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Part of the Culture. Advertising, like television, mirrors American culture, but also creates it. It is a very powerful force. Television advertising is the most forceful, but clever advertisers have found dozens of other ways to make an “imprint” on the mind of the consumer. Today, Internet advertising is making a lot of news. Advertising, especially in the television age, and now in the Internet age, has always generated controversy.

A Huge Business. The advertising industry is still called “Madison Avenue,” because nearly all the major advertising agencies at one time had offices on this New York City street (though most by now have moved to cheaper quarters farther downtown). Billions of dollars are at stake in television advertising. Americans have such a wide choice in what they buy, and they are bombarded with so many advertising images, that they pose a formidable challenge to the advertiser who wants to reach them. The major agencies work ceaselessly to develop new advertising techniques to get the public’s attention. An evening of watching network television will expose you to many creative advertising masterpieces.

Scientific Marketing. Advertisers and scientific marketers in the United States have carefully divided their markets into “segments” they can zero in on: teenagers, women over 40, young men, blacks, Hispanics, the gay market, the elderly, cat owners, dog owners, cat and dog owners even people who think they are immune to advertising (no one is immune). In America, advertising is inescapable.

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