GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue

28. Because businesses use high-quality advertising to sell low-quality products, schools should give students extensive training in how to make informed decisions before making purchases.


Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and I or examples from your own experience, observations or reading.


This argument is untenable for two reasons. First, the claim that high-quality ads are used to promote low quality products is unsupported empirically and by common sense. Second, undue attention by schools to consumerism is unnecessary and inappropriate, especially for younger students.

Regarding the first reason, empirical evidence does not suggest that high-quality advertising is used to promote low-quality products. To the contrary, companies that produce low-quality products seem to resort to low-budget, poor-quality ads, especially in broadcast media. Firms that take pride in the quality of their products are far more likely also to produce ads they can be proud of. Furthermore, high- quality products are more likely to succeed in the marketplace and thereby generate the revenues needed to ensure high production value in advertising.

As for the second reason, it is not the job of our schools to breed legions of smart shoppers. Teachers should devote class time to examining the marketplace of ideas, not that of consumer goods and services, which students spend sufficient time examining outside the classroom. Admittedly, consumerism and advertising may be appropriate topics for college-level marketing and psychology courses. However, undue focus on media and materialism may give younger students a distortedly narrow view of the world as little more than a flea market. Additionally, revealing the deceptive side of the advertising business may breed unhealthy cynicism among youngsters who need positive messages, not negative ones, during their formative years.

In sum, the premise that high-quality ads tout low-quality products is specious at best. In any event, for schools to provide extensive training in consumerism would be to assign them an inappropriate role and to foster in impressionable minds a distortedly narrow and unhealthy view of the world.

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