Perspectives - AP US notes and reactions on certain areas of American history

Essay by van_EcksHigh School, 11th gradeA-, December 2006

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Advertising and Mass Consumption

1. Determining Relevance

The surge of credit in America has increased in a direct relationship with the increase of advertising. Companies always want to find a way to convince the public that they need the latest product. Accordingly, they advertise through many mediums, two examples of which being radio and television. The genius of the advertising agencies also persuades the public they must have the latest right now, and here is the expansion of credit. Once the public has been won over, they need a way to pay for the new, expensive products. The common man usually works from paycheck to paycheck, so in order to purchase their goods, they use credit. They believe paying off in installments will allow them to cover the debt over time, so why not use credit, pay with ease and also get a new product? Essentially killing two birds with one stone, the companies successfully sell the new product; the people use credit to pay it off and both sides often walk away feeling satisfied.

The credit industry grows as people use credit more and more often to purchase their goods.

2. Identifying Central Issues

I feel that advertising and mass consumption are positives aspects of American society, but that these aspects are sometimes abused. Advertising different brands of the same product encourages competition in the marketplace, and that leads to benefits for the consumer, as different companies are competing to create the best, most efficient product at the lowest price possible. On the flip side, constant advertising can be a nuisance (e.g. telemarketing, pop-up banners) and if a significant amount of revenue is generated from advertising, keeper the sponsors happy may result in self-censorship (e.g. one cannot make disparaging remarks about a sponsor's product or focus on controversial subjects).