Advertisements have a huge impact on our lives. On average, consumers will watch an average of two years of commercials in their lifetime.
Internationally recognized re-searcher Dr. Jean Kilbourne ad-dressed a full audience at King Concert Hall and discussed "Dead-ly Persuasion: The Power of Ad-vertising." She spoke on campus as part of the annual Maytum Con-vocation Lecture. Earlier in the day, Kilbourne held a press conference.
SUNY Fredonia President Virginia Horvath introduced Kilbourne, saying she was one of the "influential and important researchers of a our time."
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Advertising companies often target gender groups as well as children for their campaigns. Dr. Jean Kilbourne spoke at SUNY Fredonia Wednesday on her research in advertising.
Kilbourne started by saying advertising is a "very powerful educational force in our society." She has been working with advertising since the 1970s.
"I started by looking at the image of women in advertising," Kilbourne said. "Everyone thought that advertising was too trivial to matter... and it wasn't worth studying."
Advertising is mainly subconscious and only 8 percent of the advertisement is received by the conscious mind. Both television and the internet are "renting eyeballs" to get their advertisements across.
"We are the product. ... What's being sold is (consumers)," Kilbourne said.
As part of her lecture, Kilbourne showed examples of how magazines send advertisements to different companies soliciting their readers to get companies interested in advertising with them. Kilbourne also spoke on how cigarette and alcohol companies target young adults subconsciously. Naming 'Hello Kitty' wine after a popular cartoon character and various types of sweet flavored alcohol target younger audiences, especially females.
Kilbourne, a former smoker, is not against smoking, but is against tobacco companies targeting younger audiences. Newport cigarettes' slogan is "Alive with Pleasure." Kilbourne used this as an example of how tobacco companies show how smoking can seem attractive by showing good-looking people.
"Alive with pleasure beats dead with cancer as a slogan," Kilbourne said.
Tobacco companies, along with other advertisements also target females and their weight.
"We all learn to spend time, energy and money to look good. If we fail, we feel guilty," Kilbourne said.
One of the biggest changes in advertising is that technology has evolved so much, according to Kilbourne.
"Photoshop has transformed the landscape. It used to be you had to use body doubles; you used to see one woman's face and another woman's hands. Now they can completely transform a model with Photoshop."
When females see Photoshop used on models, it affects self esteem. While men are starting to be the object of stereotypes, such as older rich men marrying younger, good looking wives, in advertising, advertisements never address a man's body or weight.
Kilbourne said the best way to fight advertising that targets children and people in negative ways, is to be educated about media literacy. Kilbourne's website has a section for resources for change. Her website also lists books and films that she has written and produced. For more information, visit www.jeankilbourne.com.
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