Ruling regimes are not the only organizations that utilize propaganda, marketing firms use it to “persuade” people to buy certain products. In Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? propaganda plays a large role in persuading people to become owners of androids by emigrating to Mars:
The T.V. set shouted, “-duplicates the halcyon days of the pre-Civil War Southern states! Either as body servants or tireless field hands, the custom-tailored humanoid robot-designed specifically for YOUR UNIQUE NEEDS, FOR YOU AND YOU ALONE-given to you on your arrival absolutely free, equipped fully, as specified by you before departure from Earth; this loyal, trouble-free companion in the greatest, boldest adventure contrived by man in modern history will provide-“ It continued on and on (Dick 18).
The ad makes it attractive to emigrate to Mars and entices the individual viewing the announcement by personalizing it and constantly using the word “you”. The commercial creates a desire to own an android that will be manufactured and tailored to the consumers’ needs. The film Blade Runner based also on the novel, directed by Ridley Scott, starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer, places giant screens through out the city, constantly streaming announcements about Coca-Cola or some other form of consumer products. According to Edmund D. McGarry, Professor of Marketing and Economics at the University of Buffalo, “Advertising as used today is primarily a type of propaganda […] Every advertisement is designed to predispose its readers to a favorable consideration of its sponsor and his product. It is deliberately planned to make its readers and listeners take sides to affiliate and ally themselves under its banner and to ignore all others” (131-132). It stands to reason that in the film Blade Runner, sellers of products benefited from these giant screens. It is also interesting to note that Coca-Cola was actually featured in the film, making the film itself a method of advertising for the company.
Propaganda has existed for thousands of years, utilized to persuade people and even entire nations into action. Wars have been waged and man’s ideologies have been spread by using propaganda. It has made its way into consumerism through advertising, inciting buyers to purchase certain products. Governments as well as capitalism has benefited by using propaganda. It can be a useful device if used prudently and if people keep vigilance. Ultimately, it is left to the individual to make the choice of believing what is presented to him/her by ruling regimes or manufactures of goods.
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