This is an interesting documentary on advertising and American culture. There is additional information on the website, so please check it out if you have the time. You can also watch the full show online, or watch the videos provided below. (Though I did noticed that the intro says it is 90-minuntes, but there is only about 60 minutes provided in the videos here.) - DG
Frontline | The Persuaders
What's going on in the world of today's marketers and advertisers? What are the new and surprising methods they're using to decipher who we are and what we want? And, where is this taking us?
From the Introduction:
Americans are swimming in a sea of messages.
Each year, legions of ad people, copywriters, market researchers, pollsters, consultants, and even linguists—most of whom work for one of six giant companies—spend billions of dollars and millions of man-hours trying to determine how to persuade consumers what to buy, whom to trust, and what to think. Increasingly, these techniques are migrating to the high-stakes arena of politics, shaping policy and influencing how Americans choose their leaders.
In "The Persuaders," FRONTLINE explores how the cultures of marketing and advertising have come to influence not only what Americans buy, but also how they view themselves and the world around them. The 90-minute documentary draws on a range of experts and observers of the advertising/marketing world, to examine how, in the words of one on-camera commentator, "the principal of democracy yields to the practice of demography," as highly customized messages are delivered to a smaller segment of the market.
Take the 2004 presidential sweepstakes for example. Both the Republicans and the Democrats were prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to custom craft their messages. "What politicians do is tailor their message to each demographic group," says Peter Swire, professor of law at Ohio State University and an expert on Internet policy. "That means…Americans will live in different virtual universes. What's wrong with living in different universes? You never confront the other side. You don't have to deal with the uncomfortable facts that go against your worldview….It hardens the partisanship that's been such a feature of recent American politics."
Read the rest of this introduction here.