Advertisements as Mental Smokescreen
I don't normally watch television, but the rest of the family still does. Among the few times I watch TV with them, I can't help but notice that as more TV ads got more self-conscious, the more their themes began to shift to more or less these two things:
Surviving the “harsh reality” presented in the ad in some way or,
Getting ahead of others so you can get the things you deserve in life
All well and good that the “mainstream narrative” is now starting to acknowledge how horrible life is, but the fact remains that the things they're selling, are almost always band-aid solutions to problems that are bigger than the individuals they're trying to sell to. And if you'll allow me, they may even be doing that on purpose.
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”
- Edward Bernays, Propaganda
Read that last sentence again. It comes from the Father of Modern Public Relations, and literally wrote the books on the subject that all advertising firms and PR teams use. He goes on to say that a manufacturing plant of any kind cannot wait for the public to ask for their products, but instead must proactively make their product be something they want to buy. Only this will justify the costs and expenses to build one.
And so the skin care companies will remind, and magnify, your own perceived ugliness, banks tempting you with the promise of “experiences worth more than money”, among other things. If we go to the root of why we lack basic needs, and why our emotional and mental needs are all neglected, we will see plain as day that these things are being held back from us in order to profit from us.
They create repackaged identities and ideas that divide us rather than bring us together against the ones killing our collective soul.
For as long as we live in a capitalist regime, where profits reign supreme, the messaging that we will continue to see on television, on the billboards and everywhere else, will be the kind that legitimizes the status quo and the business' role in it.