|California Newsreel Printout|
THE AD AND THE EGO
FIRST FRAME OF PICTURE = 00:00:00
Stuart Ewen: I think what we're really talking about here when we talk about advertising is a system of education.
Jean Kilbourne: I think advertising is not only a form of education it's one of the most powerful forms of education in our society, and one of the reasons that its so powerful is that is not considered educational.
Sut Jhally: In one sense the most powerful propaganda system is that which doesn't allow itself to be recognized as propaganda, and I think advertising is that kind of system.
Ewen: Is a system which begins to kind of lay out a certain set of assumptions about how the world works.
Jhally: It just appears to be the way the world is - appears naturalized. In that sense it becomes very very powerful.
Ewen: The problem, of course, is that the ads are encouraging people to participate in cycles of disposal which represent on an ecological level some of the most fundamental crises of contemporary life.
TRUTH & CONSEQUENCES = 00:02:13
Kilbourne: Advertising sells products but it also sells a great deal more than products. It sells values, it sell images, it sells concepts of love and sexuality, of romance, of success, and perhaps above all, of normalcy. To a very great extent it tells us who we are and who we should be. However I think that advertising is often overlooked, or is considered too trivial to really be examined. Because the individual ads are stupid and trivial, people assume that the whole phenomenon is a stupid and trivial one.
Ewen: In order to understand advertising you can't look at just individual ads by themselves.
Jhally: 'Cause advertising isn't simply only about goods, it's about a whole set of different values.
Kilbourne: Also just about everyone in America feels personally exempt from the influence of advertising. So wherever I go, what I hear more than anything else is: I don't pay attention to ads, I don't look at them, I just tune them out, they don't have any effect on me. I hear this most often from young men wearing Budwiser caps.
Bernard McGrane: That's one of advertisements most brilliant accomplishments, to get us to believe that we're not affected by advertising.
Kilbourne: and in many ways this is what gives it its power, this belief that people have that they are not influenced by it, that it is beneath them.
Ewen: People's experience of advertising is not one ad by itself each at a time, but rather that advertising begins to sort of constitute a totality for people. It becomes an environment.
Richard Pollay: Because it's pervasive it's taken for granted, that is, we don't see it very well because we're surrounded by it in multiple media all the time, from the time we're born to the time we die.
Jhally: They're so around us, they're so much a part of our environment, that we don't even think about them.
Ewen: Advertising as a totality repeats certain kinds of consistent messages again and again and again.
Kilbourne: The average American is exposed to over 1500 ads every day. Now of course we don't pay attention to all of those ads, but the effect of advertising is cumulative and it's mostly unconscious.
McGrane: It's like breathing the air. You don't notice the pollution.
Pollay: McLuhan used to say we're not sure who discovered water but it was unlikely to have been a fish to illustrate the point that environments are hard to perceive when you're caught up in them.
Jhally: and I think we have to, we have to get the fish to think about the water, and that means denaturalizing that world, it means, it means pointing out that this world was not always like this, that this world was constructed by someone.
Ewen: and the issue may not be does this particular ad work, but what is the impact of living in an advertising infused environment, and what way does it begin to sort of shape understandings of the world, understandings of power, understandings of the self.
Kilbourne: and in addition to selling individual products, advertising teaches all of us to be above all consumers. It teaches us that happiness can be bought, that there are instant solutions to life's complex problems and that products can fulfill us, can meet our deepest human needs.
Jhally: and so concentrated in the media system, so concentrated in television, is both sort of the central values as well as the central organizing principal, profit, in that sense I think if you wanted to understand modern society, if you wanted to understand the society we live in, I think advertising is the best place to look.
IN THE BEGINNING = 00:06:13
Ewen: You know when we start to talk about where advertising comes from, it's in certain ways sort of a hard question to answer. Just because, depending on how you define advertising something like it has been around for a long time. You know, shop signs in the medieval village, were a form of advertising. But when did advertising move from being merely a way of informing people about the existence of goods or services and really start becoming in certain ways a form of socialization a tool of socialization? From the mid to late nineteenth century onward, advertising became an increasingly sort of common aspect of people's everyday visual experience. Most of that early advertising is essentially information, it gives you a picture of the product, it tells you what the product will do. The way in which advertising addressed the people assumed that people are essentially these sorts of rational beings who when provided with certain kinds of information will draw certain kinds of conclusions, like I've got dyspepsia, I've got fallen arches, this is the stuff I need. By the nineteen twenties, same society, all of a sudden these ads are talking less and less about products and more and more about the lives, and I would add, more and more about the emotional and social lives of prospective consumers. And a number of things had happened along the way: number one is that by the nineteen twenties the ability to mass produce goods has reached such a point that you cannot just assume that there will be markets out there for your goods, you need to be able to in certain ways not just mass produce goods, but mass produce markets which are hungry for those goods.
MANUFACTURING CONSUMERS = 00:09:14
McGrane: Somewhere around the fifties, in some sense we reached the kind of material utopia so that the problem was not too little cheese produced, but not enough cheese consumed, so it became the job of the advertisers to produce consumers.
Ewen: and now all of a sudden advertising is trying to make people increasingly uncomfortable in their own skins, uncomfortable in and with their own lives.
McGrane: So that the function of advertising became the production of discontent in human beings. One of the sub-texts in all advertising is you're not ok, you're not ok the way you are, things are bad, you need help, you need salvation, and in that sense advertising is designed to generate endless self criticism, to generate all sorts of anxieties, all sorts of doubts, and then to offer the entire world of consumer goods as salvation. That's where salvation rests, anything and everything that you can buy.
Kilbourne: For example, if advertisers are selling creams that are supposed to make women look younger, of course they're going to want to also sell anxiety about aging. That's going to be a necessary part of what they sell in order to get women to use these worthless creams.
McGrane: In contrast, one message you will never hear in advertising is, you're ok; you don't need anything; just be you.
Kilbourne: If one is constantly feeling that if you just have,the next time you have the right car or if you just looked a certain way or lost ten pounds that this will bring happiness, it does an enormous amount of harm.
McGrane: I have an exercise that students do where they're supposed to sort of look at themselves in the mirror for 15 minutes, and one of the things that comes up very strongly, both for the men and women is that they find in doing this natural thing, they're just supposed to be looking at themselves in the mirror for 15 minutes and seeing what they can see, just to sort of accurately view their own reflection, and many of them discover that, instead of seeing themselves for what they are,they're absolutely haunted by seeing what they're not, that they're endlessly comparing themselves to the advertisements that they've been surrounded with their whole lives. It's the opposite of therapy of any sort of genuine therapy, that is, designed to help a person achieve a kind of inner sense of peace with themselves. Advertising is designed to generate an inner sense of conflict with ourselves.
BECOMING WHAT WE BEHOLD = 00:13:25
Ewen: One piece of the philosophic system of advertising is this idea that people are continually, you are continually competing with everyone around you to be noticed, to be seen, to be admired, be successful.
McGrane: and the structure of the advertisement is such that it needs to grasp attention, it needs to promote itself. So that we think we have to be like that, we have to capture people's attention, we have to be fascinating, we have to be interesting, we have to be colorful, we have to be creative.
Ewen: As young people go out looking for jobs, we're talking about in certain ways a largely de-skilled work force in which personality is this increasingly important job category and therefore one needs to turn oneself into a product to be sold.
McGrane: and the unintended consequence of that in terms of identify formation is that we get imprinted with this phenomenon.
Kilbourne: and we are learning far more from advertising often than from schools. I know the average child spends a lot more time watching television, for example, than being in school. Advertising certainly affects our self images quite deeply. Certainly for women, there's such tremendous emphasis for women in the culture in general, but particularly through advertising on physical appearance, and these days on physical perfection.
FALSE IDOLS = 00:15:11
Kilbourne: Now people sometimes say, well, there's always been an ideal of beauty, the Greeks had their statues, that sort of thing, which is true. However, there never before has been the kind of mass technology which has made it possible for this image to be reproduced and to be thrust into our faces, you know, hundreds of thousands of times everywhere you go. You turn on the TV, you open a magazine, you look at a billboard and it's essentially the same face, the same body, that is defining what's beautiful. We're so surrounded by this image in pornography, films, television, advertising, everywhere, that women have been conditioned to feel like failures if we don't look like this, and men have been conditioned to feel like failures if they don't have a woman on their arm who looks like this. Another difference with this ideal, this mass market ideal, from the ancient ideal of beauty, lets say, is that the point of this ideal, today's ideal, is to sell products. That's the only point. It has no other deeper kind of value. It's simply to sell products. And the way that it does this is to make women feel incomplete, feel anxious, feel insecure. Of course it's impossible to achieve this look but nonetheless one must try because there's tremendous penalties for women who don't try, there's a lot of contempt and hostility for women who opt out of this contest.
MOVING MASSES = 00:17:03
Ewen: In this country during the first World War, all of the propagandistic trades, advertising people, newspaper people, illustrators, get sucked into propaganda apparatus to sell the war. This is a period of time in which fundamental intellectual shifts are going on in terms of what is human nature, what motivates people, etc. What goes on during the war, in fact, is that it becomes a laboratory of how do you persuade, how do you move masses, and all of a sudden now, by the time the twenties emerge, and it's a correlation to what you find in advertising, people who are involved in the question of trying to persuade other people about things, no longer view people as essentially rational but increasingly have sort of bought into the discoveries of psychoanalytical thought and Pavlovian psychology and all kinds of other stuff, and assume, in fact, now the real motivating forces, the real technique by which people can be persuaded to do anything, whether it's go to war or buy a hamburger, is to appeal to them on levels of which they are unconscious. What goes on during the war, in fact, is that it becomes a laboratory of how do you persuade, how do you move masses.
Kilbourne: I think it's true when people say that they tune advertising out, that most people do, that most people don't pay conscious attention to advertising. The mistake that they make is thinking that means they are not influenced by advertising. In fact, people are extremely influenced when they're most zoned out and when they're watching TV, or driving past a billboard in a trance or flipping through a magazine. They flip past an ad they may think that they haven't seen it but in fact they have.
Ewen: What I'm saying is the bedrock of assumptions of specialists are now is that people are incapable of thinking, and even if they're capable of thinking it's harder to persuade them if they're thinking, so let's not speak to them while they're thinking.
Pollay: The bulk of today's advertising doesn't make explicit verbal assertions about the product that are true or false. In fact, truth and falsity is almost a mute point in a lot of advertising. It just creates an image, an aura around the product, a portrayal of a certain lifestyle, a certain contentment. The best example of that might be something like the Marlboro campaign. It uses this whole mythology of independence, autonomy, and self-reliance, and does so, of course, with the classic mythology of the cowboy, says absolutely nothing about the cigarette, makes no true or false claims about the quality of the cigarette, the health consequences of the cigarette.
SEEING IS BELIEVING = 00:21:16
Ewen: But precisely at this moment when the concept of human nature is moving from a rational to an irrational assumption about peoples, precisely at that moment when the paradigm of journalism as a tool of communication is giving way to the paradigm of advertising as the way you communicate with people, another shift takes place, and that is the word begins to give way to the image.
Pollay: We don't process images in the same way we process words. If I say something to you, in order for you to sort of file that in your memory and to understand it, you match it up with what you already know and in your mind you may go, well, that's true or maybe it's not true only if you engage in a kind of counter argument, or cognitive processing. If I show you a picture, seeing is believing, the picture is an experience. It's not treated and processed in the same cognitive way. We still have this cultural predisposition to believe what we see, that the photo does not lie. The words might lie but the photo can be taken as a truthful representation.
Ewen: There is an increased assumption that if you really want to move people don't use words use images - there's this sense that symbols and images have a force of persuasion which is undeniable.
SYMBOLISM AND POWER = 00:22:58
Jhally: Symbolism is absolutely key to how human beings live. That search for meaning, that's what human beings essentially are, a species that is always searching for meaning, is always wanting to find out why things work the way they do and the way to look at advertising is that, that the process into which advertising now comes. So advertising is not creating this processing, advertising, in fact, is using a deeply human process of needing symbolic meaning. The advertisers in that sense understand this process much better than the critics do, they understand what it is that motivates people, they understand what consumers are all about, that's what they're experts in, that's what they spend billions of dollars of research on. They've had a whole century of experience about how to appeal to consumers. They know the power of symbolism, and they know that it's not just their manipulating it. They know that this is a human capacity that they can use for their own ends.
Ewen: If you're a leader who wants people to follow, what you need to do is to discover those symbols which will make people react.
Jhally: Symbolism is never just natural. Symbolism is always tied up with power, symbolism is always tied up with the control of social and cultural power.
Ewen: and symbols are these things which have an enormous amount of impact, but have been separated from ideas. They aren't things which encourage thought.
Jhally: and you always have to look at who decides the symbolism, who is in control of that cultural process.
Ewen: If you can get people by their feeling, if you can grab people by their emotions, you can get them to follow. That's one of the reason why, I mean, I actually think the relationship between Pavlovian psychology and 20th century America is something that needs much more exploration, because there's a lot of talk about the influence of Freudian theory and psychoanalysis and theories of the unconscious and instinct theory and so on and so forth, but I think one of the things that's often been left out of the analysis is that the ultimate psychology which runs through our society is the Pavlovian psychology, and just as Pavlov's dogs were trained to salivate at the ringing of the bell and then they would be fed and then after awhile all you had to do was ring the bell and they thought food and they salivated. That's basically the way in which communication strategies operate in the United States from the twenties on. You start creating stimuli which is designed to make people salivate.
LESS THAN HUMAN = 00:26:18
Kilbourne: One of the worst things that advertising does is that it turns people into objects. Women's bodies become things, become objects. We're so used to this that it's almost invisible to us, and yet it has very serious consequences. Now I'm not saying that someone looks at an ad like that and then abuses a woman. It's not that simple. But certainly, the first step towards justifying violence against a human being is to think of that person as less than human, to think of that person as a object. The Surgeon General has spoken about his; more and more groups have become concerned about the fact, that of course, these images in our lives affect us. It's not simplistic, it's not reductive, it's not, you know, you see a violent image and you go out and are violent to someone; it's that, inevitably, we value human beings less if we're surrounded by objectified representations of them.
THE DREAM LIFE = 00:29:50
Jhally: The messages about commodities now permeate all of our social spaces. It's about objects, it's about these things. But advertisers don't really talk about things, they talk about these things in relationship to other things which are important to us so when you look at advertising, what advertising, I think is, is the dream life of the culture, 'cause what it reflects is the things that we really want. Because when you ask people what they want out of life, when the quality of life surveys are done, you know, people very rarely respond by saying a BMW or a big house, you know. Maybe sometimes, but when you say, what is that going to give you, they respond with things like, well, I want, you know, a good social life, I want a good family life, I want a good romantic life, I want to have leisure time that I'm in control of, I want to have a work life that I'm in control of, I want individual autonomy. That's what people really want. Unfortunately objects can't give us those things. All those answers are social answers they're not material answers, the marketplace in some sense can not provide what it is that people say they really want.
Kilbourne: Advertising sets up a constant desire for more and it's constantly promising fulfillment, via things that could not possibly give us that kind of fulfillment.
Jhally: Now advertisers are very smart. They know this, they know that they can't gives us what we want. But they take that image of what we want and link it up to these objects. It's not about manipulation, it's not about false consciousness. It's about getting into the dream life of people.
THE MAGIC SYSTEM = 00:31:35
Ewen: Advertising is all about injecting value into objects whose utility isn't quite enough to get people to buy them.
McGrane: and when we do go out and buy a product, this has had such a powerful seepage into our collective unconscious that we're not just buying a product anymore, we're purchasing entrance into this magical world.
Jhally: and when you look at it up close, you'll see that it's a very strange world. In advertising using the right product will instantly and physically transform you. Advertising in that sense reflects really sort of a super natural world. Well, what's the basis of that? 'Cause I don't think people are totally stupid. Remember, on the one hand they know that it's not really going to do that. But there must be an element in which they think that buying the right beer, buying the right car, using the right perfume, will in some sense make their world better. And I think the basis of that is a belief in technology, that we can create so many things in so many powerful ways, that these objects in some sense are so powerful, that the technology that goes into them are so powerful that they will somehow magically transform our lives. And so we have the melding of supernatural beliefs and technological beliefs, beliefs in science, beliefs in advancement, way beyond anything that technology and science can deliver. The science seems to sort of build towards even more of belief in the supernatural properties of glitz. And those two don't seem to be in contradiction. And so we believe in technology and the power of science. At the same time we have these beliefs in the magical properties of glitz that come together in advertising.
CONSUMING CULTURE = 00:33:44
Ewen: So we're really existing in situations where what started out as this sort of bruh ha ha on the edge of a culture, a market place, and by the early 20th century was this fundamental fixture of a culture, but still sort of occupied a discrete place, where today the realm of commercialism is something which has no borders.
Jhally: Advertising is the most powerful socializing force in this society. Firstly because it's simply there in all the social spaces that we now live in, in every nook and cranny, every culture, and more and more of our cultural space is taken over by the discourse of advertisers. So just by its sheer presence in terms of speaking to us everywhere it has to have an influence.
Ewen: The media in which one advertises have become coterminous to society itself, that is, virtually whenever anybody is awake and looking somewhere, wherever they are looking, is potentially a medium you can use to sell things.
INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS = 00:35:08
Pollay: So it's not just a television ad you see, it's not just a promotional event, and it's not just public relations. It's all of those things pulled together. So now the buzz word in our field isn't advertising or a somewhat larger concept of all promotional communications. Now we talk about an "integrated communications mix."
Ewen: There is this almost kind of frantic attempt to reach people in ways that are not going to be overwhelmed by other people's messages.
Pollay: and the idea there is that the target member of the audience should receive similar messages from a multiplicity of sources.
Jhally: The power of advertising doesn't come from the fact that it manipulates us. The power of advertising in one sense is based on its monopoly of the cultural space within which we think about ourselves, within which we figure out who we are, within which we figure how the society works. I mean, that's in some sense ultimate power, 'cause all alternative visions are blocked from that.
Pollay: One of the interesting aspects of this concept of integrated communications is that it's very faithful to a principal of propaganda that was first specified, as far as I know, by Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda chief.
Jhally: There are huge amounts of money and creativity expended on advertising. These are not just incidental messages, these are very powerful messages, designed to communicate to us in a deep way. So when you put those two things together, intense messages with a lot of creativity, with a lot of effort, with a monopolization of the cultural space within which we live, you have there a cultural power of the very first order.
Ewen: In the '30's Walter Benjamin wrote quite extensively on the power of images. He talked about how people's alienation had reach such a point that they can experience their own destruction as an entertainment of the first order. Although, he was talking about Lenni Reseinstahl's "Triumph of The Will," I think we in American are also living amidst a society which routinely sort of transforms power into beauty.
PREMEDITATED WASTE = 00:37:23
Ewen: Or at least cloak power and cloak human destruction behind beautiful faces and aesthetic experiences. And as a result, the very processes which may endanger human survival are often portrayed as, you know, intense sensual experiences, and there's a whole industry which is involved, in fact, in translating the process of consumption into an erotic spectacle.
Pollay: I think of one the most telling consequences of advertising is the ecological or environmental consequences.
Ewen: Part of what advertising does, I mean, if you want to talk about what are the messages imbedded within advertising as a whole, I would say the number on thing is the very principal of consumption, that is to say, making beautiful and desirable the using up of resources.
WHY ARE SO FEW OF US WASTING SO MUCH = 00:39:07
Ewen: Consumer culture is predicated on premeditated waste, that is to say, the health of the consumer economy is intimately connected to the sickness of the environmental structure.
PASSION FOR THE ROAD = 00:39:47
Herbert Chao Gunther: One of the numbers that continues to shock me is that there are as many cars in America as there are people. I mean think of that, this is the one country in the world where we manufacture, literally, these machines to carry us around that are expensive, that require these mass industrial infrastructures, requires this huge energy industry, highly inefficient, incredibly polluting. We pay an incredible price in terms of quality of life and health instead of committing ourselves to mass transportation options, and we do that to the extent that there are literally as many of these machines around as there are people. Now what do you think is going to happen today when China, with 1.2 billion people, follows that same development knowledge, when China becomes laced over with ribbons of freeways and every Chinese is driving a car, 1.2 billion people. You have to understand that there are currently only about 4 or 5 million cars in China. Now, to a capitalist, to a business man, that's an opportunity, it's a chance to create the world's biggest car market, it's a chance to cash in on the big one. There's not going to be a larger car market in the world, and that mentality is blind to the fact that it also means the death of the planet.
AMERICAN EXCESS = 00:41:58
Ewen: We live in a culture where, where things come from and where they go to is to a large extent invisible to people, and that, to a large extent, the process of consumption is something which is represented to us again and again and again as something to desire, as something beautiful, as something sexy, as something that will bring you success.
McGrane: In that sense probably the number one enemy against ecological responsibility and environmental awareness is advertising and consumerism.
Pollay: As long as we have an institution whose professional purpose is to promote consumption, we're never likely to engage in a kind of reduction of consumption that's probably necessary in order to really come to grips with our ecological fate.
Jhally: Again, one of the most powerful things you can do about advertising is to decontextualize it, because when you take it out of the context of media and you put it in some other context, you actually realize how strange these things are. A beer ad that focuses on people lying on the beach and having a good time, that's not, that' not an innocent ad. To get those consumer products requires energy and resources that do not exist on the United States, that exist elsewhere in the world, and those resources are running out.
Ewen: Which is to say that a way of life predicated on a great deal of consumption in certain parts of the world is intimately related to a way of life which is defined primarily by scarcity in other parts of the world.
Jhally: Not everyone can have access to this incredibly attractive world that advertising portrays.
Ewen: In order for certain parts of the world to be certain endless parking lots it's important for other parts of the world to be essentially these suppliers of raw materials.
PROTECTING OUR WAY OF LIFE = 00:44:55
Jhally: 'Cause what the Gulf War was essentially about, I mean George Bush said it at the start of the war, he said, what he meant by that was that we need the oil.
Ewen: Not everybody lives the same way of life in the world.
Jhally: We have to conduct this war to protect our way of life.
Ewen: There are all these sorts of systems or what you might call unequal development.
Jhally: To continue the kind of consumer lifestyle that people have been used to here we need the resources and the energy of the world and we need to make sure they don't have it and we do.
Ewen: It's the history of empire, and this is the way it's worked.
Jhally: The more powerful these images are, the more powerful people identify with the consumer way of life, the more they will be willing to put up with actions like the Gulf War. The more they will be able to divorce themselves from the Third World. And so those people in the Third World would simply appear as competitors for these scarce resources. It's the only way you can explain why people were able to put up with the massacres of the Gulf War, how they saw the sights that were used and saw things being blown up, people being blown up, and they weren't outraged by that, they didn't see them as real human beings.
Kilbourne: Civilian deaths were referred to as collateral damage. Now imagine, it's a long way from a sterile phrase like that, "collateral damage," to images of human beings buried alive in the rubble of buildings. We didn't see those pictures because that would have been intolerable. But if you think of the people as objects then violence becomes much tolerable.
MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY = 00:47:49
Gunther: Now arguably America's communication systems in terms of its technology, in terms of its potential, is gotta be the highest that's ever been achieved in human civilization. And then we look at what we get. We've got ads, we've got products, so hocked at us all day, we get an amazing amount of commercial buying and selling activity projected into our consciousness every day.
Jhally: Americans have a very strange notion of freedom. Americans seem to think that if you're free from government, that you're free, which overlooks the fact that there can be other opponents of freedom, like corporations who have immense power within that cultural space. And that censor of other voices. I think we have to now think about not only of what government shouldn't do, but about what any other large scale organization should not be allowed to do, which is monopolize the means of communication, the means of cultural structure, which is what corporations do at the present time.
Gunther: Now all that is basically pushed out of communications and the real possibility of using that system, for its real potential to teach people, to evolve people, to make it accessible, to create dialogue.
Ewen: Democracy is about an engaged public interacting with one another, a situation where all voices are heard, respected. And the only way that can happen is if the means of communications stop being held by five transnational corporations and start being something which is the common property of people, which is a birthright.
Gunther: and you certainly can't have a democracy unless you protect first and foremost information, access to information and the distribution of it.
Ewen: and you can bet your ass that those ideas and ways of seeing which might throw into question a completely corporatized way of life don't make it through the gate.
Kilbourne: So what can we do then? Well, the only thing we can do is to circumvent the mass media, go and find alternative channels, find other ways to get out information.
ALTERNATIVE VOICES = 00:50:47
Kilbourne: The answer certainly isn't more censorship. It isn't saying the networks, or whatever, have to do things completely differently. It's more free speech, that's what we need, more avenues of expression, more cable channels that are not dependent on advertising dollars.
Jhally: But I think we're dealing with such a huge sort of issue here that we've got to attack it on as many different levels as possible, I mean we have to start getting new voices into that frame-work, and we have to start challenging the monopoly.
Ewen: We need to be visionaries, and I think it's only when people start becoming visionaries, and only when sort of alternative media become an arena in which that sort of vision is being given breathing room, that in fact we may discover that commercial culture isn't about satisfaction, it's about dissatisfaction. And in fact satisfaction is not necessarily related to the disposing of resources.
McGrane: I don't think the point is to smash the advertising system. I think the point is to disengage from the advertisers. Take the advertising out of oneself. To do that, you have to ask seriously, where does advertising end and myself begin, how much of it has already affected me.
Ewen: At one point the values of consumerism and commercialism were values which were not internalized by all people, to a situation today where commercial culture and consumer society appear to be the only option there is, appear to be reality.
Jhally: The problem with that is, you know, from the viewpoint of advertisers, it's not a problem. I mean, I think there's a problem from the viewpoint of society and from the viewpoint of democracy, when it's the interest of a very few people in the society, corporate advertisers, who dominate the vistas and dominate the landscapes of how we think about ourselves and how we think about desire.
Ewen: It's not a questions of viewing this as austerity and denial and denying ourselves fun, but really questioning whether or not sustenance and fun are things that only can be the outcome of a commercial transaction.
Kilbourne: You know, no matter how many products you buy, how many things you have, if you're feeling empty inside, these things aren't going to make any difference or they're going to make a difference in a very short term way. What makes a difference in our lives is the quality of our relationships and the meaningfulness of our work, and that's, you know, that has nothingto do with buying things.
Jhally: So we're stuck with this, we're stuck with selling things. And advertisers use our dreams, our desires, our emotions, which are real, which are powerful, to sell us things which we don't really want. Its not as though we're tricked into buying them. But they're not the sources of happiness. Happiness and satisfaction flow from other things. Our society simply can't quite provide those things right now.