Depending on the way a person looks at calculating advertisers is often how the advertising affects the consumer. Yet there are many tools which help the marketer create better algorithmic advertisements for the consumer; through using the tool of '"under development [. . .] [n]egative screen data bases" will help the niche marketer better understand marketing effectiveness through capturing an entire universe of prospects with marketing history attached, not only the responders to promotion"
(Johnson G. 1992, no page number).
PHILOSOPHY and ADVERTISING
If the advertiser and the consumer begin to have a mutually positive relationship, could the marketing still have negative consequences? "At the heart of any communication is the creative philosophy or approach and thus, philosophies play an important role in the agency-client relationship"
(West no page number). Databases and algorithmic marketing now has ties not only in politics, but also in philosophy: the question of the meaning of life, a common topic in philosophy, has always been known to be an intelligent pursuit that could never be answered. Advertising agencies run similar to this philosophy in that successful advertisers keep the public interested, yet always wanting more
(product). Does advertising have an answer for centuries of philosophy questions?
The question remains whether or not new developments in marketing can actually affect a person's mood: whether or not the struggle to be happy makes a person feel as if they have accomplished work on an aspiration. Often there is a quick happiness people experience when they
buy something they enjoy, versus the slow patience that can sometimes be depressive when a person invests a lot of time into self-awareness and happiness. "People buy into authenticity, in the idea that it's getting them closer to" reaching their personal goals (Turow 2006, p. 13). Yet maybe this idea is just smart advertising in order to keep the consumer buying into marketing strategies; although questioning where human needs and desires come from, the valid case of those aspirations, seems to be directly philosophical. Since philosophy usually concerns itself with abstract topics, it would seem that modern advertising is changing the field as it was before. In any case, if databases and algorithmic advertising are becoming the new philosophy, then those new developments certainly do have a huge impact on the advertising world and beyond.
Politics and philosophy, human-centered fields, just like marketing and advertising, rely on the interest of humans to remain active. This is why it can be confusing and scary for many parents/guardians of young girls, when one turns the television on and sees the marketing of unhealthy female body images as an ideal girls should meet. Thankfully algorithmic advertisements listen to the needs of the people. "Dove's campaign for '"real women, with abundant cellulose and cutaneous imperfections" sky-rocketed company sales (Cashmore 2006, p. 2). The fact that the algorithmic advertisements will soon become part of the historic databases, in turn to become algorithmic advertisements again, means that this smart advertising does have a moral consciousness in the way of providing for customer satisfaction.
Advertising companies count on humans' need to consume knowledge, gadgets, love, material and spiritual interests to reach personal satisfaction and a sense of freedom. Whether or not consumers are self-aware in their aspirations and product buying, or not, the fact remains that advertising does so well because people traditionally like to have options when deciding what to consume. Hackley and Kitchen (1999) cite that "[t]he popularity and symbolic power of particular products of marketing demands theoretical explanations which examine how we make meaning in our worlds" (p.4). In effect, what consumers decide to buy is a symbol of such intimate data as their personalities, habits, and goals. That algorithmic advertising and databases work together to give advertising companies a more clear idea of the range of products and also type of products, consumers have the opportunity to experience technology improving everyday life.
The range of possible products a consumer would probably buy, from an Amazon book
recommendation to a foreign film on Netflix, is important in keeping a consumer excited about what the algorithmic advertisements will offer. Since being happy with current product, in addition to a company persuading a consumer to purchase more product, is important to a company's success, the ability to hook a customer with new items to explore is a great advantage. As beautifully stated by Hackley and Kitchen (1999):
The source of ideas is the self and the subjectivity of experience leaves us alone in the universe to construct meanings through our interpretations of our own sense experience. We understand the world in terms of our own sense experience and communications media offer us a theatre of our own imagination (p.4).
With the development of algorithmic advertising and databases, Marketing has the potential to not only improve everyday life through products more in line with our personalities, but also the ability for individuals to think, reason, and develop their own advertising intuition. In this regard, modern advertising gives people a chance at a better way of life like technology has for centuries.
In conclusion, the political economy of advertising has changed in significant ways with the addition of databases and algorithmic advertising. Through these technological, philosophic, and political advancements, the original way of viewing the individual as a buyer, instead of human beings who have an internal drive to consume lifestyle tools to better themselves and their positions in life.
Throughout the essay, the question of whether or not advertising is good, bad, ethical, or unethical has proven to be dependent on the individual in question; in fact, it seems irrelevant to the fact that people will use advertising as a means to figure out what they want to become. Perhaps the best question to end with is whether people would have less options, and be less happy, without modern advertising strategies.
Bradley, Samuel D., James R. Angelini and Sungkyoung Lee. 2007. "Psychophysiological and Memory
Effects of Negative Political Ads." Journal of Advertising 36, no. 4: 115-27. OmniFile Full Text
Select, WilsonWeb (accessed March 17, 2011).
Cashmore, E. 2006. Buying/Sales. Chapter 9 in Celebrity/Culture. Oxford: Routledge