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Advertising ...happiness
By Jacinta M., Grade 12, Brampton Secondary, Brampton, ON

You need it. You have to have it!! Those Calvin Klein's! The latest in Gap Wear! The new Venus Razor! Axe deodorant! Neutrogena! Cellphones.....text messaging! Doesn't matter.....it just has to be yours!

Advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry that employs models, designers, artists, photographers, musicians, and psychologists. However, that pales in comparison to the multitude affected. Everyone who has television and the Internet at home; who can't turn away from a billboard; who buys magazines, newspapers or listens to the radio is caught by the lure.

Many think that advertising doesn't affect them much. Yet, these same people will often find themselves remembering certain commercial images then impulse buying certain advertised products.

It is difficult to imagine our ancestors experiencing as great a need for Pantene hair care, the new Mac deal or the latest communications gadget. But remember, they were not the target of an advertising industry armed with the skill and power of the 21st century. Advertisers know exactly when and how to target their market. And teens are a huge component of their marketing strategy.

There will always be those who claim they willfully bought the product and their decision was not manipulated. In such cases, these people would be wise to ask themselves whether they really needed the merchandise they purchased. Or whether the extent of its importance dawned on them before they were exposed to a particular "dream world", designed by savvy ad people. Most likely, the answer would be "No".

If we really are being manipulated, how does it happen? Good advertisements will either make the audience envious of the image or lifestyle being advertised (not of the product itself!) or will generate within the audience the desire to be envied by others. Both desires can only be satisfied on one condition: "if you buy the product!"

The advertising industry makes us envious of others and convinces us to be unhappy with what we have. Trapped in the web of depression, we surrender to the invincible power of commercialism. Then, as soon as we buy the advertised product, we are introduced to the next one.

Every time our eyes are glued to the TV set, there are a few things we keep forgetting. The magical powers of Pantene Pro-V doesn't keep our hair from getting dirty. The stuff we obtain from TV commercials and other ads doesn't make us happy.

This is something that advertisers can't dictate to our pitiful grey matter. So, we forget about it. Or, have we lost the ability to think?


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