There is a common belief that the media has more power over its audience, however the
overarching question is about the ways in which it has influenced the public’s mind. The
outreach of media through television and sports along with social communication platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. enables them to portray images that manipulate people in the day to day choices they make. According to an article in New York Times, American adults on an average watch five hours and four minutes of television each day (Koblin, 2016) thus implying the ease with which advertisements on television can influence viewers’ choice. Media is used as a tool to increase product sales and to promote political parties to attain more support in the election campaigns.
Media uses false claims and photoshopped images in their advertisements to trap the
audience. According to Danciu, companies use media to promote their products, portraying false information while hiding some details to mislead the public (2014). Giving false hope to people and making them believe in winning a lottery, losing weight or improving personal appearance are traps that provokes the audience into feeling deprived of the product and spending money helping the companies to successfully achieve their target. “Products like diet pill or exercise equipment sold through commercials or TV often promise an amazing result, and so persuade through sponsoring hopes and visions of happiness” (Danciu, 2014, p.20). This suggests the use of emotive persuasion to attract the audience. Apart from these tactics, media uses sports and video games to target both adults and children. Companies use sports celebrities as brand ambassadors to promote their products to attract their fans base. An example can be of Roger Federer who is the brand ambassador for Rolex, advising his fans to purchase Rolex watches. Food companies provide sponsorship to athletes in exchange for their product logo on their T-shirts such as Pakistan cricket team have Pepsi and Lays logo printed on their shirts. This enables
the vast fan following to consume the product and increasing the market for the food companies. Furthermore, unhealthy food products are promoted amongst the children via video games for example in Uncharted 3 Subway is being promoted. It is suggested that promotion of unhealthy products via video games increased usage of unhealthy snacks amongst the children (Bragg, Roberto, Harris, Brownell, Elbel, 2018). According to Adorno, with such advertisement tactics, media is unconsciously controlling people’s choices and providing them with a limited range of choices to choose from while keeping them under the misconception that they are in command of their choices (as cited in Gaunlett, 2010).
Not only media is being used to attract more customers towards a product, but also is
used in the election campaigns to gain more support from the public. According to Chomsky, false information and “irrational choices” are not only the characteristics of automobile and soap advertisements but also of election campaigns for candidates (2017). This depicts how social media is used as a tool to attract more attraction of people. The fact that social media popularity plays a key role in influencing people can also be seen from the example of Donald Trump who was very famous on social media and so he became the president with the least amount spent on campaigns (What Trump and Hilary Spent vs Every General Election Candidate since 1960, 2016). It is suggested that political leaders promote their election campaigns through live interviews, social media posts and flyers to promote their party and gain public support.
According to Doyle, Barrack Obama used social media as a platform to raise more money for his election campaigns and get more votes for his political party which highlights the strength of social media to influence the public (Vonderschmit, 2012). Politicians make promises in their advertisements about the better future of the country. Such tactics are just a tool to provide false hope to the public and lure them to vote for their party implying how media can influence and dominate their decisions.
From politics to the food industry – advertisement is heavily used as a tool to exploit viewers’ choices thus depicting the massive strength of media and the controllers of media such as government and corporations over the people. Advertisement is a strong force in deriving viewers decision and this tool would continue to be used to influence the people. To conclude, people should remove their misconception that they control their own choices, but the truth is media is shaping all their daily life choices from the food they eat to how much they exercise to where they go for vacations.