November 2002
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Teens and Advertising
By Hayley G., Age 15, Delta Secondary School, Delta, BC

I first saw the "Venus Razor" commercial three or four months ago. It was the one with at least twenty beautiful, slender, women lying on a tropical beach all in bikinis. The first thought that plopped into my head as I lay on the couch was, "I wish I looked like that." The second thought, the answer to my wish, was, "I really need that razor!" A few more catching lines like, "Smooth, touchable legs," and I was completely lost.

The razor cost me $13.59. Three months after buying it I finally realized that normal throwaway razors work just as well, if not better, and they cost a lot less. But that's not the point. The point is in seeing those gorgeous women on the commercial I automatically thought that to look like them I had to buy the razor. This is one of the main tricks in the art of advertising. The commercial tells the viewer what he or she wants and then gives them the secret. The solution. The answer. What was the question?

The truth is there is no question. I spend hundreds of dollars on make-up and products of every kind because I thought they would create a new person out of me. When I eventually realized that commercials were just commercials and they could not change or shape me it was too late. I had been taken advantage of. I was a victim, like the many other teenage girls who find themselves sucked into the advertising market's tricky games.

The ads in magazines and on TV have many other negative effects on teens today. The flawless models that dominate the advertising world today are constant put-downs to the frail self-esteem of the young girls watching. The commercials portray what girls should look like, how they should act, and who they should be. The ads are also unhealthy in that they give the viewer a quick fix to low self-esteem.

People put millions of dollars into advertising. Producers will pay 2-5 million dollars to show a commercial on a popular television channel, even more during a popular show such as the Super Bowl. It is easy to become trapped in a hole with only useless products to accompany you.

Yesterday, I saw the new Neutrogena commercial. During the "The deepest feeling clean" part I caught myself seriously contemplating purchasing the new face wash.

But before I let myself become, once again, the victim of so many treacherous ads, I grabbed the remote, took a deep breath, and changed the channel.


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