Monday, January 26, 2009

What Are the Media Trying to Sell?

The media bombards us daily with messages about sex. Sex is a primary ingredient in most advertising. It is used to sell everything from automobiles to deodorants. Our radios, television sets, movie screens, CD players, books, magazines and newspapers loudly proclaim that “sex is normal, available and certainly not restricted to adults, much less married couples.”

We are often told that television doesn’t affect behavior very much. The tobacco industry, at a time of public pressure to remove tobacco ads from TV, declared that media commercials don’t affect a change in a person’s lifestyle, and that media ads would not cause a person to take up smoking. That’s about the craziest thing I’ve ever heard! If advertising doesn’t influence people, why did the tobacco industry spend hundreds of millions of dollars on TV commercials? Marketing and advertising people are not stupid. If there is no relationship between TV commercials and viewers’ behavior, why do American businesses spend multiplied billions of dollars on advertising each year—for prime time television alone?

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