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Advertising is everywhere – and greens need to take it seriously

This piece by Guy Shrubsole was originally published on Green Alliance’s Greener Living Blog.

What did you watch over Christmas? Sky’s new production of Treasure Island? A catch-up of season two of The Killing? Or… lots of adverts?

Whatever you watched, it’s very likely that you got treated to a high volume of advertisements. The average Briton is exposed to 250 TV commercials every week[1], and that’s just broadcast ads. Environmental campaigners and behaviour-change analysts rightly focus much of their attention on influencing editorial agendas – getting a cause into the news or ensuring a documentary about an issue is accurate. But to keep on ignoring the commercial advertising that surrounds such editorial agendas (and thanks to product placement, increasingly pervades them) would be a big mistake.

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Advertisers and activists respond to Think Of Me As Evil?

A round-up of various responses to our report from advertisers and activists – some enthusiastic endorsements, some, er, less so…

Seminar on advertising by PIRC’s Guy Shrubsole

Date: 10 November 2011

Time: 6pm

RSVP to: harriet@1010uk.org

Guy Shrubsole is Director of Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC), an independent charity whose work is aimed towards building a sustainable society. He helped coordinate PIRC’s Offshore Valuation report (2010) and his research on policies for 10:10 inspired the Lighter Later campaign. He previously worked for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and New Zealand’s Ministry of Agriculture.

Guy will talk about PIRC’s latest report, produced jointly with WWF, Think Of Me As Evil? Opening the ethical debates in advertising

Advertising is everywhere. It pervades the media, the internet, and our public spaces. But despite its invasiveness, strikingly few question its effects on our consumption, our freedom of choice, or our cultural values.

Guy will discuss evidence that advertising may increase overall consumption, promote values that are socially and environmentally damaging, manipulate individuals on a subconscious level, and has become so pervasive in modern society as to make the choice of opting-out from exposure virtually impossible.

“The truth is that marketing raises enormous ethical questions every day—at least it does if you’re doing it right…”

– Rory Sutherland, former President of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)