Consumerism has emerged as the dominant ideology of mankind at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Even the socialist countries which had been criticizing the west stridently for its growing consumerism have been skillfully converted to consumerism by the irresistible forces of advertisement unleashed by Satellite Television.
Some political analysts attribute the disintegration of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to the rising tide of consumerism brought about by mind-boggling advertisement of consumer products on satellite and cable T.V. by Multinational Companies. Many believe that Russians have exchanged their super-power status for fancy shoes and delicious American cookies.
We find the pervasive influence of advertisement in our daily life. Advertisement controls our life from morning to evening. It dictates the brand of tea with which we begin our day and the brand of laxative we take before going to bed at night. We have developed a liking for a particular Newspaper over the years.
We have been told that the paper has the largest combined sale in the country or is published from the largest number of places. And this paper gives us admittance into a whole wide-world of advertisements at the beginning of the day. While the man decides the exclusive brand of shirt he is to wear during the forthcoming annual review of performance by the top boss of the company from a range of readymade shirts advertised in the paper, the housewife makes up her mind to go to the “Fabulous Sarees” splashed in Newspapers, posters and pamphlet doing the rounds in the town.
The teenage daughter insists on wearing the Jeans worn by her favorite film star shown in the ‘Film fare’. The ‘only son’ in the family is determined to make the life of parents a hell if ‘Little Master Video-game’ highly praised in the T.V. advertisement is not brought for him immediately.
With constant bombardment of advertisements on our eyes and ears, free-choice has almost become a relic of the past. We can’t even decide the way of worship. There are half-page advertisements in Newspapers by the University of Spiritual Science of Shri Mahesh Yogi promising brilliant spiritual success if you join the courses offered by Maharshi.
Who has not heard of the flashy-life style of Acharya Rajneesh with his I fleet of Rolls Royce and an exclusive Commune in the hearts of America? Rajneesh I Ashram in Pune churns out an unending flow of audio and video cassettes recording I the spiritual ecstasies experienced by the followers of Rajneesh and exhorting people to follow the path shown by Rajneesh.
The redoubtable Gulshan Kumar who had risen from the status of a juice-seller in Delhi to become a billionaire in Bollywood owed his rise to his uncanny powers of advertisement. Near the starting point of long journey by foot for the famous Vaishno Devi shrine, he put up a round the clock longer (the place where food is served free o\ I cost) for the devotees.
T-Series cassettes of bhajans and songs in praise of Goddess Durga are sold there. The people get attracted to T-Series cassettes of film songs and T-l Series detergent manufactured by Gulshan Kumar’s factories. He spent millions of I rupees on advertising his products in Doordarshan and other Media and made hefty I profits every year. The sale of T-Series cassettes of films “Sajan” and “Ashiqui” reached more than a crore each.
Coaching schools have built up a roaring business thanks to advertisements of I their courses and success stories (true or false?) in the newspapers, magazines and the Television. Many reluctant scholars have been enthused to part with hard-earned money to test their luck in competitions where success rate ranges from 1% to 2% at the most. For every success there are more than 98 failures. But this fact does not deter the sellers of dreams from indulging in shriller advertisements.
Nor does it inhibit the day-1 dreamers to pour in more and more money into the most uncertain ventures of competition. Indeed, how many young men and women can resist the temptation of I becoming I.A.S. Officers, doctors or engineers at the cost of only a couple of thousands rupees ?
U.S.A. spends more money on advertisement than Gross Domestic Product of Bangladesh. Some of the best brains of every country are engaged in the business of advertisement. Naturally, advertisements have become more and more sophisticated, subtle and impressive.
The aid of beauty-queens, film-stars and sports-idols is obtained by manufacturers and advertisers to sell soap and cosmetics, drinks and energy foods, shirts and sarees, ornaments and motor-bikes. Who can resist the combined power of superstars and the products they advertise? Considering the resources and skills of advertisers, it seems certain that advertisement will continue to manipulate our minds and control our life for a long time to come.