Advertising has grown to be an industry worth many billions of dollars across the world. Almost all public space has some advertisements in sight, and all forms of media, from newspapers to the internet, are also filled with advertisements. Whilst this helps companies sell their products, and helps consumers to learn what is on offer, many believe that this huge amount of advertising can be harmful. It may make people want too much, or things that they cannot have, or it might make them feel inadequate when they don't have something. Research shows that children can be particularly open to these kinds of risk.
The levels of advertising, these days, have become excessive. For instance, it is not easy for one to walk down the street, ride on a bus, watch television or read emails without seeing advertisements. It is unfair to have people’s lives intruded by a huge quantity of information they might not want.
Advertising leads to many people being overwhelmed by the endless need to decide between competing demands on their attention, a kind of tyranny of choice or choice overload. Recent research suggests that people are on average less happy than they were 30 years ago, despite being better off and having much more choice of things to spend their money on. The claims of commercials bombard people, raising expectations about a product and leading to inevitable disappointment after it is bought. Shoppers often feel that a poor purchase is their fault for not choosing more wisely, and regret not choosing something else instead. Some people are so overwhelmed that they cannot choose at all.
It is not always easy for people to choose to ignore advertising, because advertisers use many unethical methods to get their message across. For example, posters have attention grabbing words, or provocative pictures. Some advertisements today are disguised as pieces or art or public information and hence many people don't realise they are being marketed to. By...