Capitalism’s Product-Oriented Advertising=Communist Propaganda?

Research, thought pattern

The need of Advertising – Uses and Gratification Theory?

Now: The subconscious identification trap, fulfilling, gratifying needs
The gentle manipulation
“Only one text (39, 20-22) explains that advertising is associated with market activity and even more so with market economies, and that until very recently there was very little of the former and none of the latter. The explanation is far too brief, however, to enable the beginning student, who has never known anything but capitalism, to understand the fundamental differences”
Advertising meets the needs of society, thus surviving

Graphic Design is not a single player. It is not a leading role, but a supportive one – backing up someone else’s ideology. It reflects the needs of the time. 

Advertising serves corporate interests in a capitalist society
Advertising as it is known today finds its roots in industrial revolution 1820.


Product-oriented advertising is promoting capitalism: people compete against one another, brands compete for sales thus achieving greater things, BUT if all is shared equally, there’s no competition and the definition of success is something else you don’t need to advertise products. 
Strictly communist societies -why product-oriented advertising did not exist back then? No competition, no reason for advertising.
Advertising is not only product-oriented though. Propaganda = giant posters of Lenin, come on workers, build more tractors! Serves the ideology of that time

Look at Ideology of communism vs capitalism.

=> Does that mean that
Communist propaganda = Capitalist product advertising ??!!!???!
Ideas, needs of the time are met

TED Talk on Seduction about Cuba (communist country, no advertising).
Why am I interested in that – seduction is a form of influence – what advertisements use to win us. Seduction’s formula( according to Chen Lizra) is similar to Ads in my opinion –
1.desire: “knowing what you want, having the willingness to go after it.” Ads make us desire things,  and the reason why we want what we want is because of the requirements of the time we live in.
2. confidence: self-image, confidence. She says that  in Cuba there’s no advertising because its a communist country. They are not affected by the media to make them try and think that they need a perfect body. Self-image: shaped by the environment and love received at home. Cubans grow having self-confidence and pride. However, in the case of advertising, we want to buy what’s being shown to gain confidence by having what the product will give us.
It makes it easy to seduce if you know what the other person is feeling/needing.

Here I found a question in Quora asking if there really isn’t any advertising in communist societies – I came across some pretty interesting and fruitful answers that could be researched deeper.
  • ->”Students who had grown up in the Soviet Union had tremendous trouble accurately detecting advertising and would confuse articles mentioning a product with “advertising”.

    This leads me to think that when we grow up around advertising, some subtle distinctions become quite obvious to us. But when you don’t grow up within that culture, those distinctions are quite opaque.”

  • A Vietnamese answered that there is a lot of advertising in spite of the fact that they are a communist republic. However, in the early times(70s, 80s) when Vietnal was strictly communist, obviously there was no advertising, because there was no need for it.
  • Communists see advertising as promoting capitalism. When all is shared equally, advertising is not needed
  • The only thing that’s advertised is communism a.k.a Propaganda !

Forum discussion on the question


During Soviet times advertising had an entirely different purpose than it would have today. For example, it shows the absurdity of Soviet planned economy that the commercials produced by a state-funded agency were sometimes prevented from even being screened. The primary purpose of advertising was not to encourage people to consume, it was not to market a product or service, but rather to inform and educate people and shape their views on society in general as opposed to finding a market for a particular product. Advertisements were targeted at a wider audience, not at a specific group of consumers.

Harry Egipt, forgotten genius of soviet TV commercials interview

Super,super beneficial material

Russian Communist Advertising Posters

Business Insider: A WORLD WITHOUT ADS: Weirdly Barren Pictures Of North Korea Photo story


Forms of government, political philosophies:

Before thinking about comparing, I have to be clear on what is what

  • Democracy (power comes from the people,elections,vote, thrives on freedom)

Democracy is sometimes said to be the best form of government.  Namely because it derives its power from all of the people, and not just a small group.  This is also part of the reason democracy is thought to be a safeguard against a revolution. “

– “Democracy is also remarkably inefficient and slow.  When it comes to change, there must be votes on the matter, and the voting process can take quite some time.  First, there is campaigning to consider, and public awareness initiatives to help keep voters apprised of the situation.  “

  • Dictatorship (majority, or all power is granted to 1 individual-people have no say,unable to make a change, thrives on oppression)

“…by giving all of the power to one person, the government can move quickly, and more like a machine.  A dictator is a leader who possesses exceptional talent in the fields of organization, and administration, and is also able to act decisively and without fear of dissenting opinions. “

All this decisive action without fear of retribution can (and does) lead to ruthlessness.  Since there are no laws voted on by the people, all law making, and law enforcement must often become brutal and violent.  Dissenters to the dictator are considered direct threats, and so dictators often make use of dubious prison sentences, intimidation and ultimately execution in order to prove their power over potential upstarts.

Censorship, propaganda and media blackouts are often cited as problematic issues in dictatorships, because it is important that the people living under the government not get too many ideas from sources that contradict their leader.

There is no freedom in a dictatorship, and that extends all the way down to basic freedoms like thought and speech.  People can and do get into trouble for speaking out against the government.It goes without saying that there is no allowance for political diversity, and often no allowance for individual expression or creativity.  This can lead to extremely unhappy people, and often, violent revolutions.

  • Totalitarian

A political system in which the government has total control over the public and private lives and actions of that state’s citizens.

Economic systems:

  1. System of government is democratic
  2. Property is privately owned
  3. Driven by free enterprise
  4. Wealth distributed unevenly
  5. Education and health care provided by private entities
  6. Freedom of the press Class distinctions: upper class, middle class and working class
  7. Focus is on the individual and his/her own progress in life


  • Communism (extreme form of socialism)
  1. System of government is totalitarian
  2. Property is owned by the state
  3. No free enterprise is allowed
  4. Wealth distributed equally
  5. Education and health care provided by the state
  6. Press controlled and owned by the state
  7. Classless society: all members of society are considered to be equal
  8. Focus is on the progress of the community as a whole

Soviet Union was a communist dictatorship.

Differences between Marketing, Advertising and Propaganda

Advertising vs Propaganda

Advertising+Propaganda : Powerful media tools. Similar multimedia formats used to spread the message.

unlike advertising, propaganda does not try to encourage the sale of a product, service or idea. Similar to a sales campaign, propaganda is a visual presentation used to change public attitudes about a particular person or subject.

What I think about this is: Product-oriented advertising could be seen as Propaganda because it promotes capitalism and its ideology.

Would like to read more on that


Just leaving some links here:

Communists and Advertisement. The Experience of Costa Rica in the 1940s

Advertising and public relations in transition from communism: The case of Hungary, 1989–1994

Soviet graphic arts exhibitions review.

Advertising to the herd: how understanding our true nature challenges the ways we think about advertising and market research.

The consumer society reader


Toward a “Social Control in the Advertising Agency”

Communist Advertising: Its Status and Functions, Carter R. Bryan, Associate Professor of Journalism

Book: Advertising, Society, and Consumer Culture by Roxanne Hovland,Joyce M. Wolburg

Next areas of research:

  • Edward Bernays, originator of modern public relations, nephew of Sigmund Freud, and his book “Propaganda”;
  • public relations.

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