Advertising did not spark the summer of urban discontent

Deep down, none of us really thinks advertising can be to blame for last summer’s riots (

Advertising is just one part of what feeds a consumerist culture. The trainers you want to wear or the TV you wished you owned come from the conspicuous consumption of the community around you – and advertising or not, there will always be a difference between those who have and those who don’t.

However, liking designer labels and thinking it’s OK to steal are two different things entirely. What’s broken down is our willingness to wait, or work, for what we want. In that sense, looting is just an illegal form of instant gratification.

Providing young people with paths into employment where they can work to earn the right to own the things they desire would be far more effective than banning a few advertisements.

Alice Huntley
Head of planning, RKCR/Y&R


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