Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Selling Ideas

The human mind is a resource, and the exchange of all ideas (including religion, scientific ideas, social norms, concern over a current event, pop culture, etc.) resembles product distribution (and natural selection). The difference between a long-lasting idea and a passing fad relies on a lot of things. A lasting idea needs to reach a lot of people, be repeated, seem useful and beneficial to the host of the idea, be self-perpetuating, be self-reinforcing, be easy to remember, and be clear and memorable enough to spread by word of mouth or through other common interpersonal communication. [link] (Memetic Evolution)

Advertisement exemplifies the "ideal" long-lasting idea: it is broadcast on tv at many times, which reaches a lot of people and repeats; it changes the way we develop and think about products in relation to our identity and worth, which makes them seem more useful; it is often unfulfilling after the purchase or we think it fulfills us, making the purchase of products self-perpetuating; there are creations of new and updated products all the time, which further self-perpetuates consumption; and it utilizes catchy and humorous phrases and imagery, making it easy to remember and spread by word of mouth.

We've all grown up with advertisements ourselves, so we may not think much of the fact that children watch so much tv and advertisement annually. But considering how advertisements are given to people in a way ideal for hammering ideas in to them, their consequences are overlooked far too much.

How can parents stand a chance against advertising businesses if these businesses are, at the root of it, communicating with children more effectively than most other people/mediums can? If the average American child watches 6 hours of tv a day while their parents are busy doing work, perhaps they probably spend more time with the tv than they do talking to their parents. Even if parents don't buy their kids every toy, their kids are still growing up in a society that unhealthily associates success with consumption, and as a result, kids' minds are still being shaped to value the same things to a large extent.

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