Advertisements discourage us from being different individuals and make us look the same. Do you agree or disagree?

The modern world is awash with advertising, a commercialism that has stretched far beyond traditional media. Advertising now occupies space while you move and you wait; it exists as events and ties in with success; via branding it has become actual people and holdable objects. The aim of this advertising is to create aspiration as a purchasable unit, and in this sense it definitely does curtail individualism.

The most obvious place to see this collectivism is in mass consumerism and the idea that ‘you need this product’. Many products, such as new electronics, are marketed as being ‘must have’ items and play on the fears of isolation and rejection – to not have this product will make you socially unacceptable. Similarly (albeit the advertisements use a different tactic) luxury and counter-culture goods create brands that proclaim to make you different from the masses, unique in either taste or economic success, whilst really just creating an identikit elite.

Such marketing and consumerism is not new, but in the world of big data there are new trends emerging that are equally faceless. Websites that record your preferences and offer recommendations (‘if you liked x, you will like y’) are a prime example of treating customers not as individuals but as a definable group; in this case you are not ‘you’, but ‘people like you’, the result of which is a gentle steering towards products ‘people like you’ buy.

As technology and data increases, and advertising stretches further, the pressure on the individual to succumb to trends becomes greater. Children and those that have a herd-mentality will pour money into companies in order to fit in. More individualistic types will try to resist, but the chances are high that one purchase will be driven by peer-pressure. This one crack is all the advertisers need.