A Question of Advertising/Influence

John writes: “Anyone who says that they aren’t effected by what they view in media, including gaming, is ignorant or fooling themselves. Advertisers know. They pay hundreds of billions of dollars a year to get your viewing time. The money devoted, year after year, to getting in front of your eyes is proof enough that what people see, hear and experience effects their behavior. Parents who buy this stuff for their kids are poor excuses for parents. They should be engaging them in activities that promote their development in a constructive way. They have no regrets though… they are too ignorant to recognize it and lack the morals to guide them”

Seriously?  You think ads are designed to change our thinking and manipulate us?

Anyone in advertising believes they can sell an unwanted or undesired product by spending billions of dollars a year to influence you in any meaningful life-changing way is going to be out of business — fast.  Advertising creates awareness, awareness of the product, the need for the product, why you should buy the product.  It has no effect – excuse me, affect on behavior. At least no provable affect. But no advertising forces you to buy the product.  In fact, it won’t influence you much at all if you’re not already in the market for that product.  Or do you buy a Big Mac every time a McDonalds commercial comes on?  I don’t. But next time I’m out for a burger I might think “Big Mac” first – and that’s what the commercials are for.

Viewing/playing a game is either entertaining or it isn’t.  This will cause you to like the game or not. It won’t make you imitate the game and it won’t change your brain or make you think differently.  Video games, unlike most media, are terrible at propaganda.

Your final lines, the ones that attempt to insult parents who don’t agree with you about what “promotes development in constructive ways” is completely subjective and meaningless. What does “morality” have to do with gaming? Gaming harms no one any more than boating does, it’s all subjective. Some may think religious study is meaningful or constructive. Some may think it’s trolling websites to start arguments with hyperbole. It also shows a complete misunderstanding of this site and it’s purpose, because I don’t advocate gaming. I don’t encourage gaming. I encourage and advocate parents thinking about the games they expose their kids too.

Closing your mind is where the true immorality and ignorance live.

No Responses to “A Question of Advertising/Influence”

  1. I have to agree with you GD, behavior is not affected by advertising.

    This made me think of an interesting anecdote. I had not eaten at McDonald’s for at least five years before the film Supersize me came out. After seeing that film I immediately began craving a Big Mac. If anything Supersize me was an advertisement against McDonald’s; it had the opposite effect on me

    I’ve been eating them ever since and loving it. I haven’t suffered any health issues because I don’t allow the media to dictate the rules by which I consume the products they attempt to sell me. One Big Mac a month is not a problem in my balanced diet.

  2. He used the wrong interpretation of the word that would properly be used as “affected”, BTW. People can be affected by media, there’s no denying that, but if John is one of those people who believes that video games immediately hook in and warp the minds of perfectly normal kids, he needs to take a look at the real, deeply personal & social issues that really lead to things like school violence instead of blaming it solely on the media. And to claim himself morally superior to parents who let their kids play games smacks of a cloyingly smug, elitist attitude that I don’t like one bit.

  3. “Closing your mind is where the true immorality and ignorance live.”

    How is this statement any different than say, “Opening one’s mind too much can allow true immorality and ignorance to consume healthy awareness”?

    Both are opinionated expressions that have no meaning beyond a persons desire to believe in them. A closed mind, like repression, can be unhealthy. But it is also correct that an open mind, like free expression, can be unhealthy as well. How can anyone say with even remote certainty that technology like video games are not affecting most people negatively on some level? It is not possible to measure the correlation between many aspects of behavior and influence. There are far to many variables involved to just shrug off the idea that exposure to such things as video games and movies can be socially unhealthy. One could drown on a boat ride, but I would venture that exposure to the atmosphere in a real world context is always a healthier outlet than exposure to a simulated fantasy created by strangers for (among other thing) your money.

    The key words in your reaction to this persons opinion for me are “unwanted” and “undesired”. Desire does not equate health or truth, but simply what human animals gravitate towards through genetics, biochemistry and influence. The manipulation of known desires is what the creation and sales of both commercials and video games are largely based on. Are these desires healthy to begin with? Developing minds, and by extension modern cultures, are most probably dramatically affected by the influence of technology in way that could be deemed good and bad depending on one’s perspective and what biases one’s desires have formulated. But the influence is there and not all of it is healthy. The influence is also unavoidable, yet should people just throw up their hands and offer their children up to the mass wave? This is not a moral question but rather one dealing with what kind of future we want to leave for those who rant and play after us.

    Please don’t assume that I am being arrogant because of the manner of my articulation (many others have). This is just the way the write/type. I am a lousy speller by nature (and despite nurture) so I use spell check, though my grammar may be off. Honestly I cannot see how these things should negate a persons opinion in any way, but I understand that they do for many people. Just another opinion for what it may be worth. Cheers.

  4. Quote: “You think ads are designed to change our thinking… But next time I’m out for a burger I might think “Big Mac” first”

    thats exactly how it changed your thinking…

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