Coming from a marketing background, it would be unusual if I didn’t believe advertising was worthwhile, and I do. I think it is a mechanism for connecting consumers with products and for finding otu what products or services are the most worthwhile, and getting rid of those that aren’t. I have never totally agreed with the argument that it causes people to desire products they wouldn’t want and leads to unhappiness. ┬áHumans have always been that way – whether it is wanting another country to add to their empire or an island that has access to oil. The Romans were conquering Britain 2 millennia before the advent of advertising. It also presupposes the inability of people to think for themselves, I more believe in people thinking for themselves and weighing up the pro’s and con’s.

However, I’m not an absolutist and think it can also do harm. On a trip to Chicago a few months, advertising seem to take over the horizon. There were billboards all over the side of the road, posters everywhere and watching the TV became a disjointed experience due to the constant breaks. It also seems that American sports were specifically designed to allow for as much ad breaks as possible.

It has a strangely dispiriting impact on the disposition to be constantly reminded of yourself as the consumer, rather than all the greater activities that people do every day. Studies have showed that humans have a great ability to ignore the thousands of advertising messages they encounter every week, but many still get through.

I’m a strong advocate of advertising, but a little less would be good.