What Is Propaganda?
From what I understand, I believe propaganda is a complex system that is being employed, either by a corporation or a particular government agency, to promote a specific way of influencing the way people think, act, or both. Based on my experiences and from what I have read in the newspapers, books, magazines, websites, specifically in their advertisements, this can be attained by using strong graphics to suggest a strong theme or by using famous personalities such as actors and sports heroes, in their intent on manipulating a particular audience.
However, it is a known and accepted fact that throughout history, propaganda has not been limited to commercial advertisements, but also in advancing the political goals of a particular nation: be it in programs that promote general peace and unity, and also in their justification of war. I have read somewhere that during the Second World War, posters were scattered in almost every street corner of the United States wherein Uncle Sam was being depicted as almost growling in saying, “Uncle Sam Wants You!!! ”, no doubt as the Armed Forces’ way of increasing their numbers in preparation for the anticipated war.
Although I do not possess any accurate figures to justify this propaganda’s success, based on the general support given by the American public to their government during that war, it truly seemed to point to the reality that this method indeed was a huge sensation. Perhaps this method was also the technique that was employed by Hitler in Germany during the same period, where systematically his government instituted propaganda programs on all fronts—from school, to family, the work place, and especially in the military establishments, imbedding in every German citizen of all ages the precept of Arian Supremacy.
Perhaps also through this propaganda machine, the German people truly believed that the entire world is theirs and that every other race is their possession. Another aspect that comes to mind when taking into consideration the magnitude that propaganda has been able to affect our society is in the field of politics. Here, we have recently witnessed how the slogan (which may be considered as a form of propaganda) used by President Barack Obama during the Presidential Campaign, “Change We Can Believe In”, resulted to a historic event as he became the very first African-American to be elected as President of the United Sates of America.
While it is very true that he is capable of holding this position, this propaganda seemed to have overshadowed his credentials and made the American public focus on the promise of a more peaceful global stage and a more dynamic national economy. Whether this technique involves mind conditioning or it is simply stating President Obama’s true intention is irrelevant, since his overwhelming victory can speak for itself.
In the field of commercial or corporate advertisement, propaganda has likewise been a major indicator of sales and product success. One case that comes to mind involves the advertisements of cigarettes in major sporting events, such as the Indy 500. Here, at least until recently, huge banners and signage of competing cigarette brands can be seen strategically placed along the stands in order to be seen by billions of viewers all over the world. Although what exactly is the connection between sports and cigarettes still remains a mystery to me.
Despite of the seeming conflict of these entities—sports and vices, we have seen how big and wealthy the different tobacco companies have become over the generations that passed prior to the conception of more stringent advertising protocols in sporting events. Emotional Needs of Man as a Reference for Marketing Strategy As a youngster I remember badly wanting a pair of Air Jordans simply because I have seen Michael Jordan on TV wearing those as he accumulated win after win and ring after ring.
I witnessed how he was able to dunk the ball in front of defenders who are a head taller than him. Although I was sober enough to know that I will never have his skills even if I were to wear his shoes in my sleep, it nevertheless had not stopped me from owning a couple of pairs. It poses a question then on the reason or the basis of my action. From a superficial point of view it may seem that I was swayed into buying by the advertisements on TV, or by the glossy colored billboards on the city street, and perhaps it is true.
Although at my present level of maturity I am more inclined to think that the advertisements of Air Jordan that I saw in my younger years were able to fill a hollow space in my persona. The same is true with the advertisements of beauty products, such as the one being endorsed by singer Jessica Simpson, Pro-Activ. In all of her photos with this product, the first thing that one notices is the glossy and high-definition photographs.
It exudes a preconception of a high-end beauty product that will surely be the answer to all of the ladies’ facial skin blemishes. More so, the advertisement seems to strongly suggest that their product will make anyone’s skin as glamorous, radiant, and as perfect as the celebrity endorsing it, which to state bluntly, is quite improbable as the photo itself has undoubtedly undergone different photography techniques to achieve a perfect end result.
Another field that advertisements use propaganda techniques is in the clothing industry. Here, we very often see models of perfect symmetry and physical proportion donning famous denims, shirts, apparels, underwear, and the like, strutting their way into our TV screens and in the pages of newspapers and magazines. Although there is nothing morally wrong with this method, it creates a false belief that patronizing these products will make the buyers as physically appealing as the models.
Again, there is no fault in promoting this belief, but it teaches a false idea that physical beauty is the most important virtue that a person can possess—more than being honest, trustworthy, God-fearing, and responsible. More than all of these, these advertisements seem to promote a shallow perception of life, as it promotes, tacitly on some and blatantly on others, too much importance on the person’s sexuality. Looking back at the examples that I have stated, it becomes clear that advertisers employ propaganda in order to advance their objectives.
Save for the obvious reasons of Nazi Germany during the Second World War and the recruitment posters that were disseminated by the United States’ Armed Forces during the same period which were targeting the sense of nationalism among their respective citizenries, the more modern style of propaganda that we see in different infomercials seem to target our emotions, more specifically our emotional needs. It is quite hard to explain or define, but somehow the cigarette advertisements that were strategically placed in sporting events such as the Indy 500 seem to promote masculine strength.
Perhaps this is the reason why these products were so successful in their sales after sponsoring events such as these. Somehow, they were able to make a connection between strong and fast cars, and the nicotine content in every smoke. With the cases of the skin products and the clothing lines, the propaganda that was employed seem to create a feeling or a necessity to be beautiful; that a person may be deemed as irrelevant if he or she will not look as good as the endorser/s, hence the need to patronize the product arises.
More so, it promotes a lifestyle that is fictional; where everybody is physically alluring with perfect faces and wearing the latest fashion trends. This method may be harmful for some, especially those who may not recognize the folly that these advertisements promote. This may cause their self-worth to suffer, thinking that they are alone in a world of perfect people, with perfect lives, when in reality most if not all of these endorsers are the exact opposites of the person they struggle to project on film.Sample Essay of Eduzaurus.com