How advertising conflicts with social justice and profits from harming the community
“Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.” – Will Rogers
Advertising is messing up your life, but are you even aware of it? Most people aren’t.
Since the day we were born, advertisements have been constantly bombarding us with their messages, so much that we have accepted them as a normal part of reality. We’ve been conditioned to believe that there’s nothing wrong with them, so we never stop and and take the time to consider how badly they’re influencing us.
Yet, the harmful impact of advertising on our well-being is tremendous, and it is in our own self-interest not overlook it. so, what exactly are the main negative effects of advertising on society?
Advertising makes us feel that we’re not good enough as we are.
We have an economic system in which people have to make money in order to survive, no matter how manipulative the techniques are they use to achieve that — and this can be clearly seen in the advertising industry.
To sell you stuff, advertisements first make you feel like bad about yourself. How do they achieve this? By showing you what the ideal life is supposed to be, and then making you compare your ordinary live to it. This way they slowly lead you to believe that you’re not beautiful, intelligent, confident, and so on, until they fully convince you that you basically suck. The reason? To make you feel insecure, so that they can then emotionally manipulate you.
Advertising makes us associate happiness with consumerism.
After they’ve achieved the first goal to ruin our self-esteem, advertisements are trying to fool us into thinking that only products and services can make us feel better. In other words, advertisements create a problem, and then offer us a solution to it: Shopping.
Once they succeed to make you feel ugly, they sell you beauty products so you can improve on your ugliness. Once they manage to make you believe that you are not important, they sell you expensive clothes so you can attract the attention of others.
In short, advertisements promise you happiness, provided that you spend money in return. The result? Consuming stuff you don’t even need and supporting the production of unnecessary waste that is polluting our planet. It also hurts personal relationships with a far reaching and negative impact on the surrounding community.
Advertising makes us think that everything we need is for sale.
Another serious and negative effect of advertising is that it feeds us with the wrong impression that everything we need can be bought, and therefore the belief that money should be our measure of success and prime goal in life.
Without shopping, advertisements tell you that you can’t find contentment. Thus, advertisements are fueling your desire to work like a slave, just so you can spend your hard-earned money on things that will ultimately leave you disappointed and dissatisfied.
The bad or negative effects of advertising on society are enormous, and so the question is: What can we do about it?
Firstly, we need to realize that possessing more stuff than we need won’t make us happier. That’s because, although material things are necessary for satisfying our basic physical needs, they can’t satisfy our emotional thirst for what we deep down long for — the “things” such as friendship, love, play, and creativity.
Secondly, we need to alter our economic system so that it renders cyclical consumption and growth obsolete. To achieve that, we’ll have to move towards a resource-based economy based on the sustainable use and management of natural resources.
Then, and only then, will we be able to live in alignment with the natural world, as well as stop foolishly running after things that leave us dissatisfied. That time can instead be spent in the pursuit of what truly helps to bring us joy and fulfillment.
“Advertising: the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.” – Stephen Leacock
Originally published as The Negative Effects of Advertising on Society