1984 – A commercial for a television set shows a family comprising grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and kids sitting in the family drawing room watching TV together.
1989 – The family watching television in the drawing room becomes smaller, featuring only the grandparents, parents and around 3 kids.
1994 – A commercial for the same product shows a nuclear family comprising parents and children watching television together. The children are of varied ages , 18 - 6 years old.
1999 – The family grows smaller. The advertisement for the same television shows a young couple with their two small kids watching television together in the drawing room.
2004 – The television commercial shows a newly married couple with no children watching television together.
2009 – Well, this is the ultimate in family breakdown. You must have seen the advertisements on TV. Today, we see a single guy, staying away from his parents, watching television alone in a small flat.
The effectiveness of good advertising lies in its capability to maintain or encourage new sales. Consumer durables usually have a life span of between 5 – 10 years depending on how much it is used and the maintenance and repair facilities available. Some consumer durable goods are household appliances, electronic equipment, home furnishings, recreational goods, toys and cars.
Because of the long life span of consumer durables, the companies that manufacture consumer durables can only hope for new sales, if,
- They develop a new improved technology and advertise it.
- The standard of living of the people increases enabling them to purchase goods like computers, refrigerators, washing machines, televisions and so on.
- The availability of loans increases making purchase of consumer durables easier.
Say, for example, there is a country with 1,00,000 people and no competition in the television sector. In 1984, if a family of 14 owned a TV set each, the company had the capacity to sell only around 7,143 televisions. However, in 2009, if each person lives separately, the company has the potential to sell a maximum of 1,00,000 televisions.
This process, though very gradual, works in the minds of individuals who watch television commercials and programmes every day. Things are worse in foreign countries, where single mothers, divorced couples, late marriages and living away from home are promoted both in advertisements and television programmes sponsored by these commercials.
As people are fed this information daily on every television channel, over a period of time they begin to believe that the concept of the family and society is changing. Not wanting to be left behind in the scheme of things, they indulge in the very behavior being promoted by the advertisements of consumer durable companies. People leave their parents to start nuclear families of their own. Divorces and single motherhood lead to fragmented families. Finally, people start living alone. The breakup of the family is complete.
Is single living and the breakdown of the family being promoted by manufacturers of television sets, vacuum cleaners, washing machines and other consumer durables in your country? What do you have to say about this issue?