The more abundant goods become and the more removed they are from basic physical
and social needs, the more open we are to appeals which are psychologically grounded
argues Galbraith. Although the goods on display in shops and supermarkets do not usually
relate to our urgent needs, we nonetheless desire them. Advertising’s central function is to
create desires that previously did not exist. Thus advertising arouses our interests and emotions in favour of goods and more goods, and thereby actually creates the desires it seeks to
satisfy. Our desires are aroused and shaped by the demands of the,system of production, not
by the needs of society or of the individual. It is thus the advertiser’s task to try to persuade
rather than inform.
It is not really surprising that advertisements are unreliable as sources of information
when one consideres that they come from biased or interested quarters, namely the producers of the advertised products. The producers are hardly likely to provide us with neutral
information. An analogous situation would be if the authors of books or the directors of
films wrote their own reviews in the newspaper columns, instead of ‘disinterested’ journalist-critics. And because the advertisers (‘reviewers’) subsidize the press this probably
has the effect of restraining proper professional commodity ‘reviews’. Information about
commodities is valuable if it is impartial and objective, and this can only be achieved if the
writers of advertisements which convey that information are financially independent of the
product advertiser; but this is not the case with our present press and commercial TV systems. It could be argued that if the subsidy of the media by advertising had not developed in
the way that it has, then newspapers and possibly television would have devoted more space
and time to giving consumer information in the same way that they provide reviews of cultural events, and information on horse races or the Stock Exchange. In fact, advertising not
only provides deficient and suspect information; in addition its development in the media
Introduction 5
has indirectly led to the suppression of other channels of information about commodities.
In a famous essay on the economics of advertising, Nicholas Kaldor drew an important
distinction between the informative and the persuasive element in advertising. His description is worth quoting here in full:
We must sharply distinguish here, of course, between the purely informative element
in advertising and the persuasive element (which belongs to another branch of the
argument). If, to take an example, XX Ltd spend large sums annually on advertisements, saying ‘XX is good for you’, this may be an effective method of increasing
the sales of XX beer, but the informative content of the advertisement is merely this:
‘XX Ltd believe that the consumption of XX is beneficial to health’. Whether this is
a valuable piece of information or not, its information value is exhausted as soon as
the public are first told of it. Any further repetition of the message, and its display
in prominent form, does not serve the purpose of information but of persuasion, it
serves the purpose of inducing the public to believe it as well, and to keep it in the
foreground of consciousness. While as a means of persuasion it may be very effective, its information value is zero. (Moreover assuming the message to be true, it
might reach the public in many other ways—through the recommendation of doctors,
for instance—it does not necessarily follow that without the advertisement the public
would have remained ignorant of it.) (1950/1, p. 111)
One of the major criticisms of advertising is that it makes us too materialistic by persuading us, for instance, that we can achieve certain desirable goals in life through possessing things in a cycle of continuous and conspicuous consumption. But, paradaxically,
modern advertising shows that we are not materialistic enough. If we were, presentation
of the objects being sold would be enough in itself. But consumer advertising presents its
goods along with other personal and social aspirations, and as Raymond Williams argues:
We have a cultural pattern in which the objects are not enough but must be validated
in fantasy by association with social and personal meanings which in a different
cultural pattern might be more directly available. (1980, p. 185)
If we were sensibly materialistic, then, as Williams points out,
beer would be enough for us, without the additional promise that in drinking it we
show ourselves to be more manly, young in heart or neighbourly. A washing machine
would be a useful machine to wash clothes, rather than an indication that we are forward looking or an object of envy to our neighbours. (1980, p. 185)
The reason that we have to be ‘magically’ induced to buy things through fantasy situations
and satisfactions is because advertisers cannot rely on rational argument to sell their goods
in sufficient quantity.
6
Advertising as Communication
The roots of this situation can be traced back to the coming of large-scale industrial
production which, since the end of the last century, has been capable not only of supplying
us with essential goods but also of swamping us. These goods have to be smoothly and
effectively distributed or else the production system would clog up and collapse beneath
the weight of surplus and unwanted products. Markets have to be found and created in
order to absorb the perpetual flow of goods coming from factories. The producers have to
be able to predict demand for goods, so that expensive capital equipment and plant is not
risked, factories do not lie idle, and profits fall. Advertising is one of the mechanisms used
by modern industrial capitalism to organize and ensure markets for its goods. This has the
overall effect of taking decision-making about goods away from customers where it is not
subject to control and of shifting it to the producers where it is under their control. Despite
the fact that there is an enormous number and range of goods available, the real decisions about products—what should be produced, in what quantity and quality and at what
price—lie not with us, the consumers, but with a small and powerful minority of businessmen, industrialists and entrepreneurs—a group which the sociologist C.W.Mills (1956) has
aptly called ‘the power élite’ in his book of that name.
However, advertisers will argue that the great quantity and range of goods produced in
a competitive free-market economy guarantees the consumer ‘freedom of choice’ and that
choice is a basic human freedom. But perhaps advertisers are using the words ‘choice’ and
‘freedom’ in a rather restricted sense, referring mainly to commodities and meaning no
more than a mechanistic reaction to them. Of course on the face of it there are any number of choices to be made in the marketplace. But does the choice that we have to make
between ten brands of similar toothpaste really constitute choice and guarantee freedom?
And are not the differences between the toothpastes, shampoos, televisions and so on, often
trivial and unnecessary? And when it comes down to it, are we, the consumers, ever consulted whether we want toothpaste with blue stripes or green stripes of ‘added ingredient X’
in the first place? We are offered a ‘choice’ once all the real decisions about a product have
been made. In addition, most commodity manufacturers are organized into conglomerates
or monopolies who divide up the market between them and are more interested in profits
than in genuine consumer choice. So what looks like a choice between different brands of a
commodity on a supermarket shelf is not really what it seems, because the different brands
are probably produced by one or two manufacturers (who, incidentally, are also possibly
involved in a price-fixing cartel which makes prices uncompetitive).
Now of course manufacturers want to produce successful products and do indeed spend
a lot of money on market research in order to test consumer preferences and the possible
market reaction. In this sense they are influenced by what members of society claim to
want and need. But it is more likely that decisions about what goods to produce and market
will be influenced more by questions of industrial viability and profit than by questions of
longer-term economic stability and social need. If we, the public, were offered a genuine
choice of goods and services, then most of us would be perfectly capable of judging private consumption against other pressing priorities, like better health services and schools
or more recreational facilities. But our economy is not really geared towards the social
services, and our real freedom of choice is by and large sacrificed to the flow of chocolate,
shampoos, breakfast cereals and dog foods which gushes out of the factories. Our needs
as human beings, our aspirations and weaknesses, can indeed be met by consumer goods
Introduction 7
when they are aroused by advertisements but these are met at the expense of more pressing,
socially-based needs. Advertisers tend to think that consumer choice is equivalent to other
kinds of choice and would no doubt be surprised if someone decided that resources should
be spent on a new youth club rather than producing yet another kind of shampoo. Producers
and consumers are more often than not trapped in the illusion that more and more consumer
goods automatically guarantees choice and freedom.
Mass communications
In order to survive, powerful commercial interests must keep in almost constant touch
with the mass public and continually try to persuade them. To these ends advertisers use
the media of mass communication: commercial television and radio, the national and local
press and magazines. Originally advertising was used by newspaper owners as a necessary
and manageable support cost. Today it suffuses the whole system of mass communication
and some economists argue that the media are in fact not just a part of the economy but
its servants. The media convert audiences into markets, and because they exist through
‘selling’ audiences to advertisers, they generally preclude the services that the media could
perform such as providing adequate consumer information to the public.
Advertisements not only influence overall media policy (although this influence is very
subtle), they also affect or modi

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