Argument to suppress marketing as we know it:
By Andrew D Atkin
I would like to express my argument for why we could consider getting rid of ads on National TV.
If the average New Zealander watches 2.5 hours of TV per night, and we price their time at the average wage of ~$20/hr, then that would cost about $40-million worth of New Zealander's time each day to watch about a 1/2hr of ads, and that would equate to a national cost of about $14-billion per year. I don't know what the exact figures are, but in these terms TV-advertising would have to be incredibly expensive whichever way you go.
And then there is the fact that the consumer pays for all that advertising through product mark-up. And only a part of that mark-up pays for their TV coverage, because TV only charges for the ads distribution, not construction.
If we made national TV adless then we would have to increase taxes a little, but we should ultimately get it all back and more through reduced product mark-up.
I know people want to know about new products, but the Internet can now provide that service. The government could even commission Trade-me to provide a national product-consultation service.
Because advertising favours big companies, this would also help to level the playing field to create a more competitive market for the consumer i.e. product success is dictated more directly by product quality, as opposed to your ability to effectively market it.
You could even go a step further and mostly outlaw advertising - we would all probably be better off for it, especially considering that the Internet is shrinking the argument for advertising's informative function (not to mention that half the time 'manipulative function' might be a better term).
I've heard some people argue that advertising drives the economy - that argument is rubbish*. If people don't spend their money on advertised products, then they will spend it non-advertised products - consumer spending drives the economy, not advertising as such. Advertising only creates biases for some industries and at the ultimate expense of others. And if the bias is not positive, then the value of advertising can only be negative.
And then there is the argument that business has a right to advertise. They do I believe, but no more right than New Zealand has to regulate any given business that chooses to operate within its borders - it's our country.
My conclusion is that I don't think it's logical for NZ to tolerate advertising like we do today. Why should we pay to receive something that we do not usually even want, and does not deliver a true net advantage? We do have the right to suppress advertising, I believe...so why not?
*I mean driving the economy in a socially positive sense (improving productive efficiency to lower real costs). I do not mean driving the economy in the sense that people are stimulated to work harder, to earn more, to buy more, as a consequence of professional advertising.
The act of encouraging people to trade their spare time for more products is no virtue in itself, especially if the manipulation is unasked for, and especially if the manipulation utilises marketing techniques specifically designed to induce the consumer to believe that the advertised product will be worth a great deal more to them than it really would be in practice i.e. creating artificial demands.
Forcing an exaggerated "consumer society" onto people, against their will, can hardly be regarded as real progress. Getting people to buy what they don't need or even really want is only a waste of human and environmental resources - nothing more.