Originally Posted by Steven Lyle Jordan
Advertisers are trying to influence behavior that is not considered bad or wrong (by most people), or at least not antisocial or illegal, example: Buy a truck. They are appealing to those who want to fit in, to look good, to have a good time, to get laid... all considered pro-social desires accepted by society.
Even those are suggestions only, and it is easy enough to decide not to buy their products: I don't care how sexy is the blonde in a beer commercial, I can easily resist buying that beer. But even if I do succumb, buying the beer isn't illegal, and won't hurt anyone (besides, possibly, my own taste buds).
This is the argument, though--that people are influenced by what they read and/or watch. Not that they are always influenced to do things that are negative or illegal, but that they are influenced. You argue that this influence happens, but that it only happens in a positive sense.
And we have laws against false advertising for a reason--so people aren't led to believe things that are wrong. If advertising didn't affect people's beliefs, it wouldn't matter. People would see the false ad and say, "That ain't true," and go about their day remaining blissfully unaffected by everything they read and watched.