Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Advertising as a Mechanism to Maintain Status Quo

Drawing from John Robinson's article, I chose to focus on the claim that "the mass media tend to reinforce and accentuate existing conditions rather than promote egalitarianism or abrupt change, at least with regard to information diffusion" (358).

This reminds me of advertisements and how they maintain the status quo. We are fed into these advertisements that reproduce the economic and social structures of current society. A prime example would is a luxury car company. Why is there so much advertising done for luxury cars even though a small fraction of the population can actually afford it? The advertisement would include the car wrapped in a huge bow but it doesn't necessarily get consumers to get up and buy one. The purpose of these commercials and advertisements is to have people buy their products but also to  instill desire for those who cannot afford. Those who can afford the car are then seen with a prestige and are perceived to be at a certain level of economic standing. Instead of promoting equality and having people question the set-up of society, advertisers exploit the existing system and reproduce it.

In regards to the entire article that focuses on information diffusion, advertisements have also taken over a large portion of a newspapers, radio, television, internet, and other media platforms. Advertisements are crowding the actual content physically but also through their financial reigns on content. Referring to Ryan Holiday's article, he says that a lot of journalism and information is influenced by getting advertisers and maintaining them in order to make a living. Taking into account my previous point on advertisements perpetuating the status quo, the reach of their influence does not stop at their own products but also wherever the advertisements are going so that the product and context around it is supportive of the existing conditions.

I have used advertisements as an example of how the mass media reinforce existing conditions. However, as Robinson studies, television and news also work the same way for viewers who watch programs (example, 2012 Presidential campaign) that support their cultural perceptions and beliefs.

1 comment:

  1. Michelle, I am finally responding to your post! Just to play devil's advocate, I would point out that the Robinson quote you begin with uses the words "tend to" to indicate that reinforcement of the status quo is not always the case. Otherwise, how would opinions or conditions ever change? We might argue that "interpersonal relations" are what actually drive change, but there must be room for media to do the same.