An ad called 'Desire'

In the middle of the summer I was walking down George Street, one of the most renowned shopping areas in Sydney. It wasn't the suffocating heat of the Australian summer what impeded me make the most of the oxygen in the air, but the hordes of shoppers who rushed into the shops following the intense campaign that the most aspirational brands in the market had been using to bombard them.

Some claim that advertising plays an essential role in economic development by promoting the exchange of goods and services. Others point at this element as a system based on consumption that might be anchored in the past. What is certain is that we are exposed to over 3000 hits daily. A continuous current of strong messages using persuasive arguments to demand that we own the products advertised. These arguments are branded with a strong social component. A territory where consumption has become a way of comparing ourselves with our fellow neighbours. A way of relativising our place in society. An identity frame of reference.

If at least we were talking about only a few products... The problem is that every message source (every advertiser) puts all of their time and effort in making receivers (consumers) desire their product. Additionally, only the source has a voice to argue. Receivers cannot make any objection with regard to that endless list of indispensable products endorsed by society, maybe because of the conviction that they will improve their lives by owning more things, or maybe because of the seductive idea of holding more goods than their neighbour.

In short, here are some things I have considered:

  • Social consumption and the status associated with each individual's level of consumption, relative to their social group.

  • Tha fallacy presented by those ads where the target is convinced that their happiness will improve by owning the goods advertised. When this promise of happiness turns out not to be fulfilled, the target will continue their quest, hence consuming more. Rodríguez Mateo says 'consumers don't believe what advertising says, but they act as if they did'.

  • A misconception of what quantity really is about. More doesn't make us more content. It's almost hard to believe that we often say that 'less is more'.

  • The sum of numerous manufacturers and advertisers and their standing up for each of their products.

Consumerism works like trauma. When the promises of ads are not resolved as expected, individuals seek to perpetuate their conduct of consumption until reaching the desired level of satisfaction, something that never really happens. Don't you think that advertising regulation should become a bit more restrictive in order to protect consumers' mental wellbeing?

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