Does advertising create unnecessary wants? Does it act against the public interest? Or does advertising inform the public, helping consumers identify commercial products and services that will serve their needs and desires? These varying points of view of advertising's role in society reflect significant differences in opinion about the worth of advertising. This unit examines the public's ideas about the advertising profession and the role it plays. It does so by reviewing the opinions expressed about advertising in opinion polls, books, articles, websites, movies, and TV. It gives responses from several advertising professionals to these opinions and offers readers an opportunity to post their own views about the advertising profession.
2. Public Opinion about Advertising
A short document highlighting the various opinions about advertising expressed by members of the public was prepared for purposes of stimulating discussion. Several advertising professionals were invited to respond on the record to the document. During the course of a week in March 2006, the author met with four persons at McCann Erickson Worldwide and five at Deutsch Inc. Some meetings took place in groups while others were with single individuals. The comments of the advertising professionals were tape recorded, transcribed, and are published later in this chapter.
3. The Document
Opinions frequently expressed about advertising by members of the public were summarized in the following document which was circulated prior to the meetings. The intent was to create a "conversation" by asking advertising professionals to respond to the public's ideas about the work that they do.
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