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Advertising & the End of the World

Featuring Sut Jhally

Advertising & the End of the World

Duration: 46 Mins
ISBN: 1-893521-39-7
Date Produced: 1997
Subtitles: English & Spanish

Filmmaker Info
Study Guide
Film Festivals
Related Links
Praise for the Film

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Advertising & the End of the World
Featuring Sut Jhally

Advertising & the End of the World features an illustrated presentation by Sut Jhally of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the producer and writer of the award-winning Dreamworlds series.

Focusing directly on the world of commercial images, he asks some basic questions about the cultural messages emanating from this market-based view of the world: Do our present arrangements deliver what they claim -- happiness and satisfaction? Can we think about our collective as well as our private interests? And, can we think long-term as well as short-term?

Drawing from the broad arena of commercial imagery, and utilizing sophisticated graphics, Advertising & the End of the World addresses the issues these questions raise, encouraging viewers to reflect on their own participation in the culture of consumption.

Making the connection between society's high-consumption lifestyle and the coming environmental crisis, Jhally forces us to evaluate the physical and material costs of the consumer society and how long we can maintain our present level of production.

Sections: Advertising as Culture | How Do We Become Happy? | What Is Society? | How Far into the Future Can We Think? | Imagining a Different Future

Filmmaker Info

Producer, Editor & Writer: Sut Jhally
Assistant Editor: Sanjay Talreja
Line Producer: Kim Neumann

Filmmaker's Bio

Sut Jhally is Professor of Communication at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Founder and Executive Director of the Media Education Foundation (MEF). He is one of the world's leading scholars looking at the role played by advertising and popular culture in the processes of social control and identity construction. The author of numerous books and articles on media (including The Codes of Advertising and Enlightened Racism) he is also an award-winning teacher (a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Massachusetts, where the student newspaper has also voted him "Best professor"). In addition, he has been awarded the Distinguished Outreach Award, and was selected to deliver a Distinguished Faculty Lecture in 2007.

He is best known as the producer and director of a number of films and videos (including Dreamworlds: Desire/Sex/Power in Music Video; Tough Guise: Media, Violence and the Crisis of Masculinity; and Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire) that deal with issues ranging from gender, sexuality and race to commercialism, violence and politics. Born in Kenya, raised in England, educated in graduate studies in Canada, he currently lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Film Festivals

Official Selection, 1998 Intercom International Film Festival

"Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse" by Sut Jhally

Press Reviews

Praise for the Film

"Sut Jhally's eye-opening Advertising and the End of the World is the one single indispensible videotape anyone interested in advertising should see."
- Robert W. McChesney | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"A brilliant deconstruction of consumerism. Like a martial artist who deftly redirects his assailant's energies, Sut Jhally turns Madison Avenue against itself. This film reveals not only the enormous power of advertising, but also its essential weakness: transparently false promises of love, friendship, and happiness packaged in commodity form."
- Nancy Folbre | University of Massachusetts

"Powerful, compelling, and disturbing--a devastating and seamless critique of advertising. Sut Jhally is one of the most important and intelligent critics of commercialism in the world today... A 'must see' video for anyone interested in media, advertising, or economics."
- Juliet Schor | Harvard University

"Offers excellent social psychological and critical perspectives on the role of advertising in contemporary society... Here, focus is on concepts of hegemony, identities, commodities, the power of the image, and the social production of consciousness. Jhally argues that advertising's promise of "the good life" through the purchase of products is a false one. Students relate well to this."
- Donna Lee King, Teaching Sociology

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