According to Lutz and Cross, advertising and propaganda are filled with deceptions that humans must be wary of in their daily lives. Although the two concepts are different, their relationship is highly evident in their application to deceive users. While propaganda is systematic and widespread in its promotion of falsehoods, advertisements are only deceptive when used to influence consumer decision through falsehoods. Also, propaganda is purely negative regardless of its application, but advertisements may be true in their dissemination. In their assessment, Lutz and Cross find that propaganda and advertising are tools of spreading deception among populations by swaying their thinking (Ousborne, 2012). In this regard, therefore, the use of deception in advertisements as well as propaganda has huge applications in different fields including business and politics.
The use of propaganda and advertisements in proliferating deception is widely recognized. Indeed, there is a direct connection between advertising and propaganda as the former depends on the latter in spreading deception. The authors are right in arguing that advertisers depend on propaganda to influence consumer decision regarding products and services. In most fields, propaganda is widely used in advertising to persuade consumers to buy different brands including political candidates, toothpaste brands as well as different political viewpoints. In fact, it is very common to come across advertisements that are fairly deceptive in the local media. Every day, televisions, newspapers and magazines tender deceptive advertisements meant to influence consumer decisions regarding the products on offer. The use of propaganda is systematically applied in attempts to influence general public opinion in reference to particular views in society. The authors are therefore adamant that propaganda is not isolated to the political field as was the characteristic with the Nazi regime (Ousborne, 2012). Rather, the roots of propaganda are deeply entrenched in different aspects of society thus providing support to the authors’ assertions.
According to the arguments laid out in the paper, the use of propaganda in advertisements influence the people’s way of thinking. Studies in the recent past have observed an association between propaganda in advertisements and a change in the thinking of people in general. Indeed, deception in advertisements and propaganda is highly influential to both heart and mind through the transformation of spirits to desire material things. Perhaps the most compelling evidence of this influence is observed in the fact that people can sometimes purchase products that they do not need. The obsession created by advertisements may encourage people to spend their money on products they have little knowledge about. In addition, the authors allude to the fact that consumers may purchase products that are portrayed as fun through advertisements. In the end, the consumer’s way of life is deeply affected by the deceptive nature of advertisements and propaganda. The real magnitude of the effects of propaganda in people’s lives may not actually be quantified because of its qualitative nature (Ousborne, 2012). Essentially, propaganda and advertisements have the potential to change the people’s value of living.
There are a myriad of ways through which propaganda can be applied in the course of advertisements to deceptively influence the choice of consumers. In some cases, advertisers use aspects of propaganda in convincing customers that other people are doing similar things. In this respect, consumers associate the products with fun thus compelling them to purchase the product to feel like the people in the adverts. In the real world, most soft drinks have images of young people taking the beverages thus portraying the products as fun and encouraging consumers to follow suit. In other scenarios, companies will employ the services of a celebrity to help in advertising their products. In this regard, consumers may associate the products with the celebrities and think of them as fun filled. Occasionally, these consumers are likely to purchase the products in a bid to feel related to the celebrities and not entirely because they need the products.
Still, the authors explore the use of testimonials in advertising and its potential to influence consumer through deception. The use of testimonials is explored as used in different advertisements in which professionals are portrayed as having recommended a certain product. In the case of toothpaste, for instance, companies may argue that nine out of ten dentists recommend the particular product on offer. The truth of these recommendations is usually not guaranteed, and the consumer is deceived into believing that using the products has the blessing of the professionals. In political propaganda, candidates are likely to use another form of advertisement in which the party slogans are used to deceive the citizenry that they have endorsements from the parties. In this undertaking, the public is forced to believe that such endorsements hold water when in reality they are false. In other scenarios, advertisements may use the pi9xcturs of famous people without captions thus creating a deceptive connection between the two entities. The aim of such deceptions is to insinuate a vote of confidence from the famous person in relation to the advertised product.
The paper also explores other channels of deception in both propaganda and advertisements. Rightly so, the authors find a connection in the repetitive tendency of advertisements that is often times deceptive (Ousborne, 2012). An example of the use of a product more than three times is provided to portray the use of deception in adverts and propaganda. Moreover, propaganda is normally associated with emotional appeals whereby consumers are swayed into associating with emotional things captured in the propaganda. In politics, for instance, governments may portray the images of people dying from enemy invasions to seek their support in declaring war. Through such tendencies, propaganda captures the emotional components of people and guarantees their support and confidence. According to the authors, advertising is usually structured to use words that have the potential of making consumers feel strongly about the captured images in the advertisements. Indeed, the authors cannot be wrong in this regard as the application of such techniques is highly prevalent both in advertisings and propaganda.
In his work, Hedges claims that people are chained to the flickering shadows of celebrity culture. Accordingly, this association has converted reality into a stagecraft, therefore, undermining the ability of human beings to discern reality (Hedges, 2010). Although the author is right in pointing out the fact that the world is deeply entrenched in the celebrity culture, his assertions that humans have lost touch with reality cannot be anything further from the truth. The world is not a culture that is adeptly lacking the intellectual and linguistic tools of coping with complexity. Further, today’s world, although different from the past can rightly discern illusion from reality even with the proliferation of the celebrity culture. It remains highly controversial on whether celebrity culture is ultimately harmful to the people. In addition, the effects of the celebrity culture cannot be considered in isolation as they are intertwined with different aspects of society. Consequently, therefore, the author cannot deem to declare a negative relationship between celebrity culture and the public welfare.
The most affected section of society is the young people who have little idea about important developments in society. In retrospect, these people can name every single celebrity in the country in different lines of fashion. A research conducted in the past found that more than 60% of the youths could not name at least half the members of the Supreme Court. On the other hand, these people knew both names of fashion celebrities including Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The difference in mastery is rather disturbing coming at the backdrop of an increasing inclination towards the celebrity culture. The authors argue that the current culture is consumed with the inherent desire to associate with celebrity gossip leaving little chance for reality (Hedges, 2010). In the process, people are much more likely to associate with gossip and illusions rather than the reality of life. In this respect, therefore, the paper could not be wrong in its assertions of a society largely inclined towards illusion. Indeed, the current generation would rather commit dozens of magazines and television shows to documenting the lives of celebrities than cover a public event.
Although the obsession with celebrity culture is rather harmful, the growing interest in celebrity culture cannot be ruled out as entirely harmful. In fact, studies have supported this viewpoint that the increasing interest in celebrity culture is only a mere fascination that is bound to change with time. Indeed, the development results from global changes in trends and the advent of information technology that allows for rapid sharing of information and news. The author is harsh with regard to the increasing inclination towards a celerity culture. Although the trends are quite worrying and warrant a discernible amount of concern, the paper is wrong in declaring the trend purely harmful. The fascination with celebrity culture is merely a continuation of the booming products of entertainment that are highly associated with most celebrities. Indeed, this fascination is only an extension of the normal form of advertisement in which celebrities are used in influencing consumer decisions. Ultimately, the outcome of the fascination is an association with celebrities that are considered fun thus instilling a feel-good factor among the young people. In this regard, therefore, the author is purely wrong in painting the changing trends as harmful to the youths. Even if this was the case. The fascination for celebrity culture is not purely to blame as the concept is a product of a dynamic and changing world.
In the next piece of work, Apkon makes a claim to the effect that the Hollywood vocabulary is slowly transforming into the Main street vocabulary (Apkon, 2014). This is rather true considering the increased viewership of Hollywood entertainment over the recent past. Youths and old people in general have an inclination towards entertainment thus increasing the reach of the entertainment industry and contributing to the adoption of the Hollywood vocabulary. It is common for people to use slang words borrowed from the Hollywood entertainment sphere in today’s world. Perhaps, the development stems from a desire by the people to sound cool by associating with the Hollywood players including actors and models. Moreover, the people are much more prone to dress according to the Hollywood standards in a bid to appear cool amongst their friends. For instance, designers are largely influenced by unfolding in the Hollywood space in coming up with new trends in the fashion industry. This development is not however driven by supply but rather from the demands of the young people. There is an unprecedented increase in the number of young people that associate with the Hollywood industry in making choices regarding their lives. In this regard, therefore, the author is right in pointing out that the Hollywood vocabulary is taking shape as the Main street vocabulary in today’s world.
The subsequent claims in the paper are however as false as the deceptions in advertisements and propaganda. The author claims that America must adopt the powerful tools if it harbors any dreams of being competitive and viable at the international stage (Apkon, 2014). By declaring the tools of Hollywood as rather powerful, the author demeans the normal situation of life in which the language of the main street is dictated by the normal flow of life. While it is true that most people are increasing associating their lives with that depicted in Hollywood films and plays, it is only an illusion. The perfect life depicted in Hollywood acts cannot be anything other than an illusion that is not applicable in normal life situations. The current tendency of youths to associate their lifestyles with the ones depicted in Hollywood acts is not only a falsehood but also deceptive in its very nature. The author cannot, therefore, claim that the tools depicted by Hollywood are powerful and ones that America must adopt in attaining its dream of remaining competitive and viable.
In conclusion, while all the papers under review have some truth elements in their arguments, there is a lot of illusion within the texts. Hedges claim that the inclination of the world towards the celebrity culture has dented our ability to discern reality from illusion is rather deceptive. Although it is true that the current inclination towards a celebrity culture is worrying, it is only resulting from the changes in the entertainment scene and is not fully harmful. Apkon also makes illusionary claims to the fact that America must embrace the powerful tools of Hollywood vocabulary to remain competitive and viable at the international stage. Despite the increasing adoption of the Hollywood vocabulary among the common people, it does not constitute an overhaul of the current system. Lastly, Lutz and Cross are effective in their analysis of the deceptive nature of propaganda and advertising. Although different, both advertising and propaganda have the potential of spreading deception among the viewers in different fields including political and business sectors. Simply put, all these writers have some veracity in their assertions. Hedge and Apkon are “right” in some aspects, but there seems to be some contradiction in some assertions that they are making. This makes Lutz and Cross to appear as being “right” in an all round perspective since most of their claims seem to hold ground.
Apkon, S. (2014). The age of the image: Redefining literacy in a world of screens. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Ousborne, J. (2012). Reading pop culture: A Portable Anthology (1st ed.). Bedford/St. Martin’s: New York.
Hedges, C. (2010). Empire of illusion: The end of literacy and the triumph of spectacle. New York, NY: Nation Books.
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