Advertising is a cunning tool which subverts your consciousness so you feel in control at the point of purchase.
You think you’re free? Think again. It has been claimed that the desire to smoke cigarettes was programmed into women, as sexualised symbols of rebellion, starting in 1920s America. While women felt empowered when they smoked, they were being manipulated by crafty men into purchasing their own phallic objects—objects which contained addictive and harmful substances. How real, then, were their desires? Weren’t their urges just the products of a big industry, hungry for their money and powerful enough to attain it?
But it’s not just women of times gone by: we are all too easily encouraged to act out unconscious emotional desires as happiness machines under the control of strategists and public-relations experts; to be misled and slyly subverted; to be content with docility and at the whim of illusory, malleable, and transitory desires; to be susceptible to control as consumers and as political subjects by greedy and populist demagogues; to embrace the irrational enemy within: to be the holders of an illusory kind of freedom.
It’s an uneasy thought.