Joedelta wrote:In general, I am ideologically opposed to advertising. I think it's usually a form of pollution -- pollution that people pay cash money to do. Ick.
Back in the Stone Age, Thag the Caveman accidentally discovered that clay underneath the campfire would harden. With a little experimentation, he found he could make shapes and harden them in fires. He made what we today would call a jug and found it was a wonderful invention that helped him carry water, improving the health of his entire family. And thus was born pottery
He thought carefully. Could there be a way to let his invention benefit his whole tribe? Let's see... he could keep it a secret... no, that wouldn't help anybody. Of course! He could tell
someone about it! And thus was born advertising.
You might be irritated by the number of ads, or their design or location or other excesses of advertising in the modern world, but "ideologically opposed?" I personally am irritated by the ridiculous warning labels on many products, but that does not mean I am ideologically opposed to safety.
It is impossible to run an economy (not just a capitalist economy, but any kind of economy) without advertising. Even the Soviet Union used advertising to inform its citizens what meager products were available in its state-run stores. Without advertising producers could not gain rewards for their efforts, and in consequence there would be no producers (the same is true of modern "service industries").
There have been many serious ethicists and philosophers who have argued that the over-abundance of needless luxuries and idle pleasures in the modern world are a bad thing, both morally and practically. They sometimes blame the existence of them on the existence of advertising as a profession. I could devote more paragraphs to a rebuttal of this particular objection to advertising, but I'm sure its not necessary-- MMORPGs are needless luxuries and idle pleasures, so obviously you are not "ideologically opposed" to advertising on that particular accustation.
Why did this topic set me off? Because my Father is in the advertising business and is the most most ethical, responsible and good man that I know. He gives seminars on the ethics of advertising; as president of the American Advertising Federation he was one of the first people to criticize corrupt advertising like the "Joe Camel" cigarette ads. Because advertising is an inescapable necessity (like it or not), it will always be with us. Fighting unethical-- or obnoxious-- advertising requires making the distinction between the unethical and the ethical. Just saying-- because you find billboards ugly or whatever-- that you are "ideologically opposed" to advertising is similar to trying to oppose pollution by saying you are "ideologically opposed" to having an atmosphere.
There are certainly unethical advertisers, greedy advertisers, and inept advertisers. There are also unethical, greedy and inept bankers, accountants and computer programmers. But what someone once said about lawyers (I think it was Oliver Wendell Holmes but I'm not sure) I would extend to all these professions: because they are so necessary to the functioning of our society, they are "entitled to be judged by their best, not by their worst."