Written for The Activists and can be found here. (They have also published the two other articles I wrote for them, which they titled "The Capitalist Media Manipulates Information to Serve the Interests of the Ruling Elites" and "The Revolution Will Come When Parents and Children Learn That There is More to Life Than Blind Consumerism". I titled them "Enter the Media" and "The Revolution".)

Every second of every hour of every day, we are bombarded by advertisements. We cannot click on a link without seeing advertisements for cheap loans; we cannot watch television without adverts telling us about the wonders of this shampoo or that drain cleaner - even our films and TV shows sneak in product placement! Listening to the radio, it sometimes seem as if there are more advertisements than there is music; it is increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the two. Newspapers and magazines are bulked out with adverts, and a worrying number look like genuine articles - of course, some magazines are basically nothing more than advertising machines, with no other purpose than to encourage people to spend their money on trifles. Even when we step outside the home, we're surrounded by billboards imploring us to buy things; on the open road, there are adverts advertising space to put adverts.

If all of these adverts were replaced by political messages, you can be sure that people everywhere would decry it as brainwashing. Yet when corporations do it it's normal, acceptable, even worthy. Our culture is saturated with advertisements and product placement - it is nothing more than a message from businesses to the people telling us that we are nothing unless we consume recklessly, relentlessly, destroying our planet, destroying others, ultimately destroying ourselves. It keeps the people in the dark; after a long, hard day of trying to find themselves through buying yet more useless, expensive wastes of space, they don't have time to question governments or the corporate system which gives them their cheap consumerist thrills. Neither do they have the inclination to - after all, without the system, how would they get their fancy gadgets and their fashionable clothes?

We cannot simply try to ignore advertisements: there are so many of them that somewhere, sometime, we will end up paying attention to them and falling for the lies of big business. We cannot hope to change things before weakening the voice of those who would drown us out and fill people's heads with their lies - in other words, we must cut back on advertisements wherever and however possible, if that is what it takes to level the playing field and fight the champions of the status quo fairly.