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The Persuaders

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The ‘Persuaders’ is a film touching on the multi-billion dollar advertising and marketing industry. It was directed by Douglas Rushcoff. Its main focus is on how marketers are coming up with new ways so as to merge their message into our daily lives. The film has short case studies from different corporations on how they get to make consumers buy their products through advertised. It also discusses how marketing affects politics. Rushcoff depicts how different politicians use the tools of advertising and marketing so as to get elected, or continue to stay in office. He mentions how they can manipulate the image they want others to see so as to get elected to office and also keep that power. People tend to take the candidate as a product, but most of the time he/she does not match the portrayed product. This film focuses on how the advertisement terrain has shifted from its main objective of highlighting what the product does to the current scenario which emphasizes on what the product means (Walden, 2007).

In this film, Rushcoff shows us how we, as consumers, are trapped through advertisement. We are hit with very many advertisements everyday which trap us. Dr Luntz, a political consultant, has a very different approach to market research. He believes that what matters most is to tell the people what they want to hear and not what you want to tell them. Bob Garfield criticizes most companies for failing to come up with proper advertisements.  Many companies try to make an emotional connection between their products and their consumers. Nevertheless, only a few of them have managed to do so, for instance, the Coca-Cola Company. According to Garfield, everyone is a persuader. He asserts that there has been a shift in the purpose of advertisement; the current mission of advertisement firms is to induce customers to persuade themselves.

Consumers are always misled due to the fact that many advertisements and campaigns often lead them to misinterpret facts. Dr Luntz, however, disagrees with this notion. He believes that even though words are changed, these ideas are already there and so the use of different words which the people believe is truly told. He asserts that product advertising is a good thing since it satisfies consumer needs. Nonetheless, he disagrees with lying. He agrees with the fact that political advertising continually gets worse and is full of lies. According to him, it is corrupt because politicians say what they can just to get votes.

Garfield also points out unsuccessful advertisement where the message that is meant to be passed across becomes confusing. As such, not enough information is passed across to consumers. This he says in referring to an ad by sharp that says ‘If Seeing Is Believing Is Not So Bright in Its Messaging’ (Walden, 2007). The consumer in the long run won’t get to understand the true meaning that was intended for.

There is a kind of a cultural crisis that is brought about by advertising whereby people are forced to do things that they are not familiar with. One advertising professor once said that TV ads have become more crowded and so advertisers should look for other means of advertising. Every old safe haven has been intruded by ads. The save havens include schools and churches. As such, it is accurate to say that we live in a world of propaganda. Advertising is just but a commercial form of propaganda, though it wants no contradiction. People should ask themselves what content makes the advertisers to feel better. What advertising wants to attain is to make us become addicted to the products that are being advertised. Advertisers usually want to make people believe that consumption is the only way to live (Walden, 2007).

Media critic Mark Crispin Miller analyzes the claim by the champions of advertising; that advertisement is a form of democracy because people are given the power to choose.  According to him, this argument is wrong and skewed. To him, advertisement has to do with a very narrow realm of daily life. In the political realm though, democracy involves participation, dissent and taking civic responsibility seriously. Consequently, it is not really accurate to say that there is democracy in advertising. Moreover, it is also not right to say that advertising is democratic since it only appeals to people who can afford to buy the things that are being advertised. Therefore, it only addresses the population that has an amount of disposable income. In conclusion, it is not wrong to claim that media nowadays has become corrupt. It has failed to fulfill its obligation of informing the masses.

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