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Advertising was initially meant to make people aware of the goods available in the market. It was as simple as announcing what you have in your store or the services you offer in your premises. Over the years, advertising has evolved into a major industry that goes beyond informing to persuading and influencing. It is a form of brainwashing consumers.

Advertising has become a type of culture with ardent followers. In the process, it attracts enviable attention from manufacturers and service providers who fancy an edge over their competitors. Unfortunately, in keeping with the ever-increasing demands of the manufacturers, the advertisers have resulted to creating unnecessary wants and excess consumption in most of us. This is a craving for harmful products that we are better off without. It preys on our minds rendering us completely irrational. The billboards (hoardings), television and radio advertisements target us from a very early age, forming our view of the world as we grow into adults. The buzzwords in advertising are, 'you are cool, type, sophisticated, of the hook', if you use this or that product.

The notion that the media is primarily in place to give us news is not very true. If the truth may be told, the media is there to gather enough audience, package them into a pricey commodity and sell it to the advertisers. The advertisers, on the other hand, are always on the lookout for a target audience to persuade them that this product or service is better than that of the competitor.

Advertising does influence people. Most of the advertisements are filled with images that equate emotional well-being with material acquisition and associate independence and leisure with consumption of alcohol. Advertising also makes people lavish their affect on products rather than real people, thereby destroying human relationships We have become trapped in the web of advertising where products like brands of beer and cigarette take over our minds, doing away with our core family values.

When you look critically at most of the advertisements on the television, you will discover how persuasive the advertisers are in deciding for us what, when, how much and why to buy. But most people think that they are not influenced by advertisements. This is precisely what the advertisers want us to think, that in the end 'the people decide'. If you think deeply, nobody in his profit-minded sense will pay so much money to make a thirty second advertisement, which might not be seen by a hundred people, leave alone convince them to buy. How we strike a healthy balance between the two will definitely have a direct bearing on the future of our country. It is unfortunate that alcohol and tobacco advertising forms a sizable chunk of the industry.

From paragraph 1
  1.

(a) What has advertising become ?

(b) What was the initial aim of advertising ?

    From paragraph 2
  2.

What are the two effects of advertising ?

    From paragraph 4
  3.

(a) Which word in this paragraph means gaining ?

(b) Which word has the same meaning as the word heap ?

    From paragraph 4
  4.

What does the phrase trapped in the web of advertising mean ?

    From paragraph 5
  5.

In what ways have advertisers influence our actions ?

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Answers
 

1.

(a) It has become a huge industry that goes beyond informing to persuading and influencing consumers' minds.

(b) To make people aware of the goods available in the market.

 

2.

(i) Excess consumption in most of us.

(ii) A craving for harmful products that we are better off without.

 

3.

(a) acquisition

(b) lavish

 

4.

It means that we are so much influenced by the advertisements of the products that we keep on buying them in excess, thus losing control of our actions.

 

5.

They through their advertisements influence us as to what to buy, when to buy, how much and the reasons to buy.

 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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