George Monbiot wrote this today in the Guardian:
The power and pervasiveness of advertising helps to explain, I believe, the remarkable figure I stumbled across last week while reading the latest government spreadsheet on household spending. Households in the UK put an average of just £5.70 a week, or £296 a year, into savings and investments. Academic research suggests a link between advertising and both consumer debt and the number of hours we work. People who watch a lot of advertisements appear to save less, spend more and use more of their time working to meet their rising material aspirations. All three outcomes can have terrible impacts on family life. They also change the character of the nation. Burdened by debt, without savings, we are less free, less resilient, less able to stand up to those who bully us.
I agree, wholeheartedly.