The ad industry encourages high consumer spending and debt, harms the environment through overconsumption and contributes to social ills like obesity, according a new study the think tank New Economics Foundation.
The study claims to measure the share of social and environmental damage caused by overconsumption that is attributable to advertising, with ad execs destroying £11.50 of value for every pound in value they generate.
The authors said their study included in their calculations the good attributed to the advertising industry such as jobs created for those who make and sell products.
‘They seem to attribute in their calculations all excess consumerism and all the miseries on earth to advertising,' says Sutherland. ‘But they didn't mention that advertising pays for media,' he says ‘The fact is media for most part survives on advertising and the media is one of the most environmentally friendly and gratifying ways of spending time.'
The president of the IPA says that the study overlooks that under consumption would have detrimental effects on the economy.
Sutherland also argues that the creation of brands such as Tesco, Ikea, easyJet and McDonald's have helped democratise consumption, by putting goods and services in the hands of ordinary people.
‘Not everything that is advertised is aspirational. Advertising has helped popularise sectors like computing and broadband. I have worked on the BT account for year and have helped get four or five million homes connected to the Internet which is something |I am spectacularly proud of.'.