Re: ECON: Advertising
Tue, 26 Jan 1999 02:50:33 -0800 (PST)

Lee Daniel Crocker [] wrote:
>I offered this counterexample, because
>people are "expected" to buy diamond engagement rings precisely
>because DeBeers told them to in its advertising decades ago.

Uh-huh. And are people buying them today because of the advertising decades ago, or because of the tradition created back then? And did the advertising decades ago create a demand, or merely expand the tradition of rich people giving expensive rings when they got married into the middle class? If all diamond ads were to stop today, would people stop buying diamond engagement rings?

>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.

So you're saying that people didn't wash or paint their faces before the advertisers began advertising soap and makeup? Hate to tell you, but my ancestors were painting their faces back when the Romans invaded, though admittedly they probably didn't wash much. You think washing is bad and unneccesary?

>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

And people buy PCs because of the interesting things they can do with it; they don't buy PCs just because they saw an ad and rushed out to buy one even though it didn't do anything interesting, as Galbraith's theory would require.

>The most effective demand-creation advertising can be very subtle,
>as in movies that glamorize smoking and drinking,

You honestly think people start smoking and drinking because they see an ad and think, 'Hey, I'll start smoking today', and not because of the effects of alcohol and tobacco on their bodies? Every human society on this planet uses drugs of some kind, and few of them have advertising agencies.

ALL of your examples are people buying things which serve a purpose to them at the time. The only Galbraith theory example I can see is, as I've said before, kids seeing toys advertised on TV and pushing their parents to buy them, even though they'll be dumped after a few hours use. If those ads were to stop, parents would stop buying those toys... if Microsoft ads were to stop, people would still buy PCs. If soap ads were to stop, people would still buy soap. If alcohol ads were to stop, people would still buy alcohol. How many other things would people stop buying if they were no longer advertised?