I had a conversation with one of my son’s one day about advertising. He asserted that the escalation of advertising we are witnessing will one day be seen as a “bubble,” not unlike the housing bubble. It would continue to expand for a few more years, and then would burst. We would look back on that collapse much as we do the housing bubble now.
I do know what he means, but I can’t say I accept it with equal equanimity.
If there is key tenet of our modern religion, capitalism, it is that advertising is what makes everything tick.
I am old enough to remember Burma Shave signs along the highway, little red signs, that went by pretty fast and were sometimes funny. Now, in the glorious twenty-first century, we’re watching one show and an ad blips up demanding our attention to an ad for another show. I’ve even seen where it’s advertising the very show I’m watching. And the show itself is more of a series of advertisements than a show. Surely my son is right. Surely this is a form of heat death, of entropy, as advertising turns in on itself.
I bet against him though. Advertising is too close to the heart of the “free market economy,” to be left by the wayside. It only flows in one direction: Always more.
Capitalism is running a fever. It’s death has been “greatly exaggerated” many times, but it is surely running a fever.