Effects of Advertising on American Youth

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Effectsof Advertising on American Youth



Advertising occurs in various forms such as television, magazines,radio, and the Internet. Manufacturers exploit the needs andpreferences of certain audiences when creating advertisements. Hence,different methods can be used to appeal to the needs of a particulargroup. In many instances, advertisers target youths since the latterare quiet impressionable. It is easy for youths to be influenced topurse a particular product. Furthermore, youths comprise a greaterpercentage of the population. In this paper, I will argue thatadvertisements affect American youths by influencing their moralbehavior and purchasing decisions.

Advertisers can market certain products due to their high content ofnutrients. However, most of the media campaigns seem to focus onhigh-calorie foods (Sonneville et al, 2014). Items such as pizza andpotato fries typically appeal to youths. However, proximity to suchfoods would entice an individual to abandon healthy food choices.American youths have focused on unhealthy foods to appease theirpeers. Soft drinks and other unhealthy foods have been popular amongthe youths. Advertisers portray unhealthy foods as glamorous andfashionable (Sonneville et al, 2014). Therefore, American youths areinfluenced to discard salads in favor of fat-rich food items.

Furthermore, advertisers bombard television and radio audiences withplenty of information. Billboards, email campaigns, and social mediaare also used to air advertisements. In fact, networks such asTwitter and Facebook have ads at strategic locations within theirinterphases. Youths comprise the majority of television watchers andInternet users. Hence, it is quite inevitable that they would facetremendous pressure due to the promotion of consumerism. In thisrespect, American youths are forced to purchase an increasing numberof items. Consumerism causes people to accumulate wealth and otherforms of material possessions. Consequently, American youths continueto purchase multiple pairs of shoes and other auxiliary items.

Many advertisements feature popular persons such as movie stars,successful musicians, sportsmen, and political leaders. The use ofcelebrities motivates youths to emulate their favorite celebrities.Slim models can also be used to advertise clothes and fitnessequipment. “Women fitting the Western beauty ideal” are depictedas “slender, tall, curvaceous, and young” (Reichert &ampLambiase, 2013, p. 4). In this manner, American youths are trained toconsider certain body types as undesirable. In fact, some ladies havebeen diagnosed with bulimia and anorexia nervosa (Boyland &ampHalford, 2013). Eating disorders typically occur when youths try torefrain from consuming solid foods. Many girls endeavor toparticipate in modeling contests that glorify slender body shapes.Youths with considerable weight are either mocked or bullied inschool. Hence, American youths have become involved with exerciseprograms designed to ensure weight loss. Dissatisfaction withpersonal appearance also leads to cases of teen depression.

The latest fashion trends are usually depicted in glitzy magazinesand social media. Users are encouraged to adopt such trends whileimitating cultural icons. Advertisements tell people that they mustobtain the latest fashions to maintain their relevance. The constantchanges in the clothing industry force consumers to adopt newertrends often. American youths adorn provocative forms of clothingthat seem to be popular and desirable. Such apparels are alwaystight-fitting and revealing. In fact, such attitudes are clearly seen“in advertising, in live promotional activities, and inentertainment programming” (Reichert &amp Lambiase, 2013, p. 4).The proliferation of advanced technology also leads to themanufacture of gadgets with heightened capabilities. Smartphones,tablets, and computers are continually updated and released into theconsumer market. Advertising campaigns highlight the importance ofowing such devices to enjoy the latest technological revolutions.Consequently, advertising motivates youths to adopt a materialisticlifestyle that is centered on personal gratification.

In many instances, advertisements feature vices such as smoking anddrug abuse. Such acts may be viewed as pleasurable and appropriate(Duke et al., 2014). Music videos and films depict celebrities assuccessful businessmen while participating in illegal activities.However, many advertisements conceal the adverse effects associatedwith vices. American youths may fail to identify the risk of poorhealth outcomes. Hence, they could be tempted to develop smokinghabits. Some youths have become addicted to drugs such asmethamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, and heroin (Duke et al., 2014).In addition, other youths have been persuaded to transport or selldrugs on behalf of their masters. School suspensions and expulsionshave resulted from the peddling of drugs in learning institutions.Addicted youths also have poor grades since they have limited time tostudy and attend class. Parents struggle to raise their children dueto rebelliousness and disobedience. Therefore, American youths havesuffered negative consequences from the adoption of societal vices.

Advertisers capitalize on the intrigue concerning sex to appeal toyouths. During adolescence, many youths undergo tremendous bodychanges. Both males and females develop strong senses ofself-awareness and attraction towards one another. Youths are mostlikely to experiment with sex at an early age as their bodies becomemature. Many advertisements are designed to appeal to sexual desires.Some pornographic pictures and videos are usually camouflaged as adson social media. Sex is usually “used to attract the attention ofcertain audiences- those people who find sexual informationpleasurable and arousing” (Reichert &amp Lambiase, 2013, p. 3).Contemporary forms of entertainment also glorify sex and increase thepressure on youths. In fact, some youths are mocked by their peersfor being virgins. Boys and girls exchange flirtatious messages whilesexual predators stalk unsuspecting youths. American youths havesuffered various consequences for engaging in premarital sex. Forexample, some girls have been forced to drop out of schools due tounplanned pregnancies. Sexually transmitted infections abound in bothmales and females. Sadness and loss of self-esteem have also plaguedAmerican youths. “Network promos or movie trailers can sprinkle inquick cuts of passionate kisses and erotic encounters” to enticethe audience ((Reichert &amp Lambiase, 2013, p. 3). Consequently,advertising has encouraged the adoption of harmful sexual behaviors.

Indeed, advertising has a direct influence on the purchasingdecisions and moral behavior of American youths. Advertiserscustomarily use television, radio, and newspapers to market variousproducts and services. The Internet has emerged as a primary methodof advertising due to its wide availability. Social media sites suchas Twitter and Facebook have been preferred due to the high number ofusers. Youths comprise the majority of the audience sought byadvertisers. Marketing campaigns have motivated American youths topurchase unhealthy food items such as pizzas, potato fries, andcarbonated drinks. The use of celebrities and slim models has alsohad a considerable impact on fashion choices. In particular, eatingdisorders such as anorexia and bulimia have emerged among women asthey seek to emulate slender models. Provocative forms of clothingappeal to many youths. School-going teenagers with large bodies areusually mocked and bullied. Many youths have been influenced topurchase more items than they could possibly use. Moreover,advertising campaigns have encouraged the adoption of vices such assmoking and drug abuse. Music videos and movies portray such acts asenjoyable and hence motivate youths to develop bad habits. Americanyouths have also been emboldened to experiment with sex due to mediaportrayals. Consequently, advertising continues to mold the thinking,attitudes, and behavior of many youths.


Boyland, E. J., &amp Halford, J. C. (2013). Television advertisingand branding: Effects on eating behavior and food preferences inchildren. Appetite, 62, 236-241.

Duke, J. C., Lee, Y. O., Kim, A. E., Watson, K. A., Arnold, K. Y.,Nonnemaker, J. M., &amp Porter, L. (2014). Exposure to electroniccigarette television advertisements among youth and young adults.Pediatrics, 134(1), e29-e36.

Reichert, T., &amp Lambiase, J. (2013). Sex in consumer culture:The erotic content of media and marketing. New York, NY:Routledge.

Sonneville, K. R., Long, M. W., Ward, Z. J., Resch, S. C., Wang, Y.C., Pomeranz, J. L., … &amp Gortmaker, S. L. (2015). BMI andhealthcare cost impact of eliminating tax subsidy for advertisingunhealthy food to youth. American journal of preventive medicine,49(1), 124-134.