Pollay, Richard W. 1986. The distorted mirror: Reflections on the unintended consequences of advertising. Journal of Marketing. 50(April): 18-36. Reprinted with the permission of the American Marketing Association. This article reviews the work of significant humanities and social science scholars for their thoughts and theories about advertising's social and cultural consequences. In brief, they view advertising as instrusive and environmental and its effects as inescapable and profound. They see it as reinforcing materialism, cynicism, irrationality, selfishness, anxiety, social competitiveness, sexual preoccupation, powerlessness, and/or a loss of self-respect. Drawing heavily on original sources, these ideas are synthesized into a framework that structures advertising's supposed effects and causalities. Also discussed are the problems and prospects for needed research and the moral imperative for this research.
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