As we try and break our addiction to things it is there, constantly offering us another "hit." By persistently pushing the idea of the good life being connected to products, and by colonizing every nook and cranny of the culture where alternative ideas could be raised, advertising is an important part of the creation of what Tibor Scitovsky (1976) calls "the joyless economy." The great political challenge that emerges from this analysis is how to connect our real desires to a truly human world, rather than the dead world of the "immense collection of commodities."
"There is no such thing as 'society'"
A culture dominated by commercial messages that tells individuals that the way to happiness is through consuming objects bought in the marketplace gives a very particular answer to the question of "what is society?" what is it that binds us together in some kind of collective way, what concerns or interests do we share?
These are very powerful stories that equate happiness and freedom with consumption and advertising is the main propaganda arm of this view.
The question that we need to pose at this stage (that is almost never asked) is, "Is it true?." Does happiness come from material things?
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- A concert film documentary captured during the critically acclaimed tour of Europe by Antony and the Johnsons and Charles Atlas during the fall of 2006, it explores the heart and experience of that series of performances. Through its synthesis of Antony’s songs and Atlas' unfurling video portraiture of the 13 women who performed on stage, TURNING is an intimate and cinematic journey exploring themes of identity, transcendence, and the revelation of a revolutionary feminine essence.
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The word critical is defined as “involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc… a critical analysis/ of or pertaining to critics or criticism: critical essays.” (Dictionary, 2013).
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Indeed it may well be the case that as the advertising environment gets more and more crowded, with more and more of what advertisers label as "noise" threatening to drown out individual messages, the appeal will be made to levels of experience that cut through clutter, appealing immediately and deeply to very emotional states.
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However, my personal inspiration came from a speech from Diana Princess Of Wales, entitled, 'Women and children with aids.' This acted as a style model for my final piece and gave me the basis for my ideas.
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The cruel illusion of advertising however is in the way that it links those qualities to a place that by definition cannot provide it the market and the immense collection of commodities.
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In that sense the main competition for marketers is not simply other brands in their product type, but all the other advertisers who are competing for the attention of an increasingly cynical audience which is doing all it can to avoid ads.