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Rant: Is Advertising Bad for our Health?

February 4, 2009

We all know that smoking kills and we need to eat low fat foods to stay in shape. Well, that’s what advertising tells us anyway. Regardless of whether we believe it or not, advertising has an impact upon our line of thinking, morals and personality. We are naive to think otherwise. Everyone from the big brands to our local businesses, they are all trying to get us to buy their product or continue using their service. Think of an ad you have seen today. What was it for? Do you need it?

It doesn’t matter. The fact that you have now recalled that advertisement shows that it has had an impact on you.

An article published by Brand Republic today highlights a report by the Children’s Society in which it calls for a ban on advertising to U12s. In my opinion, too right! I grew up with a generation that has seen the advertising industry take over our lives, whether its TV, Web or Mobile. Adults and children alike have become dumbed down to everything from sex to gore, and almost definitley advertising. 

Modern advertisers are not stupid, and are employing tactics which provide a requirement for ‘personal relationships’ within the target audience, creating a desire to have the latest toy because their friends have it, or for social power. With kids watching a supposed 21 hours of TV a week, that is more than enough chance for advertisers to install a message in the audience. I was reminded of this supposed subliminal advertising issue from the Food Network and McDonalds:

Imagine if this is being employed in childrens ads and we just dont notice?

What scares me more is that an increasing number of U15s are now being bought mobiles by their parents. With the impending expansion and take up in mobile advertising, its only a matter of time before children are being exposed to such specifically targeted ads that they find it hard to resist whatever is on offer.

Regulation and rulings are in place to control this world and to make it a better place. I for one do not want my future children to grow up in a materialistic world driven by brands. Lets them decide what they want, not told what they want.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2009 10:38 am

    Great post Carl – It totally agree with your comments. I have seen the effect first- hand that advertising has had on kids. My nieces (13 & 8) both spend a great deal of time watching television and find nothing better than to tell me all about birthday wish-lists whilst, in most cases, referencing TV adverts. Each have mobile phones, and as you say, if some regulation is not put into place now I can forsee this getting out of control with mobile advertising!

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