Advertising and How It Effects Addicts

As long as advertising is legal, people will continue to be addicted to alcohol and cigarettes. Both products are glamorized by the advertising they receive, and both products target people at an early age to secure their economic status. An essay by Jean Kilbourne called “Addiction as a Relationship,” illustrates how advertisement is used to lure people into using cigarette products, or alcoholic beverages to enhance their relationships, stimulate their friendships, and fill the gap of having no romantic relationship what so ever. There is also a video called “Deadly Persuasion,” by the Media Education Foundation.

This video offers information about how the media targets people, by enticing them to use tobacco and alcoholic beverages, while offering statistical data to support these claims. In the essay Kilbourne shows a passionate view towards the Medias tactics used to lure the alcoholic to drink. Various examples are given to illustrate to the reader how the advertisements are used to make the addict feel that drinking the beverage is like a relationship that they are in. The essay goes on to show more examples of how cigarette ads do the same thing to some extent.

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The cigarette ads seemed to focus more on friendship where the alcohol adds focus on intimate relationships. The author relates their personal experience with alcoholism to these adds, and goes on describe how they, “loved the way alcohol made me feel, the coziness and warmth, the lifting of care. ”(pg. 559) The writer describes the ads as reminding them of having these feelings. While it does not offer the firsthand account of addiction, the video by the Media Education Foundation seemed to integrate ad examples and statistical data together to create a presentation that was very well rounded.

The video explained how advertisers try to lure in young people, and explained how people under the age of 15 who start drinking are 80% more likely to become addicts. In this video, it also explained that cigarettes are the number one killer of people in the United States. It showed how the cigarette ads are used to make people feel that smoking makes you seem more alive, and how the image of the Marlboro brand is used to say that, “Men who smoke Marlboro’s are more masculine. It then offer statistical information to contradict the add claims. The add examples combined with statistical data was a very convincing strategy to get their point across. I think both methods were effective at demonstrating how advertising can project an image to encourage people to begin using these products. I feel that the video was more effective though, because of the concrete statistical information it provided. Though this video was not long, the visual impact combined with the voice of the speaker really drives home the message.

At one point the video compares death by cigarettes to death by a list of other drugs combined. This comparison shows the viewer just how deadly cigarettes actually are. I think seeing this type of information along with the ad examples makes the point of what the media is doing much more clear to the viewer. What the essay offers that the video does not is a first person account of an addict. You see the anger, and feel the frustration the writer has with the media as being drug pushers for society.

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