An Interview about Literacy

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The most intriguing concept in Jeremy A. Greene and David Herzberg's post, HIDDEN in PLAIN SIGHT Marketing Prescription Drugs to Consumers in the Twentieth Century, is the apparent protection by which pharmaceutical companies defy the conventional laws of commercial impunity through covert ads. It is a sacred concept in the pharmacy industry that drug-making firms should not partake in direct-to-consumer advertising because it allows consumers to over-prescribe and greatly raises the risk of drug addiction and violence. Through effective marketing, the drug-makers have blurred the lines of what was considered standard and successfully changed the narrative to their benefit. Today, pharmaceutical firms are synonymous with DTC advertising, a development that would be deemed highly controversial a few decades ago. This shows the inclusion of anti-establishment narrative in advertising works. It indicates that the current order can in fact, be challenged and upset. Consumer culture is only as constant as the effectiveness of those who desire to change it.

In the second article, Effective Marketing for Professional Services, Bloom (n.p) provides some insight into the marketing of professional services. He notes that unlike a few years ago, one is not assured of a steady stream of clients owing through a plethora of factors, all of which are upset through effective advertising.

2. How do the academic articles compliment the primary sources?

The academic articles provide suitable backing scientific backing for the themes discussed. They provide literary support for the assertions made by the primary sources. The academic articles are peer-reviewed, hence, have been deeply analyzed and all the claims made verified. They exhibit a great deal of validity and reliability, hence, are suitable for use to defend a given idea championed by the primary sources. Furthermore, they provide additional information on the subject explored by the primary source. For instance, the second article explores the reasons behind the shift automotive designs and advertising to feature extensive customization. It explains that as the basic tenet of capitalism is competition, there has been growing pressure to have sufficiently differentiated and adapted products and service. As such, the paper not only supports the themes championed by the primary sources but also offers more information on it.

3. What would you advise the author to change, add, or edit from the paper?

The authors have been aptly on topic and to the point as is required in academic writing. However, there are a few adjustments they can make to their works. The first article barely addresses the challenges faced in anti-establishment advertising crusades. It offers an in-depth account of the steps taken by pharmaceutical manufacturers to deconstruct the regime propagated narrative that advertising prescription medication directly to consumers is unethical. However, it fails to over any counterargument or opposing perspectives to make the paper more balanced. This is perceived as a significant error academic writing that can be corrected by the inclusion of a well-supported divergent point of view.

“The War on Public Schools” (

1. What is Christakis’ argument? On what grounds does she defend public schools?

The author feels that public schools are commonly used as scapegoats for union agitation. She feels that America must take conscious steps to improve its teaching pool. The close to 100,000 national teacher shortfall is leaving most of the states in dire constraints. The available teachers are stretched beyond logical limits while pressure from unions are being regarded as a political statement for public schools. The author explains that the shortage are a direct consequence of the hesitation of top college graduates to join a poorly compensating profession.

2. Given the specific logic underpinning her argument, what are her best points/examples?

The specific logic underpinning her argument is the idea that the problem of poor quality education and teacher shortage in American public schools can be resolved by making the profession more attractive. The author believes that a complete revolution of the attitudes held by the public and government towards public schools. She believes that an upward change in the lucrativeness of teaching opportunities in public schools would most certainly make them more attractive and lead to positive student outcomes. She cites the example of Massachusetts and Connecticut as leading examples of states that have markedly improved the quality of their public education by investing in higher teacher pay.

The author debunks the commonly-held perception that America’s poor performances in international test scores have a direct correlation to the quality of education offered in public schools and the state of the country’s economy. As an example, she points out that in the 1960s when the tests begun to be used as an educational standard, American was never at the top.

The author also addresses the key conception that trade unions protect lazy and ineffective teachers. She recalls the themes pushed forward by articles and documentaries such as Waiting for Superman” presenting teachers as exceedingly lethargic, unaffected, sleeping through class, and drawing huge wages at the end of the day while being protected from any kind of disciplinary action as a consequence of their membership. She notes that this is non-representative and barely portrays the actual dynamics surrounding the state of public school education.

3. How does she handle counter arguments?

The author employs both sarcasm and tact in addressing counterarguments. A case in point is when she presents the argument that public school teachers are slothful and that they sleep in class and are awarded hefty salaries. The argument is extremely faulty as the points presented are non-factual. The author, a certified public school teacher herself, recognizes the erroneousness of the statements but instead of disputing them, she throws a generous shade of sarcasm by adding the statement, “If it weren’t for those damned unions, or so the logic goes, we could drain the dregs and hire real teachers” (Christakis n.p).

(this part of the assignment is what you should be looking at when writing Writing Project 1 which is at the end of all these pages)

Writing Project 1— “Advertising and its Discontents” Prompt: How has the internet—and the broader digital revolution—transformed the genre of advertising? What are the most important economic, political, social, or cultural consequences of these changes? Choose 1-2 specific industries to analyze.

How does advertising in this field influence consumers?

The field chose is the automotive industry. Cars are one of the most frequently advertised commodities. They often represent a treasure trove for marketers as a vast array of advertising themes are often applicable on them. Narratives such as sex, masculinity, and consumerism are commonly employed. Advertisers in this industry are often keen to identify the most powerful consumer instincts which is often the sensibility to sexual themes and ideals of consumerism such as safety, antitheft features, fuel economy, and durability. As such, advertisements in this field often resonate with most potential bias. The prevalent inclusion of themes of sexuality in car ads have been surprisingly enormously successful and informed a significant portion of the sales realized by the industry. Generally, automobile advertising are often considerably influential. Many customers purchase new products based solely on the messaging of the advertisements. They are also often captivating and strike a chord with many consumers, hence, can generally be regarded as impactful.

What are the problems associated with this type of manipulation? 

Exploiting contemporary themes such as sexuality and consumerism as is common in car advertising is not often ideal as it is barely non-representative of the actual capabilities of the product. A case in point is the Daihatsu ad that claims that the car the car picks up five more women than a Lamborghini. It would be technically true from a practical perspective. However, it is insinuating that the driver may potentially have carnal knowledge with five different women if he buys the car. It is misleading and is highly likely that users will as lucky as claimed in the ad.

Additionally, car manufacturers exploring taboo or sensitive have to tread carefully to avoid upsetting disenfranchising deeply conservative portions of their market. It is not uncommon to have civil agitation to have a given advert discontinued. Users may not always welcome the ideals championed the firms, hence, may boycott its products.

Project Builder 4

Article #1: HIDDEN in PLAIN SIGHT Marketing Prescription Drugs to Consumers in the Twentieth Century by Jeremy A. Greene and David Herzberg,

The article discusses public health impact of direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical firms. The author maintain that this prospect remains especially controversial owing to the often adverse implications of self-medication. The authors decry the resent resurgence of omnipresent ads as well as increasingly ingenious marketing by pharma companies. They lament that unlike previously when the provisions of federal legislation would regulate drug advertising, today’s vast variety product visibility techniques have far surpassed the reach of old-fashioned governmental control. Through implicit product advertising, organization of public relations events, and even ghostwriting of popular articles, the industry has been able to silently advance its direct-to-consumer marketing narrative. The article trades between using archival material and literature to comprehensively evaluate the sustained effort to promote prescription medication to end consumers and to best understand the public health implications of current drug marketing practices.

Key Insights, Data, Perspectives, Overlap

The article observes that direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medication has increased exponentially from a few and relatively controversial cases in the ‘80s to a permanent fixture today’s contemporary marketing infrastructure. The exceedingly well-planned undertaking is well funded with about $4.2 billion being sunk into it in 2015 alone. The unprecedented growth, which has mostly been concentrated in the past decade, has upset the traditional order where the physician was the primary intermediary in the passing of informed medical communication about prescription drugs. The medical officer’s central roles have effectively been replaced by a highly unregulated consumerist health information arrangement.

The authors explain that there is still relatively noteworthy opposition to the practice of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising as it arguably adversely impacts doctor-patient relationship and American public health. They note that while DTC product placements have liberalized access to important new pharmaceuticals, they significantly increase the occurrence of inappropriate or over-prescription, the reduction of physician’s authority, and the eroding of previously celebrated medical discourse. The incessant advertising also subliminally manipulate consumer awareness and place undue pressure on pharmacists.

According to Greene and Herzberg (1), shadow marketing has also been extensively utilized in DTC prescription drugs advertising for close to half a century. The industry has been increasingly pushing the bounds of government and professional regulation to gradually desensitize the populace and offer even more emboldened promotions. They regret that the changes are not mere aberrations that can be corrected by assuming the legal and industrial regulations of an earlier. The authors note as the consequences are already far too ingrained into the contemporary society, the practice of aggressive direct-to-customer advertising cannot be eliminated but only managed.

Article #2: Effective Marketing for Professional Services by Paul Bloom

Bloom (1) explains that a while ago, professionals could depend on their personal contacts to obtain a sufficient stream of clients. However, he regrets that things have since changed and that they now have to rely on comprehensive marketing to maintain and grow their practices. The author notes that there has been extensive paradigm shift from the traditional ways of doing business and that one must always be sufficiently astute to fare well in today’s contemporary society.

Key Insights, Data, Perspectives, Overlap

The author believe trend has been accelerated by several factors including legal sanctions, a declining public image, and the presence of too many professionals. He believes that professions such as dentistry, architecture, and law receive a superfluous of market entrants every year and that competition for the shrinking clientele is increasing. Bloom (1) notes that in the dispensation of misconduct suits and consumerism, professionals are no longer revered as they used to. Thus, they have been forced to use marketing to improve their public image and attain greater visibility.

Professionals from all sectors are incrementally using marketing tools. They are placing advertisements in newspapers, magazines, and even in other common digital media alternatives. It has gradually become acceptable to have medical clinics, law firms, and accountant offices in shopping centres, ostensibly to be closer to their target audience.

The author observes, the intense competition has led to professionals exploring the limits of traditional marketing. They are employing strategies commonly used by frequently advertised products and incrementally integrating them into their marketing routines.

The paper discusses seven major challenges realized by professional service providers limiting their ability to engage in effective marketing. They include limited time to market, the assumption of a sales attitude, the lack of measurement for the benefits of advertising, and limited product differentiability. Others include the need to be perceived as having experience, buyer uncertainty, and excessively stringent legal and ethical constraints.

Article 3#: The Growth of the Automobile Industry by Rashad Yazdanifard

According to Yazdanifard (n.p), advancements in management and production systems have revolutionized the automotive industry. The author notes that there has been a noteworthy expansion of emerging markets. The increased exposure has presented unprecedented pressure to be pursue effective marketing and be visible. The face of the industry is being extensively changed by increased competition, digitalization, and globalization. It is up to the automotive industry to adjust sufficiently or risk slumping into economic oblivion.

Key Insights, Data, Perspectives, Overlap

The author notes that unlike before, the size of the organization is not an automatic guarantee of success. He regrets that only firms that can develop new, innovative systems to create value would be sufficiently lucky to prosper. The paper provides an overview of the United States’ car market. It specifically Toyota’s dominance and defines the strategies they used to acquire such noteworthy market share. The author is also interested in how Toyota overcame the challenges and immense competition mounted upon it by local and other foreign automotive brands.

According to the author, the global automotive industry is plagued by a plethora of factors that increase in sophistication and influence the economic options available to market players. While are market-induced and are in response to prevailing market forces, others beyond the automaker’s intervention. Some of these include market convergence, globalization, and regionalization. The liberalization of regional and global markets has introduced the companies to new markers but also presented new competitive threats to local players. Additionally, consumers are increasingly shying away from standardized products. They are exhibiting preference for products with greater levels of specificity and customization to their unique needs. The author notes that accelerated diversification and modification of service and product portfolio is another development commonly associated with the neo product advertising era.

Yazdanifard (n.p) decries the pervasion of automobiles with digital technology. He note that in 2002, the value of digital technology is cars were a noteworthy 22%. The number would later increase to 35% in 2010 and 44% in 2016. While he acknowledges that this is not necessary a bad thing as it increases the functionality of the car, the author regrets that in increases the complexity of the machines. Furthermore, most digital machines are sensitive and are prone to fail at the slightest intentional or accidental misuse exponentially increasing warranty costs. Advertisers have to develop ways through which they must include this reality into their marketing narrative.

How They Apply to the Specific Ads

The first article demonstrates the expansion of marketing themes as a consequence of pushing the traditionally taboo boundaries. The articles describes the controversial inclusion of themes of direct customer purchasing in pharmaceutical marketing. It notes that potential consumers are likely to misconstrue the message passed by companies leading irresponsibility in the use of their products. The ads chosen have one common denominator, the exploit sexuality as the underlying theme. In the first advert, the company (Daihatsu) advertises its products spacious nature by noting that it can pick up five times more women that a flashy, more opulent Lamborghini. It is exploiting the commonly-held rhetoric that women are attracted to fancy cars and that most Lamborghinis are two-seaters, hence, can only fit one female companion. In essence and though not explicitly, the ad insinuates that a person driving their car brand is likely to gain five times more sexual experiences than those using a highly regarded competitor’s product. In the third ad (Toyota Corolla), two gentlemen are driving down a fairly deserted country road. They encounter an ostensibly broken down Toyota Corolla. On the bonnet, there is a fairly skimpily dressed lady, trying to figure out what has gone wrong with her car. She flags them down, observably to assist her with her problem. For a moment, the driver slows down and then abruptly speeds off. His companion, visibly disappointed of the “missed opportunity” with the sultry damsel in distress, ask his driver friend why he didn’t stop to which he replies, “Have you seen a Corolla broken down?” The sexy stranded lady then takes her wig off to reveal that he was indeed a crossdressing man who is luring unsuspecting gentlemen to carjack them. The advert skirts around the taboo subject of sex in advertising. Half a century ago advertisements with sexual undertones were generally frowned upon. The association of objects with possible sexual pleasure was regarded as disingenuous and non-representative of the actual capabilities of the product. However, with their persistent inclusion in contemporary advertising, it built a strong anti-establishment narrative and challenged the moral order for good.

The second and third adverts describe the changing face of consumer advertising. They note the industrywide appreciation of the fact that contemporary consumers prefer products customized to their needs. The third article intimates that at 2002, about 22% of the total value of cars were taken up by digital technology, the number has since increased to over 43%. It means that nearly half of the value of the cars can be directly attributed to its digital gadgetry. Today’s cars are far more functional and dependable as a result of increasing consumerism. The capitalist mindset of consumers has spurred competition as buyers tend to prefer the most convenient and personalized products. The development has impacted consumer advertising, making it more focused on addressing the client’s more intimate concerns than actual product capabilities.

Different media have varying levels of impact on both advertising and consumption. The efficacy of any marketing platform is its ability to sufficiently deliver a given message to a target audience. Print ads are more effective when the product marketed is suitable the more mature newspaper-reading generation. Similarly radio and television apply more to the middle-aged generation who form their largest audience. However, younger people, social media appears to be the most effective form of advertising. Their consumption culture is largely informed by online discussions and what appears to be trending as opposed to older generations that typically assume a more calculated approach. Similarly, the consumption of the different media is largely based on generational stratification. Users will tend to prefer the medium that was most common as they were in their formative developmental stages or that best appeals to their desires. It is this logic that best supports the reality of print media being more consumed disproportionately by persons of different ages.

Works Cited

Bloom, Paul N. "Effective marketing for professional services." Harvard Business Review 62.5 (1984): 102-110.

Christakis, Erika. "Americans Have Given Up On Public Schools. That’S A Mistake.." The Atlantic, 2017,

Greene, Jeremy A., and David Herzberg. "HIDDEN In PLAIN SIGHT Marketing Prescription Drugs To Consumers In The Twentieth Century." American Journal Of Public Health, vol 100, no. 5, 2010, pp. 793-803. American Public Health Association, doi:10.2105/ajph.2009.181255.

Yazdanifard, Rashad. "The Growth Of The Automobile Industry." Journal Of Accounting & Marketing, vol 03, no. 01, 2014, OMICS Publishing Group, doi:10.4172/2168-9601.1000112.

October 19, 2022

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