An odd thing is happening on TV and radio advertising. Within the past few months, there has been a great increase in two methods of presentation of advertising spots. Obviously, marketing “experts” have decided that they can sell more products with these two types of presentation.
The first one has “the consumer” so in love with this product that he/she will lie, steal, cheat, or cause bodily harm to whoever has what the consumer desperately desires. No holds barred. Whatever is necessary to obtain this is acceptable. We are expected to be amused by this behavior, and thus look favorably on the product while knowing the “consumer” portrayed could not possibly be us. The aim of the advertisement, however, is to turn us into someone resembling the lusting consumer so sales will go up.
The second type has been around much longer, but only recently greatly increased the sponsors who choose to use it. This is the dumb, ignorant fool. He/she presents in a variety of ways in ads, all of which are designed to make us laugh. The fool is presented as a normal, common person we can laugh at.
How sponsors choose to spend their money promoting their products is, of course, entirely up to them. My complaint is that being bombarded so heavily with these stereotypes will shift what is “normal, proper, cultural behavior”. If one hears a lie enough, it often becomes accepted as the given truth. Reality is altered by our perception of it. Objective truth is no longer our measuring rod. One sad demonstration of this is that the divorce rate for Christian church members is identical to that of the rest of the population.
Think what our cultural life would be if it is acceptable to lie, cheat, steal, or harm to get what we desire. “It’s my money, I want it now!” is the mantra currently in one advertisement. Instant gratification has already taken over American cultural life. What’s next?