Advertising as Toxic Spirituality

TV GazersWe watched the season finale of Heroes on Monday night at my friend Jeff’s place. I watch next to no TV, so the barrage of advertising caught me unawares. (This was the first episode that we watched on TV: we watched the rest online)

It was staggering how almost every ad’s content had nothing to do with the actual product. Ads do not sell products. They sell ideas and trick you into associating a product with that idea. And although I could be wrong, I would say that these ideas are invariably spiritual ideas.

Advertising works because it appeals to a spiritual reality. It doubly works because people generally don’t realize that they are spiritual beings. In the spiritual vacuum that we live in, people will latch on to whatever they can get to satisfy the spiritual necessities that most deny exist.

I’ll give one example: adveritising sells acceptance. There is certainly a vacuum of that in our society, starting in over half of the homes which have divorced parents. Both parents and children do not feel accepted, so any advertising which targets this deficiency is bound to be successful.

To compound matters, our predominantly suburban living arrangements conspire to isolate us from any possibility of finding acceptance in community. Add to this the decline of organized religion and its accompanying notion of divine acceptance, and it’s no wonder people are tripping over each other to buy shit like Axe body spray.

Advertising wouldn’t be so bad if it delivered what was promised. It does not. We need more people who will stand up and call these scheming swindlers the liars they are. I know that I’ve sent notice that I’m not taking it any more.

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