People love being victims. I have this friend who is utterly convinced that advertising manipulates people and makes them buy neither stuff they don’t want nor need. I’ll agree we buy stuff we don’t need and sometimes we purchase something we don’t want (like when I saw Reign of Fire) but to say that we are “made” to buy things not only insults everyone that’s ever bought anything advertised, it doesn’t pay attention to the facts.
The advertising theory goes much like a conspiracy theory. Unseen men fool us into thinking their stuff is worth more than it is. Any random examples that support the theory prove it. Any overarching, reasonable evidence are exceptions or lies. I challenge you to seriously ask yourself the tough questions. If the anti-advertisers were right, why do 33% to 90% of new products (depending on industry) fail? Why is advertising the first thing every company cuts when there’s an economic downturn? Why don’t corporations just sell brightly-colored empty boxes and use the money they save on production to hedge their advertising budget?
Ads don’t—can’t—make us buy things; they can only inform us. They tell us about new products, new styles and new features. In the words of Dr. Jerry Gustafson, we are all authors of our own desires and we decide if we want to buy it. Sure, the information is blatantly biased but people who don’t know that are about as rare as people who don’t know cigarettes are bad for you. If you still don’t believe me, ask yourself why the pop machines aren’t stocked with New Coke.