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Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse, by Sut Jhally Essay

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Sut Jhally, a professor at the university of Massachusetts of whom won the distinguished teacher award, wrote in his essay “ Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse” that : 20th century advertising - the most powerful propaganda in human history - will destroy the world as we know it. The survival of the human race will depend upon our ability to minimize the harmful effects of Advertising. These effects will have lasting impacts on our culture, joy, and future.

According to Karl Marx Capitalism depends on the sale of commodities. If enough commodities are not sold companies can not grow or survive. This means that they must find a way to sell their products or they will perish. This problem gave way to advertising- a way for companies to present their product in a way that makes potential consumers desire them. The Propaganda campaign grew extremely fast, as a staggering one hundred seventy five billion dollars a year is spent on advertising. Advertisements of which could exist for anything, from pencils, laptops, plates, food and sports. Advertisements can be found anywhere - beneath your feet, on a building, on TV, on the internet, in a magazine and more.

A company will want to know the power and effectiveness of their ads and about the society it is marketing to. This is why companies need to know about the cultural role of advertising, not the marketing role. The cultural role tells an organization not only about the values but also the notions of good and evil, and mortality and immortality. This information is important as it helps them to formulate their advertisements in a way that deeply affects the emotions of their consumers.

Advertisers are very good at effecting consumers emotions. They send the message th...


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...or obstacles to our survival as a species.” Climbing our way out of this situation will not be easy, it will require an enormous amount of work. It will require a society to act for the welfare of the future, not just immediate needs.

I should not be too optimistic about the possibility of cultural change. Collective values that recognize individual rights and creativity are essential in the struggle for social change; they will be needed as we try to balance and integrate different views of the world. In order for this to take place advertisers need to try to convince the population that a society that does not dismiss individualism but promotes creativity is desirable. After all, there is too much at stake for us to ignore the global crisis and leave our future generations a world not fit for habitation.



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Advertising on the Edge of the Apocalypse


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