Television commercials are very important tools in shaping the behaviors of the potential buyers, but the imagery used in today’s commercials have disregarded ethical and moral standards leading to decay even though the consumers might not realize the fact. Many years ago, the members of the society in the United States used to watch television and took commercials for granted. Before the advent of television, advertisers used radios for advertisements. The commercial advertisement began late in the United States after previous attempts allowed free advertisements with the aim of delivering services that served the best interest, convenience, and necessity: even with progress from still camera images to the advent of television, people still did not see the need for possessing the television sets in their sitting rooms until the 1950s. In this paper, while reviewing Elizabeth Thoman’s article, I consider the evolution of imagery and their incorporation into advertising as disregarding the ethical considerations of culture. Therefore, it important to put in place mechanisms that regulate advertising since they affect the target audiences through what they take in as commercials, even if they do not know that these ads are really influencing their behavior through the images.
In her article, “Rise in Image Culture: Re-Imaging the American Dream,” Elizabeth Thoman, the founder of Media and Values magazine explains how life changed in advertising, imagery, and broadcasting in the United States from radios to still camera images to television advertising. She argues that televisions have become fused with the habits and patterns of everyday life, and provides that critical media awareness is important to ensure that people comprehend the images they view in the commercial advertisements. People today have television sets in their homes for entertainment and information among other purposes. Commercials viewed on television screens sometimes come when families are watching the screens together. These images, however sometimes disregard the ages and gender of compositions, which sometimes become disturbing to families.
In the beginning of the essay, Thoman explains how life had been in the past, where people owned radios and advertisers used these for advertisement. However, she indicates that the United States, progress has been made in imagery from still images to moving images. She further indicates that a change to the new is better than the current status. In this regard, she indicates that, despite the advent of television in the 1930s, it took about two decades to use this technology for advertising. Additionally, Thoman indicates that, at the beginning of the advertisement phenomena, advertisers used commercials to influence the immigrants into the United states for abundance to the latter’s abundance. These immigrants had to understand the American ways of life such as the foods, clothing, and other forms of societal conditions, to which they were expected to conform. Additionally, by the turn of the century, as the media critics noted that production, packaging, marketing, advertising, and sales became inseparable, advertisement served the information purpose
She, however, highlights that, in the current advertising in the United States and beyond, advertisers use the images to influence the buyers to consume their products. She highlights that buyers have to comprehend the advertisements on televisions, radios, billboards, and other forms of advertisement to make conclusions on their buying behavior. These conflicting information and imagery form different views and perceptions on the brains of the people viewing these commercials. She further indicates that there are three possible remedies to living in the world of images. These remedies include denial, rejection, and resistance. She explains the denial as hoping that the problem will go away through ignorance as a natural response; rejection turning off the attempts to dilute the culture through imagery; and resistance as pointing out the dangers of over reliance on the image culture (p. 174). However, she indicates that, in addition to these remedies, more positive alternatives are needed such as media awareness. The media can be used positively to inform the public about decision-making in the society, especially about the things that they take inform commercials. She quotes Mahatma Gandhi, who said that, we need a society where there is enough for everyone’s need and not everyone’s greed. She also uses the Buddhism idea of mindfulness, which provides that people need to be conscious, aware, carefully examining and asking questions about the commercials.
In conclusion, Thoman indicates at the bottom of her essay that the earth only provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed. Therefore, in my opinion, while advertisers use televisions to influence consumption, it is important to ensure that the public is aware of the significances these images create in their minds, and how they affect their social life. It is additionally important to educate the society on the positive and negative effects of such images, and how they should balance what they view on televisions, and billboards, and hear on radios.
Thoman, Elizabeth. “Rise in Image Culture: Re-Imaging the American Dream.” Analyzing Images. Chapter 6