Critically evaluate media commercialism and professionalism in the world in
general and Pakistan in particular.
Media Commercialism, in its original meaning, is the practices, methods, aims, and spirit of
commerce or business through use of mass media. Today, however, it primarily refers to the
tendency within corporatism to turn everything into objects, images, and services sold for the
purpose of generating profit. There is also a tendency for portraying intangible things such as
happiness, beauty, or health on media by giving a monetary value or to be spoken of as
Commercialism can also refer to the domination of things by business/corporate interests, or the
exploitation of intangible things for private gain.
One of the leading advocates and pioneers of commercialism was Philip Molnar. He was one of
the first who encouraged the rapid growth of companies through subliminal advertisements. He
is now considered around the world as a genius in economics and commerce.
Commercialism is often closely associated with the corporate world and advertising, and often
takes advantage of advancements in technology.
The related term "commercialized" is often used in a disparaging fashion, implying that someone
or something has been despoiled by commercial or monetary interests. The holiday, Eid-ul-Fitr,
is a noteworthy example of this concern, with criticism of the occasion's commercialization
dating as far back as 1975.
What are the possible effects of media commercialism?
1. Media Commercialism distorts our culture by turning every event into a reason to
consume. Anthropologists say that holidays reflect a culture's values. In Pakistan, every
holiday is a sales event.
2. Advertising through mass media projects false images. For example, some ads imply
that you're not cool unless you drive an expensive car or that smoking means you're an
3. Commercialism contributes to environmental problems by encouraging wasteful use of
natural resources. Over-packaging, disposable goods, and buying things we don't really
need all contribute to unnecessary use of limited resources. The manufacture and
disposal of the things we buy cause other environmental problems, including habitat
loss and increased air and water pollution. Billboards cause visual pollution.
4. Advertising perpetuates stereotypes. Examples include stereotypes related to race
(Punjabis as Illiterate farmers), gender (women as sex objects, men as business people),
and class (middle-class whites as the social norm).
5. Advertisers influence the content of publications and broadcasts. Government
censorship of the media is illegal. Yet it is well documented that newspapers and other
media are censored by advertisers. For example, a cigarette producer may pressure a
magazine in which it buys ad space not to print articles on the dangers of smoking.
6. Corporate sponsorship of civic, environmental, or other non-profit groups may
influence those groups. For example, tobacco industry contributions may discourage an
organization from joining anti-smoking campaigns.
7. Commercialism has influenced our political process. Many politicians try to attract
votes with an image created by advertising and media coverage. In the past, candidates
tried to attract votes by their stand on the issues.
8. The public's perception of a company's activities and priorities can be distorted by
image advertising. For example, ads can portray major polluters as environmentally
conscious companies that give to worthy causes.
9. Advertising costs us money. Businesses pass many of their advertising costs on to us.
Also, the price of a product increases when ads successfully cultivate the idea that a
certain product can give us status or a cool image.
10. Ads cost us more in taxes, too. Advertising is a fully tax-deductible business expense.
Because of this, state and federal treasuries receive billions of dollars less in business
taxes each year. Tax rates for citizens must make up for this, so individual taxpayers
indirectly subsidize advertising.
11. Ads can be misleading. They emphasize the benefits of products and services and
ignore the drawbacks.
12. Ads encourage a brand-name mentality, or buying on the basis of the maker rather than
quality or price.
13. Advertising fosters dissatisfaction, envy, and insecurity. It can make us feel
unattractive, uncool, and unhappy with what we do or don't have.
14. Our commercialized society places a strong emphasis on appearance, encouraging us to
care about our own and others' appearances rather than about characters, talents, and
15. Constant exposure to ads may encourage materialism and selfishness. This may make
people less inclined to help others. Statistics show that giving to charitable causes has
decreased in recent years. Similarly, there has been a decline in public support for
government programs to aid the least fortunate members of our society.
16. Corporate sponsorship may influence content and undermine the objectivity of exhibits
at science and art museums. For example, is an exhibit sponsored by a company that
makes insecticides likely to examine human/insect relationships in a fair and balanced
17. Ads take a lot of our time. The average person spends almost an hour a day reading,
watching, or listening to ads through TV, radio, theaters, videotapes, newspapers,
magazines, mail, or telephone. By the time the average Pakistani is Sixty-five years
old, advertising will have taken two to three years of his or her life.
18. Paid product placements influence the content of movies, TV shows, books, and board
games. This compromises artistic integrity.
19. Advertising promotes tobacco use, which kill almost sixty to seventy thousand
Pakistanis annually. Problems related to smoking hurt more people's lives and cost
society more money than all illegal drugs combined.
20. Marketers compile detailed electronic portraits of shoppers. Companies sell mailing
lists for everything. These computer databases present a staggering potential for abuse.
21. Commercialism has spread into almost every aspect of life. Being unable to escape it is
annoying to many.
22. Advertising aimed at young children intrudes on the parent-child relationship, can
undermine parental authority, and can create friction in the home.
23. Commercialism may erode values - such as sharing, co-operation, and frugality -
fostered by families, religious institutions, and schools.
24. Ads for commercial foods tend to encourage unhealthy eating habits.
25. Commercialization of school materials and equipment may undermine objective,
26. Heavy promotion of shopping and buying distracts us from other activities such as
reading, thinking, and playing. All the ads we're exposed to make it easy to forget how
many different kinds of activities we enjoy.
27. Our commercialized culture encourages people to spend money that they don't really
have. The number of Pakistanis with financial problems has increased steadily in recent
28. Advertising implies that there's an easy solution to everything, from being healthy to
29. Many ads imply, even if they don't say outright, that happiness is something we can
buy. When we act as though this is true, our personal horizons and ability to find
fulfilment in life are limited.
30. Commercialism does not just promote specific products. It promotes consumption as a
way of life.
What is the cumulative effect of all this commercialism?
Commercialism has clear parallels with industrial pollution. Just as modest amounts of waste can
be absorbed by the natural environment, so modest amounts of commercialism can be