As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 3


Advertising to Fuel Consumerism

c) Advertising to Fuel Consumerism
Based on the idea that, 'increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable', industry sought the help of advertising to convince the people towards increased consumption. Describing the role of the media in fueling consumerism, Chrisopher Lasch says, 'The economy, having reached the point where its technology was capable of satisfying basic material needs, now relied on the creation of new consumer demands - on convincing people to buy goods for which they were unaware of any need until the 'need' is forcibly brought to their intention by the mass-media.' [Chrisopher Lasch: 'The Culture of Narcissism']

In order to ensure that the message reaches the most consumers, aggressive advertising campaigns were launched until everywhere one looks, one finds a product being advertised. With time advertisers grew innovative and developed more intrusive ways to get to people in the form of door to door marketing, telemarketing, email spam, etc. Ads targeting children are of much greater concern since children at their impressionable age are hardly capable of deciding what is good for them.

On the effects of advertisement campaigns, Jean Kilbourne writes, 'Ads succeed so well precisely because we don't think they're working on us. The average American sees over 3,000 ads per day and spends over 3 years of his life watching TV commercials whose messages work their way inside our intimate relationships, our homes, our hearts and our heads'. [Jean Kilbourne, Deadly Persuasion: Why Everyone Must Fight the Addictive Power of Advertising. New York: Free Press, 1999]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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