DEADLY PERSUASION: Why Women And Girls Must Fight The Addictive Power Of Advertising

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9780684865997: DEADLY PERSUASION: Why Women And Girls Must Fight The Addictive Power Of Advertising
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Discusses the advertising establishment, revealing what advertisers know about human nature and how they exploit it to make a profit

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Review:

Jean Kilbourne first gained prominence in the 1970s as the maker of Killing Us Softly, a documentary that detailed how the images of women in advertising were destructive for women in real life. In the years since, her thesis hasn't changed much, but the evidence supporting it has accumulated at an overwhelming rate. One of the first points that Kilbourne makes clear in Deadly Persuasion is that advertising does influence people, which is why newspapers and magazines engage in cutthroat competition to convince corporations to place ads in their publications, on the principle that their readership consists of the most valuable demographic. What appear in those ads, though, are images that equate emotional well-being with material acquisition; encourage women--beginning in their teenage years--to work at preserving the one "right" look; and associate rebellion and independence with the consumption of alcohol and tobacco.

Kilbourne is militant on these issues, and some readers may find her positions a bit too extreme, as when she lambastes ads that employ surre alism for imitating a drugged state of altered consciousness or when she declares that most sexual imagery in advertising is "pornographic," elaborating in such a way as to denigrate the very idea of casual sex. And, despite several attempts at grim sarcasm, Deadly Persuasion is ultimately rather humorless. Kilbourne's heart, though, is definitely in the right place, and her demonstration of the extent to which we allow corporations to shape our desires is truly eye-opening. --Ron Hogan

From Kirkus Reviews:

A powerful, sobering call to arms by the documentarian (Killing Us Softly, Slim Hopes, Pack of Lies), lecturer, and scholar. Jean Kilbourne has an axe to grind, as she is refreshingly honest about admitting right up front. She is appalled by the power that various industries exert over the media, and has spent the past 30 years researching the pervasive and insidious nature of advertising in society. Here she examines the influence that advertising has on consumers, focusing particularly on how it contributes to the problems that girls and women already face in terms of economics, violence, and physical and emotional health. Kilbourne does not naively attribute any of the problems that women face directly to advertising; indeed she frequently states that no one particular advertisement or campaign can be blamed for anything. But her incisive interpretation of research and statistics points out with precision the advantage advertising companies take of the public's tendencies toward addiction, and, even more importantly, the ways corporations use their economic hold over the media to withhold information from their customers. Kilbourne is specific and often humorous as she displays and deconstructs various ad campaigns and their methods of co-opting the human desire for connection; referring to a BMW ad that claims, ``If you do shiver, it'll be from excitement,'' she asks, ``Are we supposed literally to be turned on by the experience of driving these cars (or simply being inside them)? Is it progress that both men and women can now experience the thrill of having sex with their cars? Will people go parking by themselves before long?'' One of the most egregious results of the ever-present sales pitch, explains Kilbourne, is the fact that those who buy whatever is being sold are often trying to fill an internal emptinessand inevitably failing. A broad and provocative look at the ads that bombard us, and what they do to our culture. (100 b&w illus.) (Radio satellite tour) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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9780965121514: Deadly Persuasion: Why Women and Girls Must Fight the Addictive Power of Advertising

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ISBN 10:  0965121518 ISBN 13:  9780965121514
Publisher: The Free Press, 1999
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