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On conformity and dissonance. On the surface, they seem to be at odds, but if you will indulge me, I will explain. The job of advertising is not creating awareness, or associating the brand with good feelings or the rest of the crap you hear from marketers. It's about creating a undefinable sense of dissonance within a person that drives them to a certain behavior./ In this case, buying the product. We are bombarded with messages telling us our teeth aren't white enough, or we should be driving a Lexus, or chicks will want to have sex with us if we wear a certain body spray. Advertising creates a whole that we believe can only be filled through consumption. Advertising is manipulation. That manipulation also seeks to provide some conformity.
The images we view on the television (our own digital opiate) show us the same types of people over and over. Our news broadcasts are themselves npthing more than advertising of a political nature. Some of it is blatant (NBC), but it is still a form of advertising created to mold and manipulate impressions and perceptions. In the early days of the post-911 era, few people recognized the blatant grab for power by many inthe government. Those that did were afraid to speak out, lest we have another quelling of dissent through violence and law as we did in with both World Wars. Conformity was enforced through advertising and propaganda. Clear Channel was sponsoring their pro-war rallies and moronic congressmen were renaming fried comestibles.
The societal norm in this country is dictated to us through advertsing and the media. Rebellion is always commodified and sold to the masses. Harley Davidsons are a great example. Once the symbol of rebellion and freedom, it is now the symbol of conformists and middle-aged right wingers. Housewives are as likley to be tatooed these days as bikers. When advertisers commodify rebellion, they make its safe for the bourgeoise. In the process, society loses an energy that drives it to evolve.
Which would I rather have?
There is always a level of conformity necessary to a society. In law, and basic rights of the individual. It is the same with dissonance. However, when dissonance is manipulated simply to sell more toothpaste, or mobile phones or chrome rims, rather than for the greter good; it becomes a waste of society's time and energy.