Excessive advertising not taking away from culture


    American writer Arthur Miller once said, “Our culture now is advertising.”These five simple words present a very pessimistic, and yet realistic, environment of our society. We, at all times, are consumed by advertising and brands.

    Everywhere we go, we are bombarded with ads. In his documentary, “The Persuaders,” advertising writer Bob Garfield said, “You go to fill your gas tank, and you look at the pump and you’re seeing news headlines in advertising. You go into the bathroom, and you look in the urinal, and you’re staring at an ad. You look up at the sky and there’s skywriting.” It is ubiquitous.

    For centuries, we have defined ourselves based on our culture, traditions and values.

    So, how shall we define ourselves now? Should we go with Arthur Miller’s affirmation? What is it that defines us in today’s world? Who are we?

    Regardless of all these strong comments, I do not believe that our culture is marketing. To me a culture is a living thing, an essence, something that yfou can feel, enjoy and live in.

    Marketing, on the other hand, is dead. It is not something that I relate to.

    Marketing does not create brands; we create brands. We make the impression of our desirable goods and wants and thus have others create those products for us. If this is not true, then why do businesses hold focus groups? Why are businesses overly interested in our wants and desires?

    Saying, “our culture is now advertising” is giving too much respect and power to the marketers, which they quite frankly do not deserve.

    The marketing industry has not done a very good job.

    Some of the ads are so repetitive and boring that we switch to a different TV station to avoid them. They are just not eye-catchers. So many businesses every year shut down because of poor marketing.

    Advertisements have changed the whole course of entertainment through time.

    Now, television doesn’t exist to entertain us, but to sell to us. It has evolved from a medium of entertainment to a permanent salesman in our houses.

    And now, marketers have moved on to marketing their products on popular TV shows sending out subliminal messages. Take for example a “Sex and the City” story line in which a character becomes a poster-boy for Absolut Vodka.

    The entire show was based on that product. What a great strategy. A whole 25 minutes of promotion instead of 30 seconds.

    Although marketing has a strong role in our society, it is not our culture. It is still not something that defines us.

    Americans are swimming in a sea of messages, but they know to distinguish between good and bad. We are not robots that will follow wherever advertisements lead, regardless of what the marketers think.

    Ambika Sharma is a sophomore political science major from Fort Worth.