Deadly Persuasion; The Addictive Power of Advertising / Edition 1by Jean Kilbourne
Pub. Date: 10/05/1999
Publisher: Free Press
The average American views three thousand ads in one day. Yet remarkably, most of us believe we are not influenced by advertising. In this lively and shocking expose, Jean Kilbourne reveals how deeply advertisers insinuate themselves into our daily lives. Advertisers do far more than influence our taste - they manipulate our desires so that their products will
The average American views three thousand ads in one day. Yet remarkably, most of us believe we are not influenced by advertising. In this lively and shocking expose, Jean Kilbourne reveals how deeply advertisers insinuate themselves into our daily lives. Advertisers do far more than influence our taste - they manipulate our desires so that their products will become our closest friends.
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Jean Kilbourne does a very good job in drawing our attention to the fact that advertising influences us more than we think. Advertising is part of our environment. Most of us, however, dismiss the influence of advertising on our life because we often consider ads to be silly, trivial, fun, ridiculous. Advertisers even capitalize on our ego by insinuating that we are too smart to be taken in by advertising. The attitude of denial allows advertising to do its persuasive work. Kilbourne tirelessly warns us about the dangerous side effects of advertising. She illustrates her case with numerous ads. Kilbourne's central hypothesis is that advertising helps to create a climate in which certain attitudes and values prosper, such as the objectification of women, male violence, addiction normality. Furthermore, Kilbourne demonstrates with many examples that the emptier we feel, the greater consumers we are. That unease with our self can lead us to confuse addiction with freedom and conformity with rebellion. Advertising, of course, has a solution (read a product, a service) that can meet or fix each of our needs or problems instantly or at least quickly. Kilbourne also stresses the large impact that advertising has on the media that we consume via the suppression of material that would offend the sponsor and via the inclusion of editorial content that does not interfere with sponsor's business. In addition, Kilbourne reminds us that most industries logically fight hardest against taxes or any restrictions on advertising that have an impact on their bottom line or burden them with additional responsibilities. However, Kilbourne is not able or willing to accept that advertising is one of the key building blocks of a well-oiled capitalist economy. Advertising allows businesses to communicate the features/benefits of their product offering to their targeted market segment and to persuade that market segment that the offering meets their wants/needs. Furthermore, Kilbourne does not mention that more and more of us own shares in a growing number of enterprises and expect nothing less that the optimization of shareholder value. In addition, Kilbourne overestimates human nature. Most of us are not able or willing to be 100% rational all the time. Finally, Kilbourne does not stress enough that parents, schools, churches and other organizations have a key role to play in educating children and teenagers about the influence of advertising on their thoughts and behaviors.