Ads and Imperfections

Recently, my English class took the EAP test, in which we have to write an essay. Before we took the actual test, though, we wrote a practice essay in class. The prompt of that essay had to do with advertising that uses celebrity endorsement. It is proposed that such advertising is insulting towards audiences and should be boycotted.


However, what really stood out to me about this prompt was not whether or not I agree with the argument that was being made. It was the argument itself, or rather, the fact that the argument was made at all that stuck in my mind.

In my AP U.S. History class, we’ve been studying the 1920s and the Great Depression. The Roaring Twenties was when American city life started booming. The invention of the automobile helped the advertising business grow with new roadside advertisements. I remember watching a video in class that briefly showed images of old billboards.

HE Wagner Ford Billboard

When I was writing the EAP essay, all I could think about was how advertising is such a big business today. From magazines, to billboards, to television commercials, ads are simply everywhere. I wondered what the people who first started the advertising agencies would think about the situation today. The person who created the first billboard. What would he think if he knew that advertising today could create enough controversy to be used as an essay prompt?

In the 1920s, people probably saw billboards and advertisements as a blessing, a sign of growing business and prosperity. Now, ads have become the source of anger and indignation in many people.

I suppose this goes to show that time illuminates the flaws that are in every idea. Nothing is perfect, it might just take a while for people to realize what the problem is.


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