Controversial television advertising is an effective tactic businesses use to boost revenue, without realizing its effect on the public. Is this strategy necessary for companies to attract viewers? Can companies still receive the same amount of profit without the need of such offensive material? Television has made a huge impact on consumers since it was first introduced in the 1950s. Of course, back then material being advertised was not as it is today. Now, at 58 years later, the products and materials that are currently being aired can be considered offensive, and on the verge of being considered explicit. Topics that most consumers find to be controversial are alcohol, tobacco, politics and sexual content. All those, with the exclusion of politics, lead to the same case. Consumers observe these advertisements and come to one of two conclusions. (1) Consumers, regardless of age or gender, view the advertisements and become more prone to purchase or try the product that was seen. (2) Consumers view the advertisement and either disregard it, or become angered or upset. Imagine watching a program with ones family and seeing an advertisement so intrusive that it could cause an upset during what innocently started by watching television. Families with children should not have to worry about what may be seen when watching television, especially not commercials. How embarrassing it must be to explain to children what they are seeing during commercials! Every parent tries to avoid “the talk” with his or her children to some degree. It is much harder to do nowadays when their children are seeing products containing sexual content. Sexual content is a major issue affecting families worldwide. Even though the ads claim the promotion of safe sex, is it safe that these ads are being aired? Condom companies have long run risqué commercials. Just because what they consider a “safe” or “educational” way to exploit their product does not mean that there are consequences that follow. Younger generations become curious and engage in sexual experimentation. This also leads to higher teen pregnancies, high school dropouts and even abortions. As previously stated, the viewing of these ads can cause consumers to try what is being viewed. For most, that may not be a threat. However, it can pose a potential threat to younger audiences. With many television viewers consisting of teens and young children, would it be fair to say that what they are seeing could possibly be corrupting them? Alcohol, for instance, even though not directed at a younger viewing audience, still affects them in some way. Even though there are state and federal regulations that prohibit the sale or consumption of such items to under-aged consumers, that still does not mean that there are ways it can be obtained. A perfect example would be a young child seeing a commercial for a new toy they are wanting. Depending on the parent, they may or may not purchase the item for their child, maybe because they feel it may be unsafe or their child just may not need it. Now, think of a teenager seeing an alcohol ad. Of course, a teenager will not ask their parents to buy them alcohol, so one way or another he or she will find other means to obtain the beverage of choice. From there, different statistics become affected, increased numbers in alcohol related deaths and not to mention drunk driving related accidents. In a recent study from American Journal of Public Health (2007), compares the rates of smokers to non-smokers after completing high school and the affects advertising played in those causes.
Twenty-five percent of participants who had never smoked prior to completing high school went on to try their first cigarette in the following year. Among participants who had ever smoked, 39% progressed to a more advanced smoking habit after 12th grade. Never smokers who were current alcohol users in 12th grade were twice as likely than others to initiate smoking. This suggests...
References: Federal Communications Commission (Oct. 2007) Obscene, Indecent, and Profane Broadcasts. Retrieved March 9, 2008 from http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/obscene.html
Phillip Morris USA (2008) Financial Information. Retrieved March 18, 2008 from http://www.phillipmorrisusa.com/en/about_us/business_growth/financial_information.asp
Tercyak, K.P., Rodriguez, D., & Audrian-Mcgowan, J. (Aug. 2007) High School Seniors’ Smoking Initiation and Progression 1 Year After Graduation. American Journal of Public Health, Vol.97 Issue 8, p1397-1398. Retrieved March 9, 2008, from EBSCOhost database.
The Truth (2008) Spread Truth. Retrieved March 18, 2008 from Http://www.thetruth.com/aboutus.cfm
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