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The Ad and the Ego Students will never look at an ad the same way again after screening The Ad and the Ego the first comprehensive examination of advertising and our culture of consumption The film artfully intercuts clips from hundreds of familiar television ads with insights from Stuart Ewen Jean Kilbourne Richard Pollay Sut Jhally Bernard McGrane and other noted critics performing a cultural psychoanalysis of late 20th century America and its principal inhabitants Consumer Man and Woman The Ad and the Ego depicts how the market economy has metastasized until today commercialism invades the most intimate aspects of our lives The average American is exposed to 1500 ads a day But like the air we breathe we pay advertising little attention preferring to believe were impervious to it Scholars point out that advertisings constant stream of messages forms the neural network of a consumer society integrating individual psychology mass culture and commodity production As the film progresses we begin to perceive how ads for Nike Calvin Klein Oil of Olay and Suzuki are selling more than products As Jean Kilbourne argues they sell us values concepts of love and sexuality romance and success a sense of identity above all what is normal Leading media critics demonstrate how living in an advertisement infused environment creates a psychology of need massaging our anxieties doubts and discontents creating a boundless hunger for more things One message youll never hear in an ad sociologist Bernard McGrane observes is Youre OK The Ad and the Ego traces advertisings development from its largely descriptive 19th century origins through todays ads which eschew rational arguments for symbols and imagery playing directly to our emotions Sut Jhally describes ads as the dream life of our culture and explains the persuasive techniques they use to invest commodities with powerful properties magically able to transform the mundane lives of their purchasers The Ad and the Ego
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