consume consume CONSUME!

One interesting result of only watching TV on very limited occasions (ie. in the laundry room) is that the ads seem to have become more salient to me. And by this I mean that I am noticing how incredibly contrived and obnoxious they are. At first I thought that there is this parallel universe out there were people just care so much about their stuff, like their possessions are the most important things to these people, who just can't get enough of talking about their newest lawn mower or fast food hamburger. Upon further reflection, I realize that these commercials don't really depict an alternate universe - just the United States. (OK sure, Canada is pretty much just as materialistic as the US, but the point I am trying to make here is that in the States, they take their consumption culture just a little bit further than their northern neighbors. For example, they seem to commodify everything - even health care and education).

But anyways, to further my newfound distaste for all things advertising, I ran across a couple of interesting articles. The first details a study that found children like food better if it comes in a McDonald's wrapper and the second discusses a new trend of designing ads that have nothing to do with the product offered, but are rather psychologically designed to capture people's attention (such as the dancing alien that is often used to advertise mortgage rates). And then there is this whole Baby Einstein case, where the ads a pretty much flat-out lies. I just think it is kind of sad that much of our academic studies in psychology are being put to use to sell the latest tennis show, which is 95% identical to its competitor.

But good news! There is a personal cure to such rampant commercialism: DON'T BUY CRAP THAT YOU DON'T NEED (and by this I include probably 3/4 of the stuff most Americans buy).

Whoah, got a little preachy there for a second. Sorry about that - I just get a little annoyed with society sometimes.