with people who can influence me, lead me to change my view,
and reorganize my understanding of the world?)
If a society's civic leaders and the people who elect them want
a public policy to help make commercial activity serve human
values and democratic institutions, then it will have to reconcile
the absence of clear answers to how and by how much symbols
"work" with the need to act in the world. Political choices in this
realm, as in others, depend on values and priorities that social
science can usefully inform but will not now, or ever, be able to
Jube Shiver Jr., "Firms Split on Value of Bowl Ads," Los Angeles Times, Jan. 18, 1985, sec. IV, p. 1; and Ronald Alsop, "Study of Olympics Ads Casts
Doubts on Value of Campaigns," Wall Street Journal, Dec. 6, 1984, p. 33.
T. J. Jackson Lears, review of Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion, Wilson Quarterly 9 ( Spring 1985):42-43.
See Michael Jacobson,
George Hacker, and
Robert Atkins, The Booze
Merchants: The Inebriating of America ( Washington, D.C.: Center for Science
in the Public Interest, 1983) for documentation of the industry's efforts to target
new drinkers. Data on population and sales trends comes from U. S. Bureau of
the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States 1985, 105th ed., ( Washington, D.C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1984).
4. The empirical evidence that exposure to advertising influences drinking
behavior among teenagers comes from the studies of Charles Atkin and his
colleagues. See, for instance, Charles Atkin,
John Hocking, and
Martin Block, "Teenage Drinking: Does Advertising Make a Difference?" Journal of Communication 34 ( Spring 1984): 157-167. Atkin, et. al. find that high exposure to advertising (as self-reported by high school students in a survey) is significantly related
to high alcohol consumption (also self-reported) for beer and liquor but not for
wine. Advertising exposure appears more closely associated with liquor drinking than is peer influence, but peer influence is more strongly associated with
beer drinking than advertising exposure. These differences are interesting and
suggest, again, how hard it is to come to across-the-board conclusions about the
influence of advertising on consumption. Atkin and his colleagues make a good
argument that the causal relationship in their correlations runs from advertising
to consumption--that advertising encourages consumption rather than frequent
drinking behavior leading to greater exposure to advertising. I suspect, however,
that frequent drinkers remember alcohol ads they see more readily than nondrinkers or occasional drinkers--if I am right, this could confound the Atkin
The legal argument that children or youths should be treated as a special
group is summarized in FTC Staff Report on Television Advertising to Children
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Advertising, the Uneasy Persuasion:Its Dubious Impact on American Society.
Contributors: Michael Schudson - Author.
Publisher: Basic Books.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 1984.
Page number: xxiii.
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