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An essay about advertising
Advertising Makes Good Things Happen
There are few people who do not hate advertising. It interrupts our television programs, it screams at us from billboards on city streets, and it thickens our newspapers and magazines with often useless messages. Yet there are even fewer people who do not watch, listen to, or read these same advertisements. Advertisements are designed to attract our attention and small children will often sit through hours of television, only to jump up and dance when the commercials come on the air. But most of us appreciate advertising because it provides information about new products and services, it pays for the cost of the medium and it often politely makes its message with wit and humour.
Advertising provides information about new products and services which we might otherwise never discover if left to find for ourselves. The television advertisement is really just an extension of a peasant standing in the market calling out the merits of his cabbage. In a sophisticated society, the marketplace is too big and a manufacturer needs more efficient ways to communicate new ideas such as the computer, a new drug or a better mousetrap.
For this, however, there is a charge. Television time in North America can cost as much as US$250,000 for 30 seconds. This money ends up being used for better programming. Television stations could never afford the cost of popular programs if not for advertising revenues.
Advertisers are learning that to better market products and services, they need to pack their commercials with bits of humour. A recent ad for Polaroid cameras shows the portrait of a man with an instant picture of a leaky drainpipe where his mouth should be. This simple image carries an old message with humour: a picture is worth a thousand words.
But advertising also has a dark side; products can be misrepresented and those which are harmful to health, such as cigarettes, can be dis...
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