Television's Touch

So What:
The overall purpose of my entire research is to inform readers of the overpowering effects that television commercials have on its viewers. With such a large portion of today’s television being commercials, viewers may not recognize how much the images displayed affect their outlooks on various topics. Many of these commercials do not contain negative influences, and can often be useful information for obtaining new products. It is no secret that in today’s world appearance is becoming an increasing focus point for individuals. People know that attractiveness can play a part in an individual's overall reception by society. And with the current economic struggles people are becoming more and more aware of their appearance. This may include a desire to look younger, healthier, wealthier, or a generally more appealing complexion. My research aims to focus on the misleading ads and promotions that portray unrealistic lifestyles to society as obtainable through a particular product. Furthermore, I would like my research to help individuals differentiate between society’s effect on their personal qualities from the unique one’s that they themselves have imposed.
Primary Sources:
My first primary sources will consist of falsified food commercials. These are ads that portray a healthy and fit lifestyle through the consumption of a company’s product. Activia is a widely famous yogurt brand started in the 1980's. Today Activia is a more than 2 billion dollar brand. Activia achieved much of its success through its health benefit claims. Activia claims that consumption of their product can lead to regulating cholesterol, high blood pressure, preventing obesity, and improved digestion. But in 2006 the creators of Activia were required to give proof of the ingredients used to make their product so nutritional and worth an overall higher price. The the claims were found to be fraud, and the false advertising costed Activia up to $45 million in damages. Many consumers today are still not aware that Activia was even accused of the false claims. Kashi is another ‘all natural’ food product that found itself in advertising trouble recently. Kashi is a successful American founded product that will look to become a $1 billion name brand within the next five years. Kashi has held claims that its product is all natural and beneficial to the consumers health. Once investigated is was discovered that not only is Kashi not all natural, but many of its products were almost entirely synthetic and unnaturally processed ingredients. Unhealthy substances such as silicon dioxide, sodium benzoate, and sucralose were found to be components of Kashi’s products. Situations like these can cause consumers to see beautiful paid actors advertising the product, and believe it to be the reason they are so healthy looking when in reality that could not be further from the truth.
Cosmetics is another industry where products are often found to have unrealistic effects. With age being a natural discrimination in the business world, many men and women are looking for age defying products to help them keep up with younger competition in today's economic struggle. Olay is one of the largest companies in the skin care industry. Introduced to the United States in the 1960's, Olay continues to bring in multi billions of dollars in revenue each year. But, as seen in the video below, during a 2009 Olay commercial advertising for its Definity eye cream Olay heavily exaggerated the new product's ability's. Olay represented a former model looking wrinkle free, and much younger than her age of 62. British lawmakers investigated the ad, and found digitally altered spots on the model's face. These lawmakers cited not only a gross misrepresentation of the products ability, but the ad’s potentially negative impact on people’s body image. Many people see these appealing images in commercials begin to believe that if they buy a particular product they too can obtain a desired appearance. I want my research to assist people in realizing that many of these products are simple fabrications used to make a profit. And many of the actors and actresses they desire to be are naturally born the way they are with no help from the product that is endorsing them. They are simply being paid to give credit to a man made product as opposed to mother nature. For more advertising scandals that found national attention please click here. David Richardson.

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