Re: ECON: Advertising

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Mon, 25 Jan 1999 11:17:58 -0800 (PST)

> ...people buy diamond engagement rings because they're expected to, not
> because they see an ad on TV and think 'oh, I think I'll buy a diamond
> engagement ring today'. Galbraith's theory seems to be the latter; we see
> an ad on TV and follow the meme to go out and buy a diamond engagement
> ring even though we're not going to get engaged.

Your contention was that advertising does not create demand among adults to a large degree. I offered this counterexample, because people are "expected" to buy diamond engagement rings precisely because DeBeers told them to in its advertising decades ago. Other examples: underarm deodorants, shampoos, cosmetics and other personal care products that no one realized they needed until chemical companies started telling us that we smell bad and that plain soap makes our hair split and that painted faces are good.

What about Microsoft's "Where do you want to go today?" ads? They're not trying to say they're product is better than Linux or MacOS, they're just trying to show you all the interesting things you can do with a PC--which will more than likely have their OS on it--but I'm sure those ads help Mac sales as well by convincing parents that their children will be deprived without a computer, or that their business will be less organized and less competitive.

The most effective demand-creation advertising can be very subtle, as in movies that glamorize smoking and drinking, or it can be as overt as "Got Milk?". To deny that advertising creates demand for products among adults as well as influencing brand selection is completely at odds with the facts.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC