Louise F. DeMarco, Advertising Age
Thank God for Advertising
Critics of advertising maintain that advertising has created a national avarice which, in turn, has produced a "materialist society." They proceed from there to insist that this impulse toward affluence has resulted in a kind of general unhappiness.
This proposition concludes that the more "things" we have, the unhappier we become.
It represents a return to the "happy savage" thesis.
The critics are right about the essential role advertising has played in contributing to America's high standard of living, but they are wrong in concluding that it produces unhappiness.
It might be helpful to start with some notion of what does, in fact, make people happy.
The Gallup International Research Institute recently conducted a survey of 60 countries representing two-thirds of the world's population, the purpose of which was to measure human satisfactions, need and concerns. They wanted to find out what makes people happy.
The inescapable conclusion of the study is that the more people have, the happier they are.