The Degeneration of Marketing and Advertising

The worlds of advertising and marketing create promotions that diminish us.

When one examines the putrid state of today's world of advertising and marketing, it should be easy to be recognize part of the reason our society is in such a state of distress.

The problem ranges far beyond the grammatical slop that we hear in promotions, including McDonald's, "I'm lovin' it," and "The more you shop, the more you Kohl's, "Nobody Doesn't Like Sara Lee", and Servicemaster's, "Like It Never Even Happened."

Television is blanketed with ads for dangerous drugs with side effects ranging from suicidal thoughts to death, yet when we become ill, we demand that our physicians prescribe something not to cure us, but to treat our symptoms. Despite the availability of all of these "marvelous" medications, we are the sickest people on earth spending the greatest amount per capita of any nation in the world on health. Addiction to legally prescribed medications is an increasingly prominent cause of death, including the loss of many celebrities.

The sports sections of many major newspapers, including "One of America's Great Newspapers," have become the smut sections with products designed to facilitate "good sex". Even on primetime broadcasts, we, including our impressionable children, receive information on products to treat erectile dysfunction. The "family hour" from days of yore is a distant memory, tossed in the trash along with broadcast standards. Today, one must be always on guard for embarrassing ads that one will be hard-pressed to explain to young, inquiring minds. Must such ads be presented to children watching baseball games in early evening? How did we ever reach this point?

Former Saturday Night Live comedian Norm McDonald, apparently desperate for money, is seen on a Banksville Road billboard in a promotion for a cut-rate automobile insurer which seeks out the bottom of the client barrel, those who have had multiple fault accidents. Anyone is insurable! You are an unsafe driver? Who cares?

McDonald encourages the public to "Do the Minimum. I do." This means that since owning and operating a vehicle is now seen as a right rather than a privilege, and because individuals must carry automobile insurance, according to McDonald and the company for which he prostitutes himself, only minimum coverage is necessary. What this translates into is, "I, the policyholder, am poor.  I demand my 'right' to drive at the cheapest possible price. If I have a serious accident which creates significant damage, I will not have sufficient coverage to make whole the person I have struck. Who cares? The victim's only recourse would be to sue, and if he or she does so successfully, all they will get is a worthless legal judgment that I will never be able to pay! The heck with my fellow drivers! I can be as irresponsible as I wish! I get to use my money for important things like cigarettes, booze and my $150 monthly cell phone bill. Who needs a sufficient amount of insurance coverage to protect others?"

I hope that those who are responsible for the ads which help to diminish us are proud of their handiwork.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Linko September 16, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Advertisers are surely as culpable as many others for helping to facilitate the selfishness and rampant consumerism that, unfortunately, helps to sustain the largely post-industrial American economy. However, they are merely responding to a demand created by numerous market factors. In the case of auto insurance, the market factor is a government mandate that all drivers must have some form of this insurance. You make some generalizations and stereotypical characterizations that are disturbing to me. Not everyone who pursues this type of insurance is morally bankrupt or financially irresponsible. What are the alternatives to this type of "state minimum solution" in the wake of state law? Drive uninsured and break the law? Don't drive at all? Considering the thousands of people that this advertising will undoubtedly be relevant to, how many would be unable to work or otherwise function without the transportation that is facilitated by this affordable method of complying with the law? Or is that not your problem? I've got a secret - when considering the collective impact, it's everyone's problem.
Oren Spiegler September 16, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Thank you for your intelligent and thoughtful reply, Mr. Linko. Many of your points are valid, and yes, I make some generalizations which are not universal. Those who secure state minimum coverage are within the law, but not within the parameters of the decent and honorable thing to do, in my view, if they do not have adequate resources to cover damages that they inflict on others. I recognize that the analogy is hardly perfect, but I would note that if an individual cannot afford to tip the server, they should not dine out. There is no "right" to own and operate a vehicle. If a person cannot afford adequate coverage to protect their fellow motorists, they should economize on something else or find another mode of transportation. Of course they should not drive uninsured and break the law, and if they do, they should have the book thrown at them. I would note that the company I am referencing, Safe Auto, targets drivers who have had multiple (fault) accidents, telling them it is no problem for them to be insured. These are individuals who are bad risks, likely to have additional accidents, and when they do, Safe Auto will not be responsible to make the opposing party whole if there is not sufficient coverage. Talk to an independent insurance agent from a reputable company and see what he or she thinks of "Do the minimum". I do not believe that the "Who cares about my fellow motorists" model is appropriate. Thanks again for engaging me, and for stating your full name.
Ed M September 18, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Well, if you actually believe those ads, shame on you. That said, I don't see a problem with a manufacturer or retailer promoting their products. If you don't like it, don't watch it! This isn't "Clockwork Orange" where someone is forcing you to watch these ads.


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