You can tell the ideas of a nation by its advertisements.
In order to determine whether advertisements reflect a nations ideas, it is necessary to determine whether advertisements present real ideas at all, and, if so, whose ideas they actually reflect. On both counts, it appears that advertisements fail to accurately mirror a nations ideas.
Indisputably, advertisements inform us as to a nations values, attitudes, and prioritieswhat activities are worthwhile, what the future holds, and what is fashionable and attractive. For instance, a proliferation of ads for sport-utility vehicles reflects a societal concern more for safety and machismo than for energy conservation and frugality, while a plethora of ads for inexpensive on-line brokerage services reflects an optimistic and perhaps irrationally exuberant economic outlook. However, a mere picture of a social more, outlook, or fashion is not an ideait does not answer questions such as why and how?
Admittedly, public-interest advertisements do present ideas held by particular segments of societyfor example, those of environmental and other public-health interest groups. However, these ads constitute a negligible percentage of all advertisements, and they do not necessarily reflect the majoritys view. Consequently, to assert that advertisements reflect a nations ideas distorts reality. In truth, they mirror only the business and product ideas of companies whose goods and services are advertised and the creative ideas of advertising firms. Moreover, advertisements look very much the same in all countries. Western and Eastern alike. Does this suggest that all nations have essentially identical ideas? Certainly not.