By: Charley N. Jones & Sydney West
Advertising has been around as long as there have been products to sell or trade, from televised commercials to printed posters.
“Aggressive advertising is advertising that directly addresses the product or issue at hand,” Attleboro High School (AHS) senior Ryan Lally.
Aggressive advertising subjects viewers with a range of emotional and psychological cues in order to break through the media clutter and evoke an emotional response.
An example would be the image from Top Design Magazine, of a woman who has clearly been physically assaulted and is being silenced by the likeness of a man’s arm. The viewer can assume that she was in an abusive relationship. The words toward the bottom of the image say “Silence Hurts.” People are urged to call the toll free number, which will bring them directly to the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV).
A step up from domestic abuse is the family scars left by wars. One advertisement shows an image of a foreign family, a mother, a father, and a smiling son, with both parents shot multiple times in the face. The ad states, “War leaves many scars.”
Some AHS students and faculty members believe advertising has become too aggressive, typically involving sexual subliminal messages that catch the consumer’s eye. It has been proven that sexually suggestive products sell products that don’t relate to sex whatsoever.
“Sexual advertising is not needed, but it will continue anyway,” said Makepeace.
According to Mail Online (a media news site), sexist advertising can “cause men to adopt violent and sexually aggressive behavior as they aspire to the macho ideal.”
Ads and other broadcastings that use this macho ideal create a sexual ignorance that can be seen in (as an example) music videos where women are dehumanized as these “sex starved people after any man” and can be found being yelled at, taking the abuse, or lounging around in lingerie while “dancing” in the hot tub.
If women are portrayed like this, it’s no wonder women are often sexually assaulted during festivals and concerts.
Mail Online stated, “Young men are still learning appropriate gender behaviors, and their beliefs and attitudes can be subtly shaped by [media] images.”
On Inspirationfeed, there are fifty images of sexually related advertisements. One of the advertisements includes a picture of a woman in a bikini. Her entire body is covered in mud and on her stomach are the words “wash me.” This is trying to sell LYNX Shower Gel.
Another example on this site includes an ad for JBS men’s underwear. A woman stands in a shower, shaving her face, with only a pair of men’s underwear on. Her arms cover anything too inappropriate, but the idea is still there. Written in the bottom left hand corner are the words “Men don’t want to look at naked men.”
“Advertising is basically convincing people to buy something they don’t need by making them think they need it,” said AHS multimedia teacher Mr. Allen Makepeace.
“It’s all in the title. It’s aggressive. When a company shoves their product in your face it hopes you follow through with making a purchase,” said AHS junior Hannah Harvey.
Ads that AHS students and faculty found were prominent on television included: 5 hour ENERGY, Coca-Cola, and Burger King’s ten piece chicken nuggets for $1.49.
“I see over 100 advertisements every day. It is a force that is really hard to avoid,” said AHS freshman Tara O’Neil.
Medicine has been advertised on television for many years, helping people find medicine and treatment plans they may not have found before. “The information in medical ads are like the fine print in a contract,” said Makepeace.
“[Medical advertisements] leave out important facts and read through the side effects too quickly to be understood,” said O’Neil.
The majority of news stations now use commercially made clips and stories given out by a central news head that works alongside multiple commercial companies that affect the stories that are told and how they are told. Because of that, many news stations no longer write their own stories and simply receive their information from a central news station. “I wasn’t aware of this, but I’m not surprised,” said Makepeace.
Some news stations have been openly commercializing their stations to increase their viewer ratings, and many people are not aware of how commercialized some news stations are, such as TMZ and Fox News.
“I knew that most news clips and stories were given out by a central news station, and it is a good way to receive information instead of keeping it local, but it is not good for the journalists who are getting fired because of it. Also, less journalists mean there is more room for bias so viewers [of televised news] don’t get to see more than a few perspectives of an issue,” said AHS librarian Ms. Lisa Ryder.
“Some of the people laid off in other bureaux were close to retirement and had been with the news network since it launched 30 years ago,” said Financial Times (a media news site).