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Well, if we're just DREAMING, I have a dream that, based on studies that could easily be done with regard to the manipulative nature of advertising, the dishonesty of most of its claims, the harm done to children and impressionable adults by it, it will eventually be subjected to the same sorts of lawsuits and approbations "suffered" by tobacco and thence be more highly regulated.  It should be banned altogether from children's programming.  Claims should have to be established by purely scientific methods and there would be no Photoshopping, enhancement of images, phony testimonials by paid actors, etc., allowed.

I've been able to train myself to completely ignore advertising in print media. I can go through a newspaper and not be able to name three of the advertisers.  I simply will not watch ads on television; thanks to the DVR this is easily accomplished.  If for some reason we have to to watch live tv, the commercial breaks are muted.  

I wish every child had to be taught about the evils of advertising in school as a required course, at least about the same time as the kids are becoming familiar with "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn."

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 12:49:27 PM EST
The cynical view would say that children are subjected to 'advertising' from the moment they are born. Their parents impose all sorts of limited choices upon children - of products and produce, behaviour and values. A child's life is daily parental product placement.

"The problem with kids today" is that the commercial advertising to which they are subjected from an early age interferes with parental and educational marketing.

I think children should not only be taught the evils of advertising, but all hidden persuasion.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 01:14:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If children are encouraged to develop critical thinking, then they are largely vaccinated against advertising. Obviously, they are still subject to peer pressure, which often comes to the same thing (because vaccination is only useful if it covers the majority of the population).

Moral of story : Critical thinking, and media analysis, need to be part of the core school curriculum, starting at age 5 or 6. Because, unfortunately, not all parents are aware of the importance of the subject.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Feb 13th, 2012 at 05:02:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a commonly made argument.

"People who believe in Bad Idea lack education in history/critical thinking/economics/whatever.  If they were better educated, people would not believe in Bad Idea.  After all, I am educated, and I do not believe in Bad Idea, so others would be just like me."

I strongly disagree with this notion. I think it overestimates what education can accomplish, and further it begs the question of what exactly is meant by education.  I find these discussions tend to end up somewhere around, "well, if everyone was educated into a Philosopher King, then we wouldn't have these problems."

by Zwackus on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 05:02:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a rather strange point of view. For me, one of the major drivers of history is the spread of humanist ideas through education. It's not some sort of thought experiment we're talking about; there are results which can be evaluated.

But in any case, I am not talking about teaching values, but about giving children tools. There is nothing ideological in teaching media analysis, any more than there is in teaching mathematics. Most people will barely use their maths learning once they leave school; they will generally have much more use for media analysis skills.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 07:33:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a historian, and as an educator, I completely disagree with you.  But this is another topic for another day.  Let's have that discussion in a different diary.
by Zwackus on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 07:58:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Revealing the ideology in existing media is itself ideological. Not bad, but ideological.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 12:30:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If children are encouraged to develop critical thinking, then they are largely vaccinated against advertising.

This is a commonly held view. It's also not true.

Advertisements do not typically contain factual claims upon which critical thinking may be exercised. Advertising builds recognition of brands and association of brands with other stimuli. Given adequate exposure, no amount of critical thinking skills will protect you from developing cognitive biases as a result.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 05:19:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's worse than untrue. It reflects a world view that is at odds with how humans work: the myth of the rational man. Humans are not rational. They're emotional. The affective system is primary.

Rational thought is a thin layer developed to serve the affective system that comes to believe it is running the show. Critical thinking and so on are tool sets built on top of that. Thin and fragile toolsets that even the best of us struggle to apply properly. They help a bit, but only if you remember to use them. Propaganda works even if you know it's propaganda.

What does inoculate you against advertising is not seeing it. We don't have a normal TV feed any more so all our TV watching is either off the Internet or (ripped to harddrive) DVDs. As a result watching TV ads is a curious experience. It's as if they're speaking a slightly foreign language or a language I once spoke but have forgotten.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 05:59:07 AM EST
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Propaganda works even if you know it's propaganda.

Truer words never spoken. Now to work on everyone's giant egos and conceptions of self...

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 03:04:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And advertising works even if it is muted!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 12:31:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
Advertisements do not typically contain factual claims upon which critical thinking may be exercised.

Indeed, but they use codes and techniques which are recognisable and analysable.
eurogreen:

Critical thinking, and media analysis, need to be part of the core school curriculum

Pavlovian reflexes can be overcome through higher thought. This is one thing which distinguishes humans from dogs (of course, it doesn't prevent humans from behaving like dogs on occasion). Children need to have access to the tools which enable them to choose to defend themselves against mind control, if they wish to. This goes way beyond advertising, of course.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 07:23:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Advertisers seem to have just figured out your last point:
The first ever British advert created specially for dogs - featuring high-pitched sounds that cannot be heard by humans - is due to be broadcast on ITV1 tonight.

[...]

Bakers, the dog food manufacturer which commisioned the advert, hope the sounds will provoke a reaction from dogs in living rooms across the country, fooling their owners into thinking they are interested in the products on the screen.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 07:32:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In 'Schland, advertising either must contain a notice that it is advertising, or on public TV at least, is shown demarked by a notice that what follows i advertising, and also notices the end of the advertising period.

i think, i don't watch much TV.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 02:53:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, I didn't know that either, since I've either avoided or muted it... and, of course, my Deutsche isn't so gut, either.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 03:03:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cheeses, three "either's" in one sentence. I'm blaming the wine.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 03:04:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We have two minds - might as well use them ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 03:09:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Must be why I am so often of two minds.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Feb 23rd, 2012 at 12:33:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Throw in a couple of ORs and you've programmed a computer!

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 03:46:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's the old animated ZDF Mainzelmännchen. Ask your SO about the change to the new ones in 2003/4? They were used to demark advertising during at least prime time. There are more modern animations now.

i always thought it was way cool that this society made sure to let people know that what followed on the TV was advertising.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sun Feb 12th, 2012 at 04:20:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or, how about we just get rid of advertising?  While basic critical thinking skills are well and good, why should it be necessary to use them every day, everywhere we look, day after day, to slog through an avalanche of self-interested lies?

Seriously - what positive role in society does it play?  What public good does it perform, that makes up for all of its negatives?  Insofar as it funds the cultural industries, I think there are better ways to do that.  Why allow it at all?

by Zwackus on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 05:06:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Advertising is the Capitalist Religion equivalent of the prayer pulpit. It's a means of social control which exhorts worshippers to acts of holy consumption, and also defines the moral basis of society - conspicuous and competitive egotistical materialism.

You can't take advertising out of the picture without pulling down everything around it. Removing it won't make everything better on its own, because there are so many other elements - work culture, resource exploitation, human exploitation, corporate sociopathy - acting in concert with it.

The best you can hope for is an attempt to claim some media space of your own for alternative values and goals. 'Buy media' would certainly help, but it would help more to have a clear social goal which isn't just about Jobs™ or any of the other standard cliches.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 07:31:36 AM EST
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I find I generally agree with the position you've been outlining on this thread, and I don't want to argue because I find our agreements are stronger than our disagreements.

That said, I think advertising is among the most obviously toxic and least redeemable of the various aspects you've described.  Not all of capitalism is 100% bad. I think it beats feudal rent extraction quite handily.  At some level, work does need to get done, and stuff does need to get made.  At no level I can imagine do people need to be surrounded by a blanket of lies.

by Zwackus on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 07:38:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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