Monday, November 29, 2010

Warning: Design Content!

Design is quite dangerous, especially in the hands of the wrong people. Mass society has been led astray into chaos, in large part due to actions and creations in the general realm of design. As America emerges from the brinks of economic meltdown, it is clear that design (choices, branding and imaging), and the subsequent implied status statements, have proven confusing and detrimental to mass America. As irresponsible design continues to run amuck, the obvious (yet controversial and tricky) solution is to legislatively remove marketing from American culture and media. Advertisement has more negative effects than good in almost any context, and has been especially egregious in the past years. Consider the following examples:

2007, 2008, and 2009 radio commercials barraging the airwaves claiming listeners are crazy not to refinance their house to an A.R.M. with criminally low initial interest rates which locked into much higher rates at the end of the adjustable period.

A Jack In The Box commercial where upon returning from shopping and hearing that Jack In The Box has a $3.99 value meal, Jack’s wife says “I get it, it’s cheaper to eat at your place than at home.”

"Does Jack in the Box Server the Most Unhealthy Burger" article from LA Times

All of the technology advertisements, like those for cable, iPods, cell phones, and movies, products and services which constitute over 5% of the American consumer unit’s earnings.

Slick graphics and a great price make this gadget hart to pass up at

The financial costs of this madness is staggering, and nearly collapsed our economy when strings were pulled and sham markets supported by false advertising and greedy, conspicuous spending unraveled. When the numbers are added up, over 35% of the American income is spent directly or indirectly in heavily advertised markets, like cars, healthcare (much more than any other industrialized nation because of our cheap ingredients and morbid obesity), and techno-tainment. If you add in housing and the fact that millions of guppies swallowed baiting advertisements and over-financed to live greedy dreams, the number is 70%. The average household doesn’t have enough wiggle room in the budget to be led astray by overwhelming misleading advertisements.

I’d like to think that it shouldn’t be the place of government to completely control advertising, but as the collective gluttonous stupidity of capitalism is threatening to destroy the world, strong action must be taken. By legally banning advertisements, companies must rely upon word-of-mouth recommendation for success, helping ensure the triumph of smart, responsible business and the failure of the rest. It would also force the consumer, who is inherently lazy, to work to be stupid with his money, instead of have opportunities to squander it thrust upon him.

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