Ralph Nader: Fashion Critic

nader.gifNot satisfied with merely telling consumers of the world that they are stupid, Ralph Nader has sunk to a new low. He has written a letter to baseball commissioner Bud Selig decrying the presence of advertisements on the uniforms of players. (I wonder what he thinks of Cisco's advertising?) Ever the opportunist looking to find victims wherever he can even if none exist, he said that the advertisements "ambushed fans across the country and left them shaking their heads at this obscene embarrassment."

I just can't understand why people are so antagonist towards advertising. Pharmaceutical companies are lambasted for investing in advertisements to try to help recoup their developmental costs. International Olympic Committee chairman Juan Antonio Samaranch took exception to the plethora advertisements at the 1996 Atlanta games, even though most cities generally lose money hosting the games. Some on the extreme left even call advertising a form of 'mind control'.

Advertising is a modern marvel. It alerts customers to products they might otherwise not know about. It makes many things - TV, newspapers, magazines, radio - essentially free. It is merely information.

I can only conclude that the hatred of advertising by those like Nader reflects an underlying antagonism towards commerce and markets.

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I disagree with your closing

I disagree with your closing sentence - I would say that a lot, perhaps most, of the objection to advertising is aesthetic. I, and a lot of people I know, personally think advertising (with very rare exceptions) is ugly and obnoxious and don't like to look at it.

I would prefer to be able to choose not to have to look at advertising. I am willing to pay for the opportunity to make that choice and have it be respected by advertisers; failing that, I often avoid goods and services I might otherwise make use of if the advertising is annoying enough to drive me away (for instance, that's why I don't listen to radio when I have a choice). Advertising is not "just information" - it is loud (figuratively and sometimes literally), intrusively presented information that is frequently unwanted. I wouldn't go as far as Nader et al. to say that advertising harms anyone, but it's something that a lot of people actively dislike having around simply because they don't like it in and of itself, not because they have anything against the free conduct of business. Advertising is a valuable tool for businesses, I agree, but it can backfire if used ham-handedly, and often does.

In and of itself, making

In and of itself, making people aware of your product is a good thing. But the lengths to which many ad agencies go these days are pretty ridiculous. Many ads only reference the product for a half-second before going on to show something completely unrelated for the balance of the commercial (usually half-naked women or skateboarders or some such nonsense). Too many ad campaigns are about "creating a buzz," rather than informing about a product or service. I agree with Alex in that most of my objection to advertising is aesthetic. For me, it's the "in your face" ads that many advertisers feel the need to produce - with people screaming about how great something is. Commercials which simply inform the consumer why a particular product is worth buying are becoming much more rare. This tends to drive me away from purchases more than influencing me to purchase. One product in particular that I avoid because of its advertising is Hardee's "ThickBurgers." The ads are condescending and poorly produced - therefore, no matter how good those burgers might taste, I won't ever buy one. There are plenty of other burgers out there that I already enjoy, burgers that don't have stupid ads attached to them.

So, most of my objections have more to do with content, or lack thereof, than with the medium itself. If ads were produced to be more informative than entertaining - something that I think is a problem in more realms than just advertising - I might be more influenced to purchase. As it is, I tend to tune everything out, or even refrain from purchasing at all.

I guess Nader would have a

I guess Nader would have a stroke if he saw the uniforms of the English Premier League (Go Liverpool).

Doug: Let's see if we can


Let's see if we can test your EPL/stroke hypothesis. Somebody print up a bunch of Liverpool and Arsenal posters, and go wave them at the next Nader rally.

(Joking: I wouldn't wish a stroke on anybody.)

fellows, i'm in the

fellows, i'm in the entertainment industry, so i know a little bit about this. people like Nader and his ilk are fighting over 'face time', getting peoples attention. its them and thier agents fixation. 99% of what they say is meaningless prattle, its to get your attention on thier ugly face/name. they will comment on or be paid to give 'expert opinion' on ANYTHING as long as their name/face appears in some media format. the topic is irrelevant, to them, as long as their product/face/name is distributed to as many morons in the subburbs as possible. if you asked Nader to appear on a fashion show he would, and he'd have some sickenly over educated, pseudo-intellectual opinion on the clothing styles this year. he could'nt even pick up a baseball bat, let alone hit a pitch. its pure entertainment, they are entertainers nothing more. its agravating, which is why i have my finger diligently poised above the delete/remote off button. its the only way to fix them.

"its agravating, which is

"its agravating, which is why i have my finger diligently poised above the delete/remote off button. its the only way to fix them."

Well put.

What an idiot...sports teams

What an idiot...sports teams in Euro-weenieland which Nader no doubt admires have had sponsors for years and years.

The chief philisophical

The chief philisophical objection to advertising is that it's an attempt by the seller to influence market conditions in his favor. Under traditional collectivist notions of "perfect competition," no seller or buyer should be allowed to exercise such direct influence. The Naderite view--which influences most modern regulation--is that it's only bad for sellers to exercise influence, because that interferes with the consumer's "sovereignty" over the marketplace. Thus, baseball is in the wrong, according to Nader, because it is interfering with the consumer's "right" to view baseball free of commercial obstruction or influence.

What I want "Ralphie" to

What I want "Ralphie" to tell the rest of us is, if he's so opposed to advertisements on sports uniforms, does he expect the MBA, NFL, NHL, and NBA to remove team logo's from the uniforms too? If you follow his complaint, then the teams are advertising for two businesses (the team its self, and for the League as well).