In class on March 1 we talked about advertising. More specifically, how there seems to be an intense need to shop. The idea was that since we are being advertised too so much more than before digital technology made distribution of advertisements so effortless, we are able to convince ourselves that we need the product being advertised. Not to mention that advertisers are getting increasingly more proficient at offering us individualized content, which makes it more likely that we will want to buy it. But in reality, we don’t need the new shampoo or the new boots.
Of course, to these companies, this is advantageous because they can make a profit, however it is making me think about where that leaves the consumer. Most importantly, it encourages unnecessary spending. People who are struggling with managing a budget can easily fall into these traps and possibly go so far as to go in debt because of it. It encourages wastefulness. Many people view themselves as a small and insignificant fraction of the whole, so why should they contribute to preserving the environment and caring for the needy? And thirdly, it encourages materialistic views. Some might ask what’s wrong with that? But I feel that being preoccupied with material goods can often create other unnecessary barriers between people and contribute to them losing focus of why they are doing the things they do.
Even though we are adapting to the amount of advertising demanding our attention, I feel that these messages are getting into our heads and that even though we may say that it’s just an ad, it stays with us on some level, and especially if the product is popular enough, it may persuade us to buy it, even though we don’t need it. I think this is especially important for young kids, who haven’t yet learned about the deliberate attempts on their parent’s money through flashy new toys. If they are made aware of the deliberate ways that content is presented to them, they can learn to distinguish between what they want and what they need.