To Advertising and Importation, Mork questions if advertising is "designed to help the inferior product gain more sales and displace the superior product through chicanery, clever word-play, and appeals to people's insecurities and need to feel they are part of social progress through the items they buy?"
There's certainly some truth in that, but this one thinks we can go a lot farther in our understanding of advertising than the traditional "intrusive ads are intrusive." Posit instead that advertising's selling of a product (or service, or lifestyle) is not actually about the product, but rather, is primarily designed to lure a person into a revenantic existence, employing false communication like aspartame to beguile the foolish. Consider the pre-advertising time; nitpick to the level of difference between "word of mouth between people whose grandparents knew and did business with each other" and "pictorial advertisement including people no one in the target audience knows personally," but no further.
Presume that in the mythical pre-advertising time, in order to achieve imagery-based communication, one had to interact with art or artistry in a direct way, e.g., original paintings, reviewing written work, storytellers, et cetera. The sensational rush of Being Conveyed To--of being made to feel something--was more striking and intimate than glancing from the kitchen into the living room and seeing a Chevy ascend a dusty slope, akin to the difference between swiving an attractive person you care about versus masturbating in the bus station bathroom at night. Same ends, different means. Except not, because the distinction between ends is as striking, if not more so, than the means. Eating a Big Mac versus eating an organic grass-fed local bison steak: both leave you full, but that's not an "end," because every meal stays with you, becomes part of you, affects the health of all your bodily systems in a tiny way, affects your palate, affects your mind, sculpts your memories and sense of self, in the same way that a sexual encounter and/or orgasm does, even if only in a very small way as part of an ongoing "means" to the "end" of your "life."
Advertising, then--like marrying or screwing a mannequin--can have an effect far more profound than merely selling products, or even selling a "lifestyle" or "cultural image." It can craft the mind to substitute the fake thing for the real thing, suggesting however subtly that there is an end which is distinct from a means; that there is a dead become rather than an infinite being, a far more powerful antilife message of cultural destruction than merely getting a bunch of loons to waste years pining away for Disneyland, then finally blowing $4400 on the trip and thinking it meant a hundredth part of a walk together to the local park. Yes, advertising breaks down community; yes, it substitutes false authority for real authority, and it encourages reliance on inhuman relationships, low-trust behavior, deathly uniformity, stagnation of innovation, the possibility of initiating cascading system failures from a single gateway source, the creation of false needs, the fostering of countless hatreds and divorces and suicides, the dumbing down of language and schooling and economic perceptions and actions and a billion other bad things, but, this is only the by-product of the initial assertion of pure advertising, which is that anything which would need to be advertised would ever be worth existing. We now advertise things which rather literally are worth existing, in a convolutedly ironic, but not ironically convoluted, way, such as waiting times at competing emergency rooms; this, though, is a by-product of the earlier sin, which may have been used by the parasitic vampires to begin the process of destroying a host population by means more cunning than inspiring more failed khans or jihads, but not merely to "sell products" or "get rich." Nor even to "produce mindless consumer zombies," because even those have to be capable of production and reproduction in order to produce net gains in GDP, and, systematically, advertising is such a brilliant horror that it could only have been built by minds vast and vile enough to foresee the weapon's self-defeating profitary purpose.
To what extent does advertising, by substituting signatures for handshakes, dildos for dicks, movies for children, more primally shape the individual's interaction with herself or himself? Even before the visual white noise of endless flash ads has jarred the mind, what is the foundational base of unwanted communication for your own good? Is it more like a spear in the chest, or more like a cryptically infected bundle in a basket amidst the reeds? More like a punch or a seduction? Does the general acceptance of the supplanting of cheap imagery for real imagery prove that we never really were alive in the first place?