In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, consumerism is essentially expected. Numerous billboards, posters, flyers and spam mail commercializing products on a daily basis could prove it. Cutting edge technology also allows advertisements be experienced through the use of mass medium and it is nearly impossible to escape the invasion of advertising. Continuous exposure to advertisements has indeed impacted numerous consumers, in which most of them are unaware to the situation and companies are taking advantage of this by allocating big budget to improve and develop advertisements solely to persuade consumer’s preferences toward their brand or product.
Advertising has been specifically linked as the main cause of obesity and anorexia, alcohol and tobacco consumption, society’s unrealistic standard of beauty and imprinting outdated gender roles. This could be prominently illustrated in advertisements in the 1950s, where sexism was not only tolerated; it was expected and actively encouraged, partly through chauvinistic print ads (Julian). Furthermore, critics have protested that one of the most popular beer campaigns of the late 1990s – featuring a trio of frogs croaking Budweis-errr – used cartoonlike characters to appeal to young viewers (Campbell, Martin, Fabos, 345).
While banning advertisement completely seems inefficient, authorities have taken steps to regulate the content of advertisements, therefore minimizing the negative impact of mass media advertisements as advertising has become so powerful and so subtle that consumer accepts most of it impetuously. It has been truly integrated with daily life and stimulates the ‘want’ in a society and belittling the true meaning of ‘need’.
Advertisers are heavily targeting youth, as they are predominantly susceptible due to being inexperienced consumers by exploiting their sensitiveness to peer pressure and dominate the “cultural message” propagated by the media. Mass media advertising elicits a nationally subtle peer pressure that gradually destroying moral values and standards. Moreover, with reports from Global Industry Analysts that states “the global outdoor advertising market is expected to reach almost $44 billion by 2017” it is safe to question the effectiveness of regulation as there seems to exist a preconceived notion that regulators usually have been associated with the industries they regulate.
Jane Kilbourne of Center for Media Literacy states that “Advertising creates a mythical, mostly white world in which people are rarely ugly, overweight, poor, struggling or disabled, either physically or mentally”. Major aspect of advertising that needs to be revamped is their outdated gender roles view. Advertising has been blamed for objectifying women and stereotypical housewife. The housewife usually linked to their excessive need to clean and portray women as stay-at-home mother, conveying the message of an ideal mother figure. On the other hand, the...