lunes, 29 de agosto de 2011

To what extent do you think advertising determines our buying habits? Are we all affected in the same way? Give your views.

Nowadays, no one can deny that we live in a consumerist society. But, to what extent does advertising determines our buying habits? Are we all affected in the same way?

To begin with, the term consumerism refers to “a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods and services in ever greater amounts”. In other words, consumerism is the act or practise of an increasing consumption of goods. In general, the basics of consumerism are: the extraction of resources, the production of goods, the distribution, the consumption and the disposal. According to Mr Fortunato, consumerism can be defined as the “distorted desires to possess and consume things beyond what is necessary”. In order to accomplish this, companies hire commercial advertisers to generate increased consumption of some services and products through the creation of different publicities.

Moreover, some people think that advertising cannot sell any product if the person does not want to buy it. On the other hand, other people argue that advertising is so effective that it can brainwash us and make us spend money in unnecessary things. So, entrepreneurs are always designing new products, creating new necessities, and thinking on how to advertise them so that we, as consumers, will (want to) buy them.

Furthermore, what is true is that countless enterprises invest billions of dollars to get our minds and hearts and to influence our choices when buying. For this reason, they create commercials in which the products effects on people are exaggerated and what they offer is an opportunity to be part of the “cool” people; to make you feel better about yourself. To do this, companies improve their marketing techniques through: emotional appeal testimonials, scientific appeal, glittering generalities, etc.
What is more, frequently the products that are advertised are: cosmetics, alcohol and cigarettes. In fact, the amount of money that is spent in advertising this kind of products it much greater than the money used to improve society.
Besides, advertising makes happiness be seen as equivalent to having, rather than to being. In this way, Philip Saltier says: “Americans become unhappy and vicious because their preoccupation with amassing possessions alleviates their loneliness. This is why production in America seems to be on such an endless upward spiral: every time we buy something we deepen our emotional deprivation and hence our need to buy something.” Therefore, in many cases people are willing to work long hours, to steal, etc. in order to get the products on offer and to keep the same standard of living as the people who are around them.

Also, advertisements can provoke people to be disappointed with what they already have, and make them want even more. Thus, people are exposed several times to products that they cannot afford, thus creating a feeling of dissatisfaction and frustration. Continuing with this line of thought, not all the parents can afford the dolls, toys, cars, etc. that their children see on TV.

In addition, it is important not to forget that every kind of advertisement is targeted towards a specific population/segment. For example, children, teenagers, adults, etc.

However, people are not interested in advertising anymore. Research has shown that people try to skip from two-thirds to 80% (letters or numbers? Be consistent)of the ads. For this reason, companies have a big interest in placing brands in films, soap operas, etc. In this way, they advertise their products in a subtle way.

Taking everything into account, there is no doubt that we are immersed in a consumer society. But, what is important for us is to know whether advertising determines or not our buying habits and what are the effects that advertising has on us.

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