By: Joan E. Battey

The best place to hide things is often to blend them in somewhere they won't look out-of-place. How many of our societal changes were adeptly blended into everyday life, and didn't stand out as wrong turns on the road to the future?

Does news mirror trends,  or create acceptance of changes? Does luxury mirror trends or inspire a feeling of being deprived of things others  have? Does fame and fortune follow trends, or does it inspire the trends that follow? Do we notice wrong turns in time to reverse them?

Out of many examples of  wave-like unwise shifts in focus over time is the current demand for schools to ban consumption of  heavily  advertised soft drinks.  The intensity of consumption resulted over time as a result of cleverly-devised competitive advertising of the wonders of those long-heavily advertised beverages. Their appeal was based on ways that made consumers feel a part of the movers and shakers among society.  The same has gone on with all competitive consumer oriented food products and leisure time activates for decades now.

Constant methods and means of advertising are entered into in order to carry on the quest for market share and profits.  Focusing still on the trail of prominent snacks and beverage advertising wars, schools are now being urged, from the highest levels of influence in the country, to BAN soft drinks from schools.

Wait! Remember when advertising competitions involved first installing soft-drink dispensing machines in schools, with efforts to have one beverage dominant in access to students?  Going further, remember when schools and, in particular, sports teams, needed extra money to support greatly expanded need for money for extra curricular activities?  Remember the advertising space sold to commercial products, to help underwrite expenses?  Competition among products for sole access to being in the view of spectators at games and events?

Fast-forward to today.  Agendas for healthful eating and snacking, to replace the long trail of encouraging the snacking! !,  This is the turnaround of the advertising trail that supposedly has had dire effects on students and others. Reversing is not as altruistic as it seems. It's a shift to suit new sales of new products to suit new aims and interests -- using captive audiences, as all previous aims and interests have done along the way to here.

Americans have become attuned to the idea that the latest market dominance or agenda dominance has been created just to help them in whatever way the latest terminology describes it.  "Instant" was helpful in shifting grocery sales from things to mix and concoct, to things that only needed to have water added, or to be zapped in the handy new time-saving microwave. We've gone the route from ice cream cones or soft drinks at drug store "fountains." We had drive-up windows for snacks, for fast food leisure days, then for take-outs home-delivered.

We had banks for savings, home loans, and minor investments.  We added fast drive-ups to save going inside.  Then came the wonders of ATM's.  Staffs shrank, crimes increased, and now we have fees added to compensate financial institutions for having  fewer people inside to accommodate your wanting to risk getting mugged on the street, to cash checks faster. Fees are charged for adding to their work of checking what you did with your money and in relying on the handy cards they talked you into using instead of cash at businesses where you bought things.

Where did you get the idea to cause banks extra work and expense with ATMs? Why do you cause stores to add swipe machines to give them records of where to get the money you authorize them to get from your bank account?

Advertising !!  Advertising !!  Advertising  !!  You couldn't have come up with the creation of such ways of doing business, in order to get the products you didn't realize you needed until you saw them advertised. Bad, bad customer causing extra expenses to accommodate your not wanting to carry cash or write checks???

It's all your fault.  "Caveat Emptor" -- Let the buyer beware.  Clever how so many people forgot that, in large enough numbers to succeed in changing the face of merchandising, saving, living within one's means, and going into debt for the good life.

All this was taking place at the same time that businesses of all kinds were buying into the idea that the bottom line would greatly expand if the work  of the corporations could go overseas.  With smart, swift shifts in advertising, it created the aura of good times and prosperity long enough to get most of the country's employment rugs pulled pretty well out from under both workforces and a consumer audience focused on moving up the scale of lifestyles. Small print warnings were scattered in amongst the space left over for real news after all the good times fun, games and travel focus of news and views .  They were overlooked in the oversized ads for everything  under the sun -- except for the dwindling numbers of items made in the U.S.A.

How did we get here?  Steered by faster and faster late-breaking news, fantastic new fun things, and... political agendas? All heavily advertised to specially targeted consumers.  If you think that's not how games are played, check the Aug.24th  USA Today article on how many fake Twitter accounts are loading up opinions on both sides of issues and candidates and topics. Read far enough to see that it's the sales tactic, not just who employs it. The manipulators work both sides of all streets in order to manipulate "consumers" via latest manipulative advertising techniques. The same for products, agendas, politics, belief systems.  We've been tweaked into thinking we actually think for ourselves.

Tweaking is done via the use of advertising methods,and outlets -- and money to dominate marketplaces of all kinds.         

"Published originally at : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Joan E. Battey is a freelance political writer from Apalachin, NY. Her love of logical dot connecting and writing developed over many years of  typesetting and proof reading in small daily newspapers; ad agency and manufacturing office secretarial work, and volunteer work in libraries, animal welfare, political campaigns, and networks of people keeping abreast of the steady "reforms" in education. She is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Joan E. Battey can be reached at:

Published in the September 6, 2012 issue of  Ether Zone.
Copyright 1997 - 2012 Ether Zone.

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