The impact of advertising is a fiercely debated topic, and has been ever since the conception of advertising in its most basic form. Advertisers essentially have the power to promote positive impact or negative impact to our society. Unfortunately, the advertiser had caused many negative social impacts.
Advertising has been blamed for a great variety of negative social impacts. One of the major criticisms received by advertising is that it forces people to buy things they don't really need, often by showing negative emotions such as fear, anxiety or guilt upon the consumer. Advertising plays with our human emotions and takes advantage of them, using them as merely another technique to sell their goods or services. Advertising also encourages people to buy products by making them think that purchasing and consuming are the major activities of their lives. Buying brand names may encourage a person to act on his or her desire for success and, for instance, go out and purchase that particular brand of clothes or make-up hoping to imitate the seeming success of the person depicted in the advertisement. Another example, driving an expensive car such as Mercedes Benz may show your success of being wealthy.
A negative social impact caused by advertising whereas advertising portraying women as sex objects. Women portrayed in sexual ads are depicted as objects and commodities, to be consumed by men for visual pleasure and by women for self- definition. In some advertisements, advertisers concentrates primarily on showing the image of a woman's body parts rather than the product itself. Men enjoy these images, and sadly, women tend to try to embody them. As Jean Kilbourne had point out in her article, "Desperate to conform to an ideal and impossible standard, many women go to great length to manipulate and change their faces and bodies." Women and young teens look up to the models or celebrities in the advertisements, they would even go on diet trying to get the ideal body shape of the models or celebrities. Some would even go as far as getting a plastic surgery trying to be like those models in the advertisements. No one in this world is perfect. The problem with advertising is that they only show the good parts not the bad parts.
There are a number of proven ways to persuade the consumer that he or she needs the product being advertised. These methods of persuasion, instead of concentrating on the actual product, usually concentrate on the benefits that will be brought to the consumer. The benefits may include popularity and personal prestige, the hope of more money, praise from others, social advancement, improved appearance, or better health. For example, an automobile advertisement, as well as mentioning the performance of the car, would most likely focus on the excitement, prestige and social advancement it may bring the buyer. This social advancement is very often sexual, or involving attraction of the other sex so the car advertisement may also mention the glamorous men or women that the consumer will attract with his or her fancy car.
There are other methods used by the advertiser of persuading consumer to purchase their products. According to William Lutz, "The best way advertisers can make something out of nothing is through words. Although there are a lot of visual images used on the television and in magazines and newspapers, every advertiser wants to create that memorable line that will stick in the public consciousness." (Ackley 249) Words are used by the advertiser to play tricks with our minds. They use words to persuade consumers what they want to see or hear about their products, but what they see or hear is not what they get.
Even though, some advertiser might argue that there are positive social impacts of advertising, but as we can see from our society, the negative social impacts of advertising had out weighted the positive social impacts of advertising. Advertising is supposed to get people's attention but it should get their attention in a normal, creative way, and not with an offensive, imitation model that does not represent normal people. Furthermore, advertisers should not use tricky strategies to play with the consumer's mind, and show what's not real or don't exist.