In Ways of Seeing episode 4, John Berger exhibits how publicity makes an impact on consumers with images. People are surrounded by advertisements, and inevitably our subconscious is manipulated. As consumers we think of those images, and it leads to desire for things. It is significant as we desire the life shown in glamorous images. There is no end to accumulating enough to live up to the perfect life they depict. These advertisements try to convince consumers to buy more to be rich when the fact is it can only make them poorer by spending money to chase the lifestyle that is out of touch with reality.
Berger’s argument about these differences is important as oil paints were made for the person who is depicted, it shows his real lifestyles, the art manifested his wealth and possessions. Whereas in publicity pictures, it’s more of an illusion. It encourages people to buy stuff and have more possessions to change their life. To acquire those possessions people worked hard to make money only to buy things under the pretense that it makes their life glamorous. Publicity uses people’s insecurity and fear to sell products with the promise of making them desirable. Advertisements take inspiration from oil paintings, depicting wealth, and produce illusory images of utopia to sell the idea to people. As Berger flips through the pages of a magazine, it reveals how publicity is disconnected with reality when the images show extreme contrast of the two worlds between pages (the world of poverty and the other world of abundance of supply). The publicity images overpower the images of reality that “appeal to the public conscience.” Unfortunately, the world of advertising maneuvers its consumers towards the direction of unlimited consumption of stuff and yet still far away from the perfect world they promise.
A dream could be “Do you want to experience the feeling of royalty? Get royal treatment at our Hotel XYZ.” The imagery might display a red carpet at the entrance of a hotel, staff waiting in line to be at your service, a picture of room in Victorian era style, silver tea set on the coffee table with fine China cups, bathtub filled with water decorated with fresh rose petals.