Reflection on Whether Promotion Encourages Materialism

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At present, many questions arise, while the promotion of various products makes us become materialistic.

Advertisements promote materialism in several ways. The first is by creating new needs and desires among people. Advertisements also encourage people to compete with each other by purchasing more and better objects. Finally, advertisements often encourage consumers to replace their old possessions by purchasing the newest and best model. This fosters a ‘throwaway society’. Your business can oppose this materialism by offering products that are built to last and meeting real, instead of manufactured, needs.

Also, kids are the main demographic that can be taken advantage of. Children under 8 are not able to understand advertisements as attempts to sell them products, and will accept any claims advertisements make without scrutiny. This makes them exceptionally vulnerable as targets of ads. The socially responsible move would be to target your advertisements at parents instead of directly to children. This will get knowledge of your product or service out without taking advantage of children's lack of defense. Since children will be the consumers of the future it makes them create these habits of materialism from a very early age, and it can be dangerous for them in the future. Then the market of the future will be a market of materialism.

A study made in America by Suzanna Opree found that the children, that watched for television reported, being less happy with their lives than those that did not. Opree explained that this phenomenon is a result of the techniques of advertising agencies. The message that children are receiving from these advertisements are that buying a certain product will make you happy or popular. Since children can’t attain all these products, they are vulnerable to unhappiness. Children that have this mentality in their youth, carry it onto adulthood, causing them to be materialistic adults and still never feeling satisfied.

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Although this specific study was done with children, everyone is vulnerable to the effects of advertisements. Agencies can make any product desirable through various techniques. Because advertising is so prevalent in our society, we are more aware than ever of everything that we don’t and most often, can’t have. It is no coincidence that materialism has increased among our society at very similar rates that advertisements have increased. It is important for everyone to be educated on what they are being exposed to on a daily basis. Every advertisement, no matter what it is, is meant to make you feel something. This feeling is what we need to be educated on. If we realize it is the actors or the dialogue of the advertisement making us feel a certain way and not the actual product they’re advertising, our mindset may change.

One study found that advertising causes materialism by proposing solutions to social problems – over time, it’s possible that people come to believe they can buy happiness, success, or love. Advertisements tell the world who we are and which groups we belong to, and influence people to judge and categorize the personalities of others based on their material possessions. This is certainly reinforced by the fact that their findings demonstrated that there are negative correlations between all dimensions of organizational citizenship behavior and materialism. However, it is a basic fact of human nature that we exhibit a vast array of differing personalities and preferences.

It is clear that advertising may influence behavior – however, it is far from clear that it would make individuals and societies more materialistic. Modern advertising is successful by associating brands with values and traits, linking them in consumers’ minds. To elicit positive responses, they must appeal to the personalities and desires of their target consumers. Thus, when successful in influencing our behavior and encouraging spending, they should also be successful in activating cognitive representations of positive traits or motivational constructs. Furthermore, considering that we’re much more likely to be continually exposed to the types of advertisement that complement our personalities, advertising may simply be encouraging consumers to pursue values, goals, and traits that they already hold. I think, while advertising may increase materialism in individuals and society, it will do so only to the extent that it increases other values to which advertising appeals.

The moment we let ourselves be blinded by the possibilities and the beauty of marketing and promotion we are going to find ourselves being less happy than before.

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Reflection on Whether Promotion Encourages Materialism. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from
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