It usually comes as a suprise to students to learn that in television, we, the viewers, are the product. That's right, us! Not the programs, not the products that are advertised, but the audience.
Television producers and executives make shows they hope will deliver enough product (audience) to make advertisers spend as much of their money as possible pitching their wares to us.
And selling our presence without being transparent and forthcoming about it isn't bad enough. We are subjected to manipulation, read that as marketing, through the creation of desires which, of course, product X will fulfill, and/or we are subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) shown how we just don't measure up to the make- believe world the advertisers create.
Magazines are the same.
It's everywhere - on television, radio, buses, blogs, websites, movies, taxis, billboards, magazines, and more. The basic methods may differ, but the goal is the same.
I am sick of advertising. No one ever asked me, or any of us, if all days, times, places could be filled up with advertising, if every time and space could be commercialized.
I've had enough. I am on a mission to endure as little advertising as possible.
It's not always possible - probably not best to close one's eyes while driving to avoid signage in various places!!! But there is a mute button on the remote or the option to not watch television at all (or to watch selectively), and there are computer programs that will block sidebar ads and pop-ups. I just won't buy some magazines, as I refuse to pay for all the ads.
I believe that many ads, images, and narratives affect us in negative ways; they certainly are manipulative, working around reason and critical thinking. One of my professors had research to show that we who think we are resisting ads are often the most susceptible.
Not all ads are bad. Some are funny, provocative, artistic, informative, enjoyable. I like those and will choose to watch.
But I am on a mission - I will no longer be a passive endurer of other people's manipulative attempts to sell me something.
To end on a lighter note, here is a Wendy's ad from the eighties, with Clara Peller - one of the famous "Where's the Beef?" ads. The slogan has become part of the culture.