It is disappointing to read and listen to smart people bash advertising. It is even discouraging when they even know that advertising is not the culprit, and fail to publicly acknowledge the fact.
Example: an "artist" overseas is making waves because he takes ads off the street to deface them, and then places the ads back where they belong. He believes that he is sending a message that there are too many ads in public areas, so he regraces the locations with grotesque representations.
Thanks...but no thanks.
But then in an interview, the person goes on a rift about the consumerism of society.
Which we agree. Yes, economically speaking, a consumption-based society is nearly unsustainable; we need a ready public full of perishable products so they keep buying and buying.
How can consumers know about those products they must consume without advertising?
If you have a house that has carpeted floors, and you hate to clean using vacuums, would you then attack Hoover and Dyson? No, the smart thing would be to change the environment; rip the carpet out and have hardwood floors.
Ah, yes, but instead of pioneering new economic initiatives and processes, we can bemoan the simple details and the vehicle this consumption machine uses.
Issues between economic purists and consumption advocates will eventually come to a head. Whether that will happen in our lifetimes is hard to tell. Though the conversation will be uncomfortable, as most shifts are, an answer will be clarified.
But for now, wasting energy on the means without changing the ends is fun for no one. If you want change, then start change. As for advertising, carry on.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.