The original definition of the word “advertising” does not look that bad. It is simply explained as “calling the attention of the public to a product or business. ” However, the advertising companies usually abuse the real meaning of advertising and try to sell their product no matter what it takes to do so. It is very hard not to notice advertisement in today’s world. The commercials, the adds, the posters are everywhere; from TV, newspapers magazines and billboards to even a bus that is taking us to work everyday.
Advertising companies know exactly how to get into our heads and how to convince us to buy their product instead of thousands of the different ones. No one can argue that advertising is influential, but there are a lot of critics and journalists that try to convince us to believe that it is not only harmless, but influential to us. One of them is John E. Calfee who in his essay “How Advertising Informs to Our Benefit” tries his hardest to prove that advertising has a positive impact on us.
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In his essay, Calfee gives very strong arguments supported by research and statistics, which unfortunately would probably convince an average American to agree with his ideas. John E. Calfee describes advertising as providing the people to help them live healthier and safer lives. His essay seems to be perfectly developed with multiple thoughts and ideas, but he uses a lot of examples which contain a hidden agenda. For example in “Vegetable oil manufacturers advertised that cholesterol was associated with coronary heart disease, and that vegetable oil does not contain cholesterol.
Margarine ads did the same and added the vitamin A is essential for good vision” (Calfee 213) he shows how beneficial for us is that vegetable oil has no cholesterol and there is vitamin A in margarine, but Calfee does not tell us that even though vegetable oil and margarine do not contain cholesterol, it is proven that both of these products are prosperous in raising the cholesterol level in blood. With seeing my father struggling with cholesterol for a long part of his life I know that people with high cholesterol level should not consume any margarine and oils, no matter what vitamins are added to them.
How is concealing those important facts beneficial? If the advertisers are not hiding the truth, they are simply overstating the benefits of a certain product. Just like in a Kellogg’s commercial “one of their highest recommendations is to eat high-fiber foods. If you compare, you’ll find Kellogg’s All-Brand has nine grams of fiber per serving. No other cereal has more. So start your day with a bowl of Kellogg’s All-Brand! (Calfee 212) Those ads saw the daylight almost the next day the National Cancer Institutions publicized the research which suggested that eating more fiber can protect you from getting cancer. The ads and commercials did not suggest anything; it seemed like eating Kellogg’s cereal automatically prevented consumers from getting cancer. Also there is a very good reason why Calfee didn’t mention the most controversial and attacked advertising company McDonald’s in his essay. He knew perfectly that McDonald’s is being way over the limit with continuous commercials.
Everyone knows that fast food is not good for you, with advertising they try to convince us to buy it anyway. In most of the cases it works. Fast food companies are very popular, because their food tastes good (thanks to all of the spices) and is very convenient (McDonald’s is almost on every corner, and their food is served very fast). However, it is very unhealthy. We can easily see the affect of the fast food on a human body in the movie “Supersize Me” in which Michael Moore decides to go on a thirty days long McDonald’s diet.
After a month he gained twenty- four pounds. Gaining weight was just the outward sign: His liver became toxic, his cholesterol went up, his libido lowered and he got huge headaches and became depressed. It is impossible for advertising to be beneficial is the product they advertise is not. Without those ads and commercials McDonald’s would be nothing, but with them it became one of the most successful companies in the world. Although advertising was presenting our years for tens of years, it has become very drastic and unscrupulous these days.
Slowly the ads and commercials changed into spam, junk mail or phone calls which really disrespect out private life. The marathon between the advertising companies had come up to the point where they are being able to lie, cheat, or trick people to buy their products. The essays and articles like Calfee’s only try to bluff the truth about it. No matter what we do or what we say the advertising influences and will influence what we eat, what we drink, what we wear and these factors are a part of who we really are. The question is, should it really have that power?