The Cultural Impact of Advertising has generated some arguments for and against in certain quarters. Some are of the opinion that foreign culture alien to a particular area is imported while others merely see it as a means of learning other people’s way of life. Advertising can affect cultural values. Some advertising messages, for example, encourage aggressive individualism, which may clash with the traditional cultural values of a country where the collective or group is emphasized over the individual or humility or modesty is preferred to aggressiveness. With the globalization of the world economy, multinational corporations often use the same advertising to sell to consumers around the world. Some critics argue that advertising messages are thus helping to break down distinct cultural differences and traditional values, causing the world to become increasingly homogeneous.
Many advertising campaigns, however, have universal appeal, overriding cultural differences, or they contribute to culture in a positive way. Humor in advertising has made many ad campaigns widely popular, in some cases achieving the status of folklore or taking on new life in another arena. For example, a popular ad campaign for a fast-food chain with the slogan “Where’s the beef?” became part of the 1980 Democratic presidential primary campaign between Gary Hart and Walter Mondale. The ad ridiculed a competitor by depicting a small hamburger patty dwarfed by a huge bun. During a primary debate one of the candidates used the ad slogan to suggest that his opponent’s campaign lacked substance. The Cultural Impact of Advertising is however such that when a particular product is advertised the culture of the originators many a time are clearly visible.