Chapter

The Mask of Intimacy: Advertising and the Quality of Life<sup>1</sup>

Avner Offer

in The Challenge of Affluence

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216628
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191696015 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216628.003.0006

Series: The Challenge of Affluence

The Mask of Intimacy: Advertising and the Quality of Life1

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This chapter demonstrates how advertising balances its dependence on expectations of honesty with the temptation to deceive. Consumer choice is not entirely autonomous or authentic, due to the influence of marketing and advertising. Advertisers are less truthful than even they would like to be, because it is difficult to police transgressors, who ride on the others’ credibility. Market transactions, even when they benefit both sides, are adversarial and potentially stressful, and advertising attempts to win trust with a simulation of intimacy. By saturating the public domain with false sincerity, advertising makes genuine sincerity more difficult. Trust is emotionally reassuring, from the household up to the state. When effective, it is remarkably efficient, by saving the cost of monitoring. Governments have regulated advertising in the interests of market efficiency and the quality of life. However, politics has also embraced marketing technique.

Keywords: advertising; marketing; honesty; regulation; intimacy

Chapter.  13946 words.  Illustrated.

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