The American Dream The American dream. It consists of a family, house, cars, and other luxury items. How did it become the American dream? Why do we feel so compelled to pursue it? The reason is because we, the American public, have been convinced through advertising to acquire it. It is a very powerful way of persuasion. Advertising affects us so powerfully that it sometimes sets our views of society for us. We constantly absorb images of families, houses, and cars through commercials and magazine ads.
It persuades us so strongly to the point that it can alter our social consciousness. Alter it to the point that we feel that the American dream is no longer a luxury, it has become a necessity. Today there is almost no way to escape advertisements. The radio, television, and magazine ads make sure of that. The more we view these advertisements, the more we are persuaded toward the American dream. With a television in almost every household and magazines an arm=s length away, advertisers basically have us on our knees.
We must digest advertisers= views so frequently that you would think it was necessary to sustain life. Advertising=s main goal is to persuade. They want us to see the American way through their eyes. They tell us what to eat, drink, wear, drive, and think. Advertisers start this form of brainwashing on us at a very early age.
They lay the groundwork of ideals early on because it is easy to persuade a child. Now, with the two income family, children are left to interpret not only advertisements but television programming as well without supervision. Children are forced to make their own evaluations and most of the time they go along with the views of what they see. How many times do children want something because they saw it on television? With the unending viewing of shows and advertisements who could blame them. By age twenty, Americans have viewed an estimated half a million commercials.
Now that is a major amount of influencing on a young person. This is exactly what advertisers hope to accomplish with young people. They want them to associate advertisements to purchasing. ! It starts out with toys and leads to the American dream. One day they want a matchbox car and a few years later they want a real Porsche.
Do not all boys want a fancy car? Do not most girls dream of living in a big house? Is this a coincidence or a carefully thought out scheme by advertisers? Now, how is it exactly that advertisers get us to want the American dream. They do this by channeling into one of our most basic instincts, emotions. Along with emotions, advertisers want to make you feel three other things: connection, imagination, and desire. A connection between the product and a feeling is important. They also want you to imagine yourself in the experience with the merchandise. A strong desire for the product is another effect that the advertiser=s want you to feel.
Take for instance any food commercial. They connect the food to a feeling which is hunger. They want you to imagine yourself eating the product. This produces a strong desire for the food. Advertisers hope that this will produce a sale.
The stronger the feeling for these topics, the more likely you are to trust and believe that you need them. These feelings are supposed to affect you at a subconscious level. They are not exactly leveling with you. But would you buy something from someone if you! knew they were deceiving you. Why is it that most of us want a family? Well, for the past thirty years we have seen countless families in commercials. Advertisers usually show these families as fun-loving and happy. The message they send out is that a family is healthy.
That having a family equals happiness. All of which spell the American dream. If you do not have a family, you are not a complete person and that is not American. Is this not evident through societies silent discouragement of single parents? Do we not think that there is something wrong with someone if they are not married by the age of thirty-five? Advertisers use this belief that they have passed down to lure the consumer in. They stress to the consumer that if they love their family and want them to be happy then they will buy this product. After all, isn=t your family worth it? This in turn emits a strong feeling of guilt toward the consumer.
Michelin Tires is a good example of a commercial that does this effectively. The commercial has! images of babies in these tires looking innocent and happy. They then proceed to tell you that the babies deserve these tires, so that they will be safe. Their slogan Abecause so much is riding on these [email protected] send such a powerful message to families. A happy and safe family is part of what the American dream is all about.
Michelin uses this strong ideal to get consumers to buy the tires. Using the American dream to make consumers feel guilty is an effective method of advertising. Well, no one ever said that advertisers were ethical. Luxury cars are another niche in the American dream. When people think of the American way of life a fancy car almost always comes to mind.
This must be true since America is the largest purchasers of luxury automobiles. Car companies have some of the best persuasive commercials and magazine ads around. Advertisers use various techniques to make the public believe they need this certain car. They portray that the driving of their car is equal to total euphoria. You will be surrounded by extreme comfort and safety. Driving this car will be like nothing you have ever experienced before.
Their company slogans say it all. BMW – The Ultimate Driving Machine. Cadillac – Creating a Higher Standard. Lincoln – It=s What a Luxury Car Should Be. The list goes on and on.
Lexus is one company that portrays their cars this way. They show images of their car driving down the road. There are no distractions, no noise, or problems while driving this car. This implies that your experience with ! this car is simply perfection. So fits their slogan AThe relentless pursuit of [email protected] Infiniti is another good example of this type of advertising.
Infiniti basically uses the same type of images but delivers their message bluntly. In one commercial they say AYou only live once, so isn=t time you got [email protected] This is a very strong and offensive statement. It is saying that until you drive this car your life is not complete. All luxury car companies express this in one way or another.
They coerce us think that this car will make our lives better. After all, making our lives better is part of the American dream. What we should be thinking is why we need a certain type of car to measure our value of life? The American dream is part of a larger image that we are being sold. It is the American image. Does the saying Aproud to be an [email protected] ring a bell. Not only do advertisers use this as a selling point, the government also uses this against the American public. The government fills our heads of what a model American should be.
The theme that they sent out is that all Americans should be patriotic. This includes supporting the government=s views on foreign policy. If the government feels that the public may not agree, that is where advertising and persuasion fit in. They may not tell the whole truth in order to uphold an image that the public will accept. Along with that they will show images that will provoke feelings of patriotism. Guilt is also used to support their actions.
To not agree with the governments actions could be considered un-American. Never are all these traits more visible than in the time of war. That is because most of the time America is not directly involv! ed. The government then must make us see that we belong there. At the first sign of trouble, it seems that America is the first one there.
The Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Gulf War are examples of this. Why does America have to keep the balance of power in check throughout the world? I believe that the government has been sold the American image. It has been sold this through our past leaders which upheld these beliefs. This has forced America to become the unofficial big brother to the world. Advertising and persuasion are powerful tools that can set views for millions and should be recognized as such.
That has been proven by the way we perceive society and government. It has set our standards of happiness through the American dream and told us what the criteria for a model American is. We must realize how much advertising and persuasion affect us. Do not just accept what we see and hear, question it. Sadly, many of us have gone too far down that road. We must awaken ourselves to our surroundings or otherwise be controlled by them.
So, next time your watching an advertisement or some governmental issue, don=t forget that you have a brain. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.