The television is one of today’s major sources of entertainment. It could not be denied that this particular innovation of technology attracts numerous audiences that share a certain agreement that television is indeed a primary source of relaxation to the weary minds of many people in the society. In fact, “According to the International Herald Tribune, over a billion TV sets cover the globe, 50 percent more than there were five years ago. In Japanese homes, TV sets outnumber flush toilets.
Only about half of Mexican homes have a telephone, but just about every household has a TV. And many Americans have 25 or 30 channels to choose from. States the Tribune: “The cultural, political and economic effects of this global television revolution are enormous. . . . Some worry that all that TV watching will make the rest of the world lose its appetite for reading, as has already happened to two generations of Americans.” (Herald tribune, 1990, 3)
Certainly, from this particular report, it could be observed that television has been taking over the other forms of entertainment ever since the time it was first introduced to the society. It could be noted too that as years pass, the simple innovation of a box like feature of a television continuous to involve in such a state that the said form of entertainment is able to meet the specific standard of relaxation for different types of audiences. There exists the large screen televisions, the flat screen TVs, the mobile televisions and so on and so forth (Anuradha, 1994, 34). From this point it could then be agreed upon by many that television fondness among the present generation towards the next generations is here to stay.
Television can plant the same idea in hundreds of millions of minds—all in the same instant! And unlike the printed page, it does not require its viewers to be educated in the complex art of reading, nor does it ask them to form their own mental images and impressions. It delivers its messages with pictures and sound and all the enticements they can produce. (Evra, 1997, 24)
It did not take long for politicians to see the tremendous potential of television. In the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower used TV shrewdly in his 1952 presidential campaign. According to the book Tube of Plenty—The Evolution of American Television (Greenwood,1980), Eisenhower won the election because he proved the more “merchandisable” candidate in the media. The book shows that TV may have played an even greater role in John F. Kennedy’s victory over Richard M. Nixon in the 1960 election.
When the candidates debated on TV, Kennedy scored higher with viewers than Nixon did. Yet, audiences who heard the same debate over the radio felt that it had been a draw. Why the difference? Nixon looked pale and haggard, while Kennedy was robust and tanned, exuding confidence and vitality. After the election, Kennedy said of television: “We wouldn’t have had a prayer without that gadget.” (Evra, 1997, 25)
“That gadget” continued to make its power felt worldwide. Some began calling it the third superpower. Satellite technology enabled broadcasters to beam their signals across national borders and even oceans. World leaders used TV as a forum to garner international support and denounce their rivals. Some governments used it to transmit propaganda into enemy countries. And just as governments had tried to control Gutenberg’s invention once they understood its power, many governments took tight hold of television. In 1986 nearly half of all nations were broadcasting only government-controlled programs.
At present, there are numerous developments with regards the programs presented through the use of the satellite connections of televisions. News programs were among those, which primarily utilized the benefits brought about by television networking (Evra, 1997, 29). However, aside from this particular programming presentation, other recreational sorts of programs also found the said satellite networking system quite much effective in helping the society gain recreation and not simply information from utilizing the said technological gadget.
Since then, entertainment and recreation became one of the most important factors of interest it television programming (Scheuer, 1999, 99). The production of soap operas, and fantasy based stories that are aimed to entertain especially the young audiences (Evra, 1997, 54). This is where the negative and positive effects of television on the human society enters the discussion.
(A) The Benefits of Television
Television has made available some wholesome entertainment programs too. In the privacy of his home a person can enjoy a Shakespeare drama, the Metropolitan Opera, ballet and concerts. There is a television series produced in England that may be enjoyed with or without sound. When the actors talk to one another (which is very seldom) they also employ sign language. This makes available an entertaining and instructive program both for people who can hear and for those who cannot. (Awake! 1990, 29)
The field of education has greatly benefited from television. It makes available a variety of instructive material with a full view of the teacher and of any experiments or visual illustrations that he may provide. One can learn about mathematics, various other sciences, basic household skills, languages and many other things on educational television.
Many enjoy “visual essays” that couple a fine view of live performances in arts such as music or dancing with commentary by an expert in the field. Some countries employ TV to cut down their illiteracy rate (Littner, 1980, 25). Developing countries have found it an effective tool to train people for jobs where there are not enough qualified teachers. And television presentations can be stored on videotape for repeated use.
Young viewers can often talk intelligently on matters that the pre-television generations never dreamed of; and in the case of very young children, TV may contribute to a larger vocabulary, though it often has the opposite effect on older youths.
“But television is merely a means of communication. Whether it benefits you personally depends upon the type of programs that you watch. Many voices have been raised in protest at the poor quality of much TV programming. In the United States television has been criticized for “pandering to the lowest common denominator in public taste.” (Evra, 1997, 32)
Certainly, the power of television viewing has mainly affected the ways by which the young learners are able to increase their vocabularies as well as their knowledge about the major factors of the society as well as the major branches of education, especially when they are viewing educational programs. In these terms, the fact that television also brings about benefits to the society is indeed proven.
(B) The Disadvantages of Viewing TV
There are several factors of viewing that brings about negative effects to the human individuals. There are at least four major themes that characterize this particular impact. The said program themes in the television that brings about the disadvantages include (a) Sexual Immorality; (b) Corruption and Social Chaos or dishonesty; (c) fantasy and make believe; and (d) Violence (Anuradha, 1994, 24). These particular themes are usually the primary themes used by television programming that at some point attracts the larger amount of viewers form the public. Why is this so?
According to psychology experts, people who usually watch television are those who are having not much of things to do; those who are not preoccupied enough with their jobs that they are able to spend long hours of the day sitting in front of their televisions (coon, 1999, 26). They are the main targets of the producers of programs in the television.
Hence, to be able to gain much profit from them, these producers aim to tickle their interests through the utilization of the major themes that directly attract their attention (Anuradha, 1994, 54). Making believe is among the top themes used by producers in creating the programs that they present to the society. Movies and television series that are arranged in patterns of the fantasy themes have normally received much appreciation from public viewers (Scheuer, 1999).
As for a fact, movies such as Harry Potter, the Terminator, Lord of the Rings and other more programs following the same theme attracted much of the population in the society. They are among the movies, which are considered to become the blockbusters of the years when they were first shown to the public. True, the relaxation that the said movies bring to its viewers is indeed incomparable.
Psychologists again add that the need of people to rest from reality through believing in fantasy stories is indeed a defense mechanism of the society in facing the reality of life (Coon, 1999, 145). Watching movies that make them realize that they are powerful enough like “heroes” such as Spiderman and batman in facing their lives, effective and strategic in ways of facing their transgressions through the use of magic like Harry Potter; makes the human society feel like there are of no limits and that they are empowered in terms of fantasy to face the challenges that they meet everyday (Coon, 1999, 146).
However, not all the audiences that are able to access the said movies are mature enough to understand that what they are seeing is simply make believe. In fact, 70% of the viewers of these particular themes are young children from the ages two towards the ages six, who are known to believe whatever they see in the television. They are not that much capable of setting apart the truth from make-believe. Hence, upon seeing the programs that were mentioned above, they are disposed of to beliefs that they are able to become like that of the characters that they see on television. Children as young as they are have no limitations as to what they are supposed to or not believe in.
The trend of television toward the “new morality” is also a disheartening one. Startled viewers have seen shows that deal with homosexuality and lesbianism. Full frontal nudity has appeared on stations of the Public Broadcasting System. Comedy shows often feature off-color humor. And what about the “soap operas”? The pamphlet TV and the New Morality observes: “Daytime soap operas deal frankly with adultery and casually show unmarried couples in bed together.” (Awake! 1998, 23)
Again, the young audiences are not addressed fairly in this part of the program arrangement of the television showing. Form this particular picture; it could be observed that the moral disposition of the children is rather placed in such a confusing status. Hence, when they grow older, their understanding of what is right and what is wrong is then misarranged that they be subjected to confusion when they are already facing the actual situations in life when they are the ones who are already expected on what is right and what is not.
In terms of human relations, in bygone days when a person wished to learn of events or matters of local or world importance, he would have to get that information by direct communication with other people. Friends would gather at the village well or at the general store for an exchange of news and views. But with television, people may get the same information without bothering with their neighbors (Evra, 1997, 47).
If they are not careful, they can allow television to quash their incentive to communicate with others. One writer spoke of TV watchers as being “anonymous island-audiences, newly separated from one another.” (Awake! 1998, 24)Certainly, television programs at some point ruins the doubtless relationships of humans with each other. The used to be loyally disposed relationships between humans are being directly affected by the doubtful ideas presented in televisions.
Knowing both the advantages and the disadvantages brought about by television viewing, it should then occur to each individual that the importance of balancing television viewing with other activities away from it is an essential part in assisting the youths especially in their behavioral advancements towards adulthood that are actually directly affected by their practices in television viewing.
Television and Liquor Advertisements
WHAT is the aim of commercial advertising? Businesses say that their advertising provides a public service because it gives us information about their products. The International Advertising Association states: “To be properly informed the Consumer needs advertising. Informed choice is based on information. Advertising—in its broadest sense—is the vital conduit for that information between Producer and Consumer.” Of course, we all know that such advertising does more than merely inform—its job is to sell. It is not objective or neutral. Successful ads skillfully engage the mind of the consumer and motivate him to buy the product advertised.
Recently, advertisements using sexuality as a way of persuading consumers to buy adult beverages has been a trend in the advertising industry. Why is this so? As we know the advertising business is enticed with the goal of targeting a specific group of consumers to attract to buy their products. As to clearly explain, to be strategically sound, an ad is usually carefully directed to a certain audience, whether it be children, housewives, businesspeople, or some other group. The message is crafted to appeal to the most important concerns of that audience. Then the ad is run in the media that will most effectively reach them.
Before an ad is designed, a great deal of research goes into finding out about the group of people most likely to buy and use the product being advertised. Advertisers need to know who these people are, how they think and behave what they desire and dream of. Advertisers also consider informations about consumers such as who they are, where they live, what they buy and why. Knowing all these gives them the ammunition to write persuasive sales messages.
Their targets will respond to persuasion; they won’t respond to bluster, our self-interests, or rhetorical arrows shot randomly into the air. And as obvious as it is, the prospect consumers of hard liquor products or adult beverages, which are men had been successfully persuaded by such kind of advertisements using sexuality. In fact, these kinds of advertisements have already been socially accepted as years passed in the advertising industry.
The question is, is this kind of practice to be considered healthy? Could it be justified as to becoming socially accepted as a simple norm in the society? How should consumers react on this kind of persuasion? These questions and more shall be answered in the following paragraphs.
The Reality behind Advertisements using Sexuality
Ads are carefully crafted to appeal to the specific desires and values of the target audience. Perhaps an ad will appeal to the need to have fun, the hunger for security, or a yearning to be accepted by others. Maybe the ad will direct itself to a desire to impress others, to be clean, or to stand out as different. Indeed, advertisements could be in any form. It could be shown through music, visual materials such as posters, newspaper ads and the television, it could also be posted through the Internet.
In fact, these ads are usually accompanied by women who almost wore nothing holding the beverage on one hand and the other hand flirting with the man whom they are luring to have a drink with. Yes, this has become a common trend. Although all the advertisements showing sexual patterns of persuasion are most likely addressed to the grown-ups, it still couldn’t be denied that it is not only them who are able to have access to these advertisements.
As reality suggests, the advertisements specially shown in TV are not only viewed by adults but as well as young children. Of course the advertisers know that TV, as a medium of communication, has a profound effect. Their advertising conditions people mentally so that they will buy their products. Surely, the commercial leaders of the world are not so simple-minded as to throw away money if TV advertising has little or no effect. On the contrary, instead of buying, the innocent minds of children are more likely polluted with trash and lust, things that they should not even see.
Not only that, Internet today is mostly accessible to anybody who would like to learn anything. Yet, behind the aims of learning something new, many youths stumble to the sites showcasing commercial ads regarding beverages that has a strong spirit affecting the aggressiveness of anybody who drinks it. The worst thing it, the ads are more often then not, posting pornographic materials along with the product they sell.
Aside from this, teens that are able to watch these kinds of “short flicks” on sexuality are usually stimulated to do the same things they see. Unfortunately, many teenagers fail to see the real effects of these advertisements to them selves.
As a result, grave conclusions on the matter have been accepted by the society as parts of norms already. Things such as premarital sex, grave sexual assaults between teenagers and cases alike. Yes, the advertisements showcasing the sexuality as a social norm prove to be quite disturbing. Knowing this, how should we react as consumers towards the said advertisements?
As conscientious consumers, we should be aware enough of what we buy from what we watch and what we see. Basing from the thing we see, we should be prompted to protect the children and teenagers from becoming victims of the effects of advertisements posting lust to be such a luring and desirable act for anybody. Regarding the said issue, it is more considerable to accept banning commercials and advertisements showcasing sexuality as a medium of consumer-persuasion-strategy. Why is this so much agreeable about?
First, the effects of the said advertisements prove to be much overwhelming especially concerning the morality of many people specially youths worldwide. This fact should wake everybody up to face the reality that each of us has a responsibility to protect our society from being polluted by the many grave effects of the wide array of pornography which are usually seen in Adult beverage advertisements.
Second, everyone is liable of being a responsible citizen for the next genera tin following the footsteps of the older generation. Third, we all have a battle against exploitation. Why is this related? It is because many of the talents used in the posters and commercials for adult beverages are more likely underage, or if not, at times because of financial reasons, they are encouraged to pose for certain ads. Although there is an Advertising code for beverage commercials stating that women posing for the said commercials should be aged 25 and above, it is still more often that not being abused.
Yes, each person has his own reason for agreeing in making their society a better place to live in. One way of making it is cleaning the most influential power in the society which is the media. One of the key solutions to this problem is our respect for each other. As we could see, if people tend to respect each other’s right and think of other’s welfare other than just thinking of the profit to be gained, the morality of humanity could be closely watched and circumstances such as commercials involving sexuality could be fairly avoided.
“Advertising-How necessary?” (February 8,1988). Awake! Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Brooklyn, New York. 3-4.
Alcohol.gov. (2005). ALCOHOL BEVERAGES ADVERTISING CODE. www.alcohol.gov.au/advertising.pdf. (November 6, 2007).