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To observe that mass media influence the consumer is redundant—of course television, film, the Internet, etc. seek to influence the consumer via advertising and of course that advertising use all the tricks of persuasion—identification, empathy, etc., as well as economic persuasions. The sexual content of the advertising pitches is part of a larger strategy—to associate the purchase of the product with pleasure to the consumer. When selling food, for example, the person smiles, smacks his lips, even drools, to relate the food product with eating pleasure. Where the ethical line is crossed is when the mass-media advertisement implies pleasure by sexually suggestive visuals that have nothing at all to do with the actual product—beer and liquor ads, for example, make this connection all the time, implying sexual success with the consumption of their product. There is very little ethical integrity in doing so; the fact that it works does not excuse it, even in a free-enterprise system.
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