Does Advertising Shape Culture or Does Culture Shape Advertising?

I think that both instances can occur where advertising can shape culture, and culture can shape advertising.  Advertising is a very powerful tool because more than likely it is going to have a huge impact on sales. When people see an advertisement that they like they may be persuaded to purchase that item because of the advertisement.

Children are a key factor when it comes to advertising shaping culture because marketers target children. When something becomes a big hit among children, almost every child has to have that item. Examples would be GameBoy, POGS, and Furbies. These examples are all out dated now, but I remember when parents where paying hundreds of dollars for Furbies. The advertising shaped the culture by persuading everyone to “have to have a Furby or Gameboy.”

Culture can shape advertising by marketers targeting specific people in a culture. This is called a target market. Marketers will aim their products towards a customer’s age, gender, where they live, etc. Coca-Cola for example alters contents such as sugar in their cola to satisfy the wants of the consumers in different cultures. Apple is another example; they use asian males in the PC vs. Mac instead of the American males we see. This makes the advertisement more targeted towards the asian population. Apple also does this for other countries as well.

Advertising can shape culture and culture can shape advertising. Culture is one of the main ingredients to advertising because without advertisers understanding the needs and wants of a certain culture then their product will most likely fail. On the other hand, advertising can also change a culture with the advances in technology and newer products.

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