Essay on The Controversy of the Manipulation of Advertising

Essay on The Controversy of the Manipulation of Advertising

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The Controversy of the Manipulation of Advertising


Is advertising manipulative; can it be controlling, or is it fueling the demand of the American economy? The exhaustive battle of what advertising is and what it’s not is never-ending and both ends of the spectrum can only battle with statistics, words, and opinions on the fact of the matter. Many arguments have arisen since the establishment of the advertising industry and everyone sheds their own light on the subject. In “Beauty and the Beast of Advertising,” Jean Kilbourne argues that the advertising industry portrayal of women is narrow-minded and produces emotional and psychological problems within women in regards with their roles in society, their physical appearance, and sexual attitudes. She also emphasizes how the world of advertising creates artificiality among women. On another note, the author of “What Advertisement Isn’t,” John O’Toole, takes a look at how the government has too much control of and poorly regulates advertising, how it is not deceptive on a subconscious level, and how advertising is a sales tool and should not be evaluated by journalistic or any other standards. These two arguments talk about issues in advertising that interconnect on broader levels but essentially are speaking of two different levels of advertisements.
Kilbourne looks at advertising as a guideline that women of today abide by. She argues that women in advertisements are portrayed as a sex object or a housewife. She goes on to say how the advertising housewife is “obsessed with cleanliness and lemon fresh scents”(238). She also states that the sex object “is a mannequin, a shell”(238). Her physical appearance is the only beauty about her. This “conventional beauty...


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...“witchcraft” and doesn’t have an ego-altering ability to change peoples lives. It is just salesmanship, he emphasizes and reemphasizes. In comparison, they are both looking for evidence of some form of conspiracy to the point of writing heated arguments about the subject
In conclusion these two arguments are looking at two different aspects and levels of the advertising industry, and that the main difference in these two arguments is that very fact. This controversial issue has raised many eyebrows and will never be at ease. People have been searching and researching the industry in hopes to find evidence of how effective or affective advertising really is. One can’t tell if advertising is more costly or rewarding to the American economy, society, and culture until it has past, therefore, arguments will never cease and opinionated parties never satisfied.

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