I’d just arrived at Narita Airport, about an hour away from Tokyo. As I moved in the line to get my passport checked, I’d noticed one of those enormous TV-like screens they’s had on the walls and pillars, displaying the same Japanese advertisement on replay-opening a noodle packet, popping it’s contents into a boiler, stirring it up and taking it out to get hot, fresh noodles. The girl slurping it up it had a mixed expression of fake surprise and delight. These ads weren’t just at the airport, but all over Tokyo-in all the malls , billboards on the streets. At Shinjuku, a sub-part of Tokyo, there were flashy neon lights at each outlet, flat screen TVs and magazines.
The marketing industry worldwide has had an outright impact on human society-alluring, colourful and seductive advertisements have intrigued rampant consumerism levels from the smallest of the towns to mega cities like London, Paris, new York, Hong Kong and Tokyo. At one level, well-industrialised countries that encourage people to buy more attract more tourists, contributing more to economic build-up of that particular country. Higher development rates of such countries also means that the common man can afford such items at various intervals, with a higher standard of living in general. However, branding and endorsement of such goods is a common phenomena even in developing countries like India, Bangladesh and Vietnam. I’ve seen the regular commercials on TV and in magazines, of Hush puppies shoes, Louis Vuitton Handbags and Lindt chocolates, all with the same glossy appeal. Advertisements are ad-ons to overly priced goods, painting the image of how content the consumer could be if they buy more.
At another level, large-scale commercialisation has left man to shop without thinking twice. If he or she happens to be an extravagant billionaire or the son or daughter of someone wealthy, chances are that the shopping mall is their second home. For instance, take Veronica Lodge, the spoilt rich daughter of Hiram Lodge in Barbara Slate’s Archies comics. materialism is one of man’s biggest enemies-it makes him lose all control of choice and selection, as if he has the money, he’ll buy it. The victims of shallow shopping commercials are usually the ones with compulsive decision making and lack of self control. But on the other hand, take positive adverts like those of the UN, for a positive cause like preventing human trafficking or afforestation. Such Ads, like those of NPOs and NGOs with positive messages reach aim to include the viewer in being a part of the solution by donating or joining their agency. These work to raise awareness levels over an issue, and use persuasive language to draw in genuinely donated money. The thought behind the two types of adverts are different, although the money accumulated may be the same.
Advertisements and the continual consumption the lead to may determine human beings as shallower creatures, yet they signify the industrial leap the human race has taken over centuries. The noodle commercial I’d seen at Narita Airport may have contributed to a shallower, more general public, but included them in the race of development and build up of economy for a higher standard of life.