Advertising and the end of the world (1997)

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.


Toxic Sludge Is Good For You (2002)

While advertising is the visible component of the corporate system, perhaps even more important and pervasive is its invisible partner, the public relations industry. This video illuminates this hidden sphere of our culture and examines the way in which the management of “the public mind” has become central to how our democracy is controlled by political and economic elites. Toxic Sludge Is Good For You illustrates how much of what we think of as independent, unbiased news and information has its origins in the boardrooms of the public relations companies.

PR critics include PR Watch founder John Stauber, cultural scholars Mark Crispin Miller and Stuart Ewen. Toxic Sludge Is Good For You tracks the development of the PR industry from early efforts to win popular American support for World War I to the role of crisis management in controlling the damage to corporate image. The video analyzes the tools public relations professionals use to shift our perceptions including a look at the coordinated PR campaign to slip genetically engineered produce past public scrutiny.

Toxic Sludge Is Good For You urges viewers to question the experts and follow the money back to the public relations industry to challenge its hold on democracy.