I have seen it argued that advertising is nothing more than propaganda by big, evil companies to control the buying habits of their unsuspecting customers. The entire marketing industry, it is said, is a zillion dollar exercise in consumer enslavement.
Let’s conduct a little thought experiment. Say you are walking down the cereal aisle and are confronted with a long row of gray box after gray box with dark blue letters stating the type of cereal held within. Pretty hard to find those Fruit Loops, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you like the manufacturers to make it a little easier to find? Of course the manufacturers would like to save the money needed to brighten up their offerings, but they need to try and stand out. So, who’s in control here, Big Cereal or you? If they don’t advertise, they lose.
In fact, the canned goods aisle, the salted snack aisle, and the personal products aisle pose the same challenge to manufacturers. All of the aisles do. To attract your attention they have to tell their story – they have to advertise. They lose, you win.