The following essay was written for class as a review of the movie, "The Ad and The Ego". I don't recommend the movie, and you'll understand why if you read my essay.
The Ad and the Ego: Unconscious Mumbo Jumbo
I knew this movie was doomed when a commentator used the word unconscious when he meant subconscious – as in “advertising affects the unconscious mind”. The creators of “The Ad and The Ego” would have us believe that all of the world’s ills are caused by advertising and knowing this will remove the power that ads have over us. This is clearly an unfinished hypothesis and the authors do nothing to complete it. In fact, they offer no solutions, at all, other than espousing an unoriginal argument that power holders utilize advertising to bend us to their will and ultimately support their powerbase.
Unfortunately, the authors defend their position with sociologists that seem to be unable to communicate anything other than the rhetoric expected of those sitting on the “left” side of the spectrum. In fact, I would not be surprised if their argument would be silenced should an administration be in office that more aligned with their political ideology.
The above notwithstanding, there are aspects of a society that is constantly bombarded with sounds bites that last anywhere from fifteen to thirty seconds that we should look to address. Our “MVT-ized” culture seems to be unable to pay attention to anything for more than short periods. If something challenges us to think, we seem to be overpowered by it and quickly turn to something else. Our news is delivered without substance. We are told what to think without challenging it. We are numb to the constant barrage that we are under. However, the problem isn’t with “advertising” per se, rather a culture that demands immediate gratification and is largely unwilling to work for the things that we want. Any media delivered in a way that is counter to the “I want it with no effort” criteria is rejected. Advertisings fault? I don’t think so.
In fact, advertising takes advantage of knowing what we want and delivering it in a way that we’ll accept. It is SUPPOSED to generate a need response and cannot do this without making us first feel that we are missing something. Companies are SUPPOSED to sell products, creating markets for their products when needed. People in power are SUPPOSED to want to remain in power. However, this doesn’t mean that we need to be automatons, powerless to the onslaught of advertising as the creators of the movie seem to think we are. In fact, should more people come to the realization that we are powerful and that we do have the ability to filter what we see, control what we think, and determine what stimuli we allow into our bodies, our culture would grow by leaps and bounds.
Until we exercise this ability, and our bodies which are accustomed to sitting in front of the television, we’ll continue to respond to the emptiness that is delivered in short sound- and video-bites.