What do Advertisements Tell Young People They Should Value - Essay Example

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Through analyzing the behavior advertisers, the explosion of new media, the psychological makeup of young adults, and the correlation between youth behavior and advertising, it is possible to construct a causal relationship between advertiser’s construction of the ideals of beauty and negative behavior among young adults, such as the development of eating disorders…
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What do Advertisements Tell Young People They Should Value
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Download file to see previous pages Advertising has been part of American life for centuries, and has certainly always had some kind of effect on the behaviour of Americans in a wide variety of ways. Throughout the past ten to twenty years, however, the amount of advertising exposure and kind of advertising has changed significantly, and may have an increased effect on American youths. It is incredibly difficult to construct a causal relationship between advertising and behaviour, something that advertisers have used to their advantage to fight regulation throughout history, from the cigarette era to today. The problems of determining causal relationships are myriad, but most simply rest on the well known idea that correlation is not causation: wearing your favorite team’s jersey and them winning does not indicate any causal relationship between your jersey choice and your team’s success. Furthering the complexity of this problem is the fact that advertising in fact mirrors many of the issues inherent to many forms of media, such as film and television, in, for instance, constructing unrealistic ideas of beauty. Advertisers, for instance, are often blamed on helping to cause eating disorders, while there may be many different societal and media factors at work in those issues. To construct a causal relationship, one must therefore go much further than simply analyzing correlation (though correlation certainly plays some part in the analysis). Through analyzing the behaviour advertisers, the explosion of new media, the psychological makeup of young adults, and the correlation between youth behaviour and advertising, it is possible to construct a causal relationship between advertiser’s construction of the ideals of beauty and negative behaviour among young adults, such as the development of eating disorders. The first thing that must be unequivocally establishes is the fact that advertising does, in fact, affect behaviour. This is its whole point of the entire industry, to lead people to buy products. There are various interpretations of the role of advertising. The most generous would say that advertising merely influences behaviour through demonstrations of a product’s usefulness to its client; advertising affects behaviour merely through informing (). The least generous would say that advertising twists people’s emotions, world view, and so on, in order to manipulate them into buying a given product (). The truth is probably somewhere in between, that advertising does rely on a product’s abilities, but that advertising also manipulates viewers to a significant extent. That advertising affects people’s behaviour can be seen merely by the size of the industry: it is a multi-hundred billion dollar industry worldwide (Shaman, 2012), and a single thirty second spot in the Super Bowl can sell for “upwards of $5 million” (Shaman, 2012). There is no way corporations would spend this kind of money on advertising if they were not confident in its ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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