“Advertisements are boring, unless and often misleading.” How far do you agree with this opinion?

In our present world of consumerism, advertisements are very much the norm because manufacturers have to attract us to their products, which they do not want and we do not need. Everywhere we go advertisements loom before us on billboards, leap out at us from magazines and newspapers, whiz a lingering impression on the mind. Advertisement jingles hail us every morning over the radio and through the day, and we watch consumer products come alive on television, singing and dancing to promote themselves.

Are they boring? Generally not, but there are exceptions, of course. Take for instance the Pepsi-Cola advertisement on television, “starring” Lionel Ritchie and a host of dancing youths; exuberant excited, bubbling and fizzling with life and energy. With its foot-tapping beats and delightful visual effects, one requires a great deal of self-control to sit still and not dance along. Or consider the advertisement with that famous line, “When a man you’ve never met before suddenly gives you flowers, that’s Impulse.” Yes, the advertisement for the body-spray, Impulse. The whole idea of a man absorbed in his daily routine being suddenly roused out of it by a whiff of Impulse and then going through a series of impulsive actions to compliment the lady wearing it, is romantic and endearing to most women. This combined with the light, tinkling piano accompaniment and soft-focus filming makes the advertisement an attractive one. Then we have the newspaper and magazine advertisements, in vibrant color, interesting graphics and witty slogans. Take a look at most cosmetic advertisements like Maybelline or Cover girl, where the page is attractively splashed with the newest colors the manufacturer has come up with a pretty, lively girl caught in mid-laughter. Therefore, advertisements today are generally interesting due to the visual and sound effects made possible y advanced technology in the various mediums of print, sound and film, and a little imagination, especially when rival companies try their best to attract consumers and so try to advertise better.

Are they useless? Not necessarily. In many ways advertisements help to keep the cost of most publications low so that we can afford them quite easily. This applies in the case of our daily newspaper “The Straits Times”, the Sunday “Asia Magazine”, the popular “Readers Digest” and especially the publication we are all familiar with, our respective school magazines. The advertisers pay to advertise and this payment subsidizes publishing cost so that we pay less than what we might otherwise have to pay. Advertisements also help to ease our boredom sometimes. How many times have people been roused out of a bored stupor once they see an interesting advertisement on a billboard or bus or when lazily flicking through a magazine? Also, advertisements either interesting or otherwise, especially of otherwise, do promote conversation among friends when they discuss them, how an advertisement is so silly, or another is unusual and imaginative and yet another is introducing an interesting and attractive product which might be worth buying. This then brings us to the last point. Are advertisements misleading?

One of their uses is that they inform us as to what is available on the market, but is this information wholly true? Their main function is to attract buyers so naturally, only certain details regarding a product are highlighted while others are not provided at all. We are made to believe that a product is long-lasting, worthwhile, multi-purpose and bound to give us that happiness we cannot find elsewhere. Perfume advertisements promise to bring the opposite sex falling at one’s feet, dictionary and encyclopedia advertisements promise to give us all the wisdom and knowledge in the world, cosmetic advertisement for “Ponderosa Steak & Salad Restaurant” promises juicy and tender steak and delicious salad. I have eaten there and found the steak to be of very low quality, for a very high price, but the salad was everything the advertisement led me to believe.

So in conclusion, I would say that modern commerce trade and industry cannot survive without advertisement. The most advanced advertising technology course gives new ideas and also acts as “Survival of fittest” in this dynamic decade. However there should be control over misleading advertisements.