I don’t watch much commercial TV, so the ad I saw may be old to most of you. The TV commercial showed a group of men having lunch at a diner, one of whom is complaining about taxes. His companions are obviously uncomfortable with the talk, and a couple in the booth behind the man looked over at him in fear as they quickly leave the booth.
His friends tell him:
“Do you want them to ruin your life?”
“They can do that you know.”
At the end of the commercial the words:
Freedom. Appreciate it. Cherish it. Protect it.
The ad was sponsored by the Ad Council — the consortium of US advertisers that perform voluntary ad campaigns.
At first, I was pleased by the ad, thinking that here is a mainstream organization warning Americans what’s at risk if they continue to give up freedoms in the name of ‘safety’. That was before I explored the Freedom campaign at the Ad Council web site.
According to the Council web page:
Developed following the tragedies of September 11th, the Ad Council’s Campaign for Freedom is an unprecedented volunteer effort from the advertising industry. The initiative is designed to assist Americans during the war on terrorism through the development of timely and relevant PSAs. This first round of PSAs has been created to celebrate our nation’s freedom and remind Americans about the importance of freedom and the need to protect it for future generations. According to research, Americans are looking for messages that will inform, involve and inspire them during the war on terrorism. (emphasis added) This inspirational campaign is advertising’s gift to America. All of the ads conclude with the powerful tagline, “Freedom. Appreciate it. Cherish it. Protect it.”
I watched the TV commercials (all available at the web site) as a man is arrested for delivering newspapers, another for asking for forbidden books in a library, and church members attending services secretly. All the ads are intended to ‘inform’ the American public about what will happen if we don’t continue to support the war on Terror. All horrifyingly demonstrating the reality of what is happening to this country because of the war on terror.
The whole art consists of doing this so skillfully that everyone will be convinced that the fact is real, the process necessary, the necessity correct, etc. But since propaganda is not and cannot be the necessity in itself, since its function,
like the poster, consists in attracting the attention of the crowd, and not in educating those who are already educated or who are striving after education and knowledge, its effect for the most part must be aimed at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect.
Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf