Are we unknowingly persuaded by the Advertising/PR industry?

It seems to me that the producer’s perspective on the Advertising/PR industries seems to be negative. I think his belief is that they are manipulating the masses into purchasing their products through psychological influences. They have products placed within an entertainment context so people essentially are watching advertisements without even being aware of it. Due to how the producer has portrayed this documentary, I think he believes that this isn’t okay and people should be aware of it so they aren’t unknowingly influenced into purchasing these products.

The professionals that are doing this kind of manipulating honestly believe that they are essentially finding the best way to give people what they want. An example of this was shown by the psychiatrist named Rapaille. He believes there is a subconscious code that lies behind consumers’s decision making. He is apparently able to tap into this code and sell it to marketers who then make a profit by centering their advertisements around such a code. Rapaille is extremely successful, cashing in on this philosophy, as well as most of the corporations he helps. The whole point of his philosophy is that he believes he is helping to give the people what they want even though they aren’t even aware that they want it. It’s almost as if people are like sheep aimlessly bopping around, totally ignorant to their needs.

That scares me personally because it means people that I’ve never even met are making decisions about me, thinking that they know what is best for me (similar to Bernay’s concept of “invisible managers”). That is terrifying. I’d like to think that I know what’s best for myself and can gauge what to buy to satisfy my needs. This whole concept calls into question how in control of my own likes/dislikes I am and how influenced I am by these people in power. Do I even have any control? If corporations really have this much control over consumers, they need to have some sort of check/balance system for their actions or at least need to be responsible for acting ethically. But who oversees the people who oversee the masses? Will we even know if they’ve gone too far? If not, that’s scary.

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