More Pablum from Nader

pablum Over at CounterPunch, Ralph Nader, he of the macabre number-fudge, turns his attention to advertising. His findings?

1) Advertising really doesn’t work:

Ask yourself when was the last time you saw any of those tiny ads on Google and Facebook and rushed to buy the products or services. For that matter, ask yourself whether any radio or television advertisements prompted you to go out and buy the product. Sure the newspaper ads announcing short-term sales for clothes or household goods may get you to the market, along with the supermarket specials for foodstuffs. But generally speaking, you must wonder what the business community gets for its tens of billions of dollars annually pouring out of their advertising budgets. I can almost hear the chuckles from Madison Avenue reacting to this skepticism about whether ads are worth their price. Such doubts are almost never publically [sic] discussed.

2) Consumer Reports is a rational form of resistance to marketing:

There is one organization that doesn’t lose any sleep over the question: “do advertising dollars work or are they largely wasted?” Consumers Union, through its monthly magazine Consumer Reports and its website services, gives you just the facts derived from its wide ranging honest testing programs. With over five million magazine print subscribers and three million online subscribers, more and more Americans are getting it the rational way. By the way, Consumer Reports has never carried advertising in its seventy-five year history.

That first argument is simply lazy and uninformed.

As for Consumer Reports, however useful it may be in a narrow sense, it is what it is — a magazine that blithely, if not gleefully, recommends corporate products, with zero criticism of whether we ought to be shopping for things like automobiles at this point in human history and zero coverage of political and macro-economic alternatives to corporate commodification.

We TCTers might also note the typical swallowing and normalizing of the “consumer” insult. Both “Consumers Union” and Mr. Nader continue to use “consumer” as a natural and even empowering label for product-users, again without the smallest hint that such a choice might be doing a piece of Big Business’s work for it.

One Reply to “More Pablum from Nader”

  1. And this is why I find the situation hopeless. Nader is ostensibly one of the sanest voices out there… yet he still betrays his responsibility, with scores of comfortable others…

    It is hard to decide where to even begin to deal with the ridiculous idea that “advertising doesn’t work”… How about the fact that advertising is now an indistinguishable, and perhaps the dominant, part of the ENTIRE F**ING CULTURE? And as such cultivates mindsets and values and states of mind perfectly consistent with buying crap?

    Take my pet peeve (and main reason for self-loathing, lol…) –> the “truism” that you “have to look professional” in the work place. Meaning that you have to spend a lot of money on good professional clothes. This is a ridiculous, completely manufactured idea, eagerly accepted for granted by all classes, but especially by the 20th percentile who are delusional enough to believe that there is more distinguishing them from the wage labourer than their marginally better (for now) um… wage.

    The statement through consumption meme (and not the response to any specific ad or campaign) is so powerful, that I, as I write this, I am still contemplating the purchase of yet another pair of shoes. Why? Glad you asked – among the multitude of pairs I have, there is still lacking a pair that would be “just right” for lounging around the pool. You know, to look swell for whenever a high profile contact happens to walk by and close a giant poolside sale. Cuz you gotta be ready, ya know, and your perfectly fine sneakers will betray your plebean origins, and any and all hope for upward mobility will be dashed. LOL.

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