Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel

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Simon and Schuster, Nov 2, 2000 - Business & Economics - 366 pages
Many advertisements these days make us feel as if we have an intimate, even passionate relationship with a product. But as Jean Kilbourne points out in this fascinating and shocking exposť, the dreamlike promise of advertising always leaves us hungry for more. We can never be satisfied, because the products we love cannot love us back.

“When was the last time you felt this comfortable in a relationship?” —An ad for sneakers

“You can love it without getting your heart broken.” —An ad for a car

“Until I find a real man, I'll settle for a real smoke.” —A woman in a cigarette ad

Many advertisements these days make us feel as if we have an intimate, even passionate relationship with a product. But as Jean Kilbourne points out in this fascinating and shocking exposť, the dreamlike promise of advertising always leaves us hungry for more. We can never be satisfied, because the products we love cannot love us back.

Drawing upon her knowledge of psychology, media, and women's issues, Kilbourne offers nothing less than a new understanding of a ubiquitous phenomenon in our culture. The average American is exposed to over 3,000 advertisements a day and watches three years' worth of television ads over the course of a lifetime. Kilbourne paints a gripping portrait of how this barrage of advertising drastically affects young people, especially girls, by offering false promises of rebellion, connection, and control. She also offers a surprising analysis of the way advertising creates and then feeds an addictive mentality that often continues throughout adulthood.
 

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We can’t set foot out of the house without exposure to advertising, even if we don’t watch TV, use the Internet, or read fashion magazines. Advertising is everywhere, from billboards and posters to clothing to shop windows. It is an inconvenient truth that we are indeed affected by advertising and commercialism, even if we don’t believe it.
This book is as much a psychology book as a sociology book. Using examples, statistics, interviews, and her own life experience, Kilbourne covers the connections between advertising and addiction. Ads talk directly to addicts in an attempt to make the addiction look like normal and accepted behavior. She addresses how we reach for material things in a futile attempt to find comfort. In an over-consumerist society that is destroying the planet, advertising encourages us to consume more and more and to replace interconnectedness, relations, and communication with material things. A car doesn’t argue with you, so it’s easier to buy a car than to communicate with people.
Can’t Buy My Love is a very important book for all Americans to read, so that they will be able to see advertising with a critical and conscious eye and not be fooled. It will also enable Americans to protect their children from the conditioning that advertisers, including those of the tobacco and alcohol industries, consciously attempt.
 

Review: Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel

User Review  - Catherine- Isb - Goodreads

Can't Buy My love was a great learning experience for me. I had never truly analyzed how advertisements affect many people in the world. Also I never noticed how advertisements are made specifically ... Read full review

Contents

A GIRL OF MANY PARTS 1
17
BUY THIS 24YEAROLD AND
33
IN YOUR FACE ALL OVER THE PLACE
57
BATH TISSUE IS LIKE MARRIAGE
76
CAN AN ENGINE PUMP
95
PLEASE PLEASE YOURE DRIVING ME WILD 1 08
108
THE MORE YOU SUBTRACT
128
FORGET THE RULES ENJOY THE WINE 1 55
155
WHAT YOURE LOOKING FOR 1 80
180
THE DREAM BEGINS AS SOON AS
217
GRANDE PASSION 2 34
234
YOU TALKIN TO ME?
251
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About the author (2000)

Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D, is internationally recognized for her pioneering work on alcohol and tobacco advertising and the image of women in advertising. A widely published writer and speaker who has twice been named Lecturer of the Year by the National Association for Campus Activities, she is best known for her award-winning documentaries, Killing Us Softly, Slim Hopes, and Pack of Lies. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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