What influence have television commercials had on the American culture?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Television commercials have had a huge impact on our culture because so many people watch so much television.  This exposes them to huge numbers of advertisements.  They then absorb the basic values of those advertisements.  Let us look at the two main ways in which these commercials have changed our society.

First, they have helped to make us much more materialistic than we used to be.  When we watch commercials, we are being fed the message that our lives will be improved if only we would buy the newest car or go to the nicest resorts.  These messages make us equate the good life with material goods.  We have absorbed that message very thoroughly in the United States today.

Second, they have helped to sexualize our culture.  One of the truisms that we hear is that "sex sells" and the content of advertisements seems to bear this out.  We are constantly being shown messages that imply that sex should be a very important thing in our lives.  Sex is portrayed in ways that connect it to glamor, material wealth, and happiness. 

In these ways, television commercials have helped create an American culture that is very materialistic and very sexualized.

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