We can never satisfy all of our desires because everyday reality constantly presents obstacles that must be overcome. As a result, everyone knows that we must adjust our desires to reality, rather than the other way around.
Advertising fails because it refuses to acknowledge the trials of this life and the reality of tragic outcomes. It introduces us to a world of unreality that ends up frustrating us. As sociologist Richard Stivers explains: “Advertising does not promote adjustment but rather unlimited desire and unlimited aspirations in regard to consumption. The mythological world of advertising and the mass media, as we have seen, is a utopian one in which our unlimited desires are perfectly fulfilled” (Richard Stivers, The Culture of Cynicism: American Morality in Decline, Blackwell, Cambridge, Mass., 1994, p. 67).