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Hyper-commercialism




Criticism of advertising

Advertising is a form of communication intended to persuade an audience to purchase products, ideals or services. While advertising can be seen as necessary for economic growth, it is not without social costs. Unsolicited commercial email and other forms of spam have become so prevalent that they are a major nuisance to users of these services, as well as being a financial burden on internet service providers. Advertising increasingly invades public spaces, such as schools, which some critics argue is a form of child exploitation. Advertising frequently uses psychological pressure (for example, appealing to feelings of inadequacy) on the intended consumer, which may be harmful.

Hyper-commercialism

Criticism of advertising is closely linked with criticism of media and often interchangeable. Critics can refer to advertising's

  • audio-visual aspects (cluttering of public spaces and airwaves)
  • environmental aspects (pollution, oversize packaging, increasing consumption)
  • political aspects (media dependency, free speech, censorship)
  • financial aspects (costs)
  • ethical/moral/social aspects (sub-conscious influencing, invasion of privacy, increasing consumption and waste, target groups, certain products, honesty)

As advertising has become prevalent in modern society, it is increasingly being criticized. Advertising occupies public space and more and more invades the private sphere of people. It is becoming harder to escape from advertising and the media. Public space is increasingly turning into a gigantic billboard for products of all kind. The aesthetical and political consequences cannot yet be foreseen. Hanno Rauterberg in the German newspaper Die Zeit calls advertising a new kind of dictatorship that cannot be escaped.

Ad creep says, "There are ads in schools, airport lounges, doctors offices, movie theaters, hospitals, gas stations, elevators, convenience stores, on the Internet, on fruit, on ATMs, on garbage cans and countless other places. There are ads on beach sand and restroom walls. One of the ironies of advertising in our times is that as commercialism increases, it makes it that much more difficult for any particular advertiser to succeed, hence pushing the advertiser to even greater efforts. Within a decade advertising in radios climbed to nearly 18 or 19 minutes per hour, on prime-time television the standard until 1982 was no more than 9.5 minutes of advertising per hour, today it is between 14 and 17 minutes. With the introduction of the shorter 15-second-spot the total amount of ads increased even more. Ads are not only placed in breaks but also into sports telecasts during the game itself. They flood the Internet, a growing market.

Other growing markets are product placements in entertainment programming and movies where it has become standard practice and virtual advertising where products get placed retroactively into rerun shows. Product billboards are virtually inserted into Major League Baseball broadcasts and in the same manner, virtual street banners or logos are projected on an entry canopy or sidewalks, for example during the arrival of celebrities at the 2001 Grammy Awards. Advertising precedes the showing of films at cinemas including lavish film shorts produced by companies such as Microsoft or DaimlerChrysler. "The largest advertising agencies have begun working to co-produce programming in conjunction with the largest media firms", creating Infomercials resembling entertainment programming.

Opponents equate the growing amount of advertising with a "tidal wave" and restrictions with "damming" the flood. Kalle Lasn, one of the most outspoken critics of advertising, considers advertising the most prevalent and toxic of the mental pollutants. From the moment your radio alarm sounds in the morning to the wee hours of late-night TV microjolts of commercial pollution flood into your brain at the rate of around 3,000 marketing messages per day. Every day an estimated 12 billion display ads, 3 million radio commercials and more than 200,000 television commercials are dumped into North Americas collective unconscious. In the course of his life the average American watches three years of advertising on television.

Video games incorporate products into their content. Special commercial patient channels in hospitals and public figures sporting temporary tattoos. A method unrecognisable as advertising is so-called guerrilla marketing which is spreading buzz about a new product in target audiences. Cash-strapped U.S. cities offer police cars for advertising. Companies buy the names of sports stadiums for advertising. The Hamburg soccer Volkspark stadium first became the AOL Arena and then the HSH Nordbank Arena. The Stuttgart Neckarstadion became the Mercedes-Benz Arena, the Dortmund Westfalenstadion is the Signal Iduna Park. The former SkyDome in Toronto was renamed Rogers Centre.

Whole subway stations in Berlin are redesigned into product halls and exclusively leased to a company. Düsseldorf has "multi-sensorial" adventure transit stops equipped with loudspeakers and systems that spread the smell of a detergent. Swatch used beamers to project messages on the Berlin TV-tower and Victory column, which was fined because it was done without a permit. The illegality was part of the scheme and added promotion.[4] Christopher Lasch states that advertising leads to an overall increase in consumption in society; "Advertising serves not so much to advertise products as to promote consumption as a way of life".





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