Volume 96, Issue 11
Tuesday September 17, 2002

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It's advertising: not The Force

Advertising is evident most anywhere in our society and soon it will become even more evident at this university.

We are bombarded with corporate logos everywhere we turn and the University Students' Council's initiative to open advertising kiosks (basically ABMs surrounded by posters) in the basement of the University Community Centre will make corporate advertising even more obvious.

Some of us may resent our ad-happy culture, but advertising cannot be escaped. In the end, it's up to us as individuals to sift through the madness and think critically.

As university students, we should be able to journey through our world and remain aware of the implications and motivations behind corporate advertising. The UCC is already logo-central – the majority of students are walking advertisements for the companies whose clothes and accessories they purchase and wear.

The fact that advertising is making inroads into Western's campus should not come as a surprise – it has been doing so for years. We have TD Waterhouse Stadium, the Coca-Cola lab, the Imperial Oil Lecture Theatre, as well as Adidas sponsorship for our varsity athletes. For good or ill, corporate sponsorship remains a means of generating the funding our university and student administration need to keep Western ticking.

The kiosks in the basement of the UCC will be an obvious advertising ploy, but by the same token, more easily avoided as such. Most corporate advertising can be much more insidious and may not be so readily perceived.

The kiosk initiative, however, is bringing money to students, generating $15,000 a year for the USC and another $5,000 to be put towards a student scholarship. Because the introduction of advertising will be a point of contention for some students, the scholarship could be seen as the USC's token effort at saving face, but at least it's giving something back.

While the USC is the body representing all of the students at Western, at the end of the day, it's a corporation. As such, in order to survive, the corporate side of the USC needs to generate funding from a variety of avenues. This corporation will live longer than any individual student politician or newly constructed bylaw – when it comes down to it, finances are the bottom line.

In the long term, the money generated from the advertising kiosks may help ease student and ancillary fees, bringing some benefit – small as it may be – to the average student.

We simply need to remain aware of the information and advertising we process on a daily basis, so that we can avoid being over run with corporate propaganda. We need to remain critical.







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