To corporations regarding their advertising
I am writing to complain about your advertisement which aired on [date and time], during [program name]. In this ad [describe what happened in the ad and what you find objectionable about it - for the latter a few possibilities are as follows:
- it uses proven techniques of behavioral manipulation, including continuous repetition and a loud volume.
- it is misleading, and probably functions as a bait and switch.
- it preys on and seeks to profit from our normal human fears, by causing guilt and stress.
- it leads us to believe that we will not be happy unless we conform to society's wishes.
- it promotes mindless consumerism and materialism, selfishness and greed, and dependence on technology.
- it glorifies and glamorizes violence.
- it promotes ugly, unethical people.
- it preys on the impressionable minds of our children, who are not able to deflect such manipulation.
- it promotes competition and deifies winners, rather than support cooperation, sharing and equality.
- it leads people to think that their lives are out of their control, that their free will is not strong enough to combat the deterministic influences of the modern world, and that they therefore should give up.].
I want to register the strongest possible objection to this brainwashing. Many of the problems of our society find their seed in the values and manipulation of such ads. Your advertisement is reprehensible and irresponsible. It constitutes culpable, punishable abuse. I would like you to know that:
- I will never buy your products again.
- I will encourage and help organize a boycott against you, including with the participation of my family and friends, and the members of the social, religious, community and parent/teacher groups to which I belong.
- I will support litigation against you to hold you accountable for this abuse and its consequences. I believe you should be subject to penalties, both financial and criminal, equal to the social and environmental costs which have resulted from your actions.
The tobacco industry has been forced to halt its manipulation and brainwashing, and to pay the costs thereof. You're next.
Note: this letter can also be adapted to apply:
- to corporations regarding the objectionable programs on which they advertise.
- to media producers and broadcasters regarding objectionable program content.
- to media broadcasters and advertising agencies regarding objectionable ad content.