Friday, April 13, 2012

Most Common Advertising Tricks In Modern Media

Regardless of your medium of entertainment, you'll find that advertisements are almost everywhere you look; in fact, this page alone has at least one. With advertisements so evident in modern lifestyle, isn't it about time we actually take a look at what these advertisements really advertise? Shouldn't we ask ourselves if the heads behind the mass media are actual dummies that simply prance around with directors as they pump out the same short fifteen second clip with different products everyday?

"They're on to us!" - The heads behind mass media

Maybe things aren't as jolly and flowery as we thought they were. Perhaps, advertisements used actual psychology from many fields to manipulate you to buy products everyday. Below, we'll discuss two of the most common advertising tricks that you probably fall for everyday. (With the aided use of hyperboles! Hurray you!)

2. Sell you the fear of not having their product

If you were to take a closer look at almost every modern advertisement right now, what can you see in common? Other than the stiff awkward acting, you may have noticed that advertisements don't actually sell you a product; they sell you fear and a solution for it. While I'm not suggesting that they hold your children at gunpoint as they point at a product, many advertisements actually subconsciously tell you that if you don't buy their product, something bad will happen to you. Here are some examples:

  • "Hey you, did you know that 12,345 amount of break ins happen every year? One day, it could be you! The only way to stop people from breaking in your house and snatching your family is to hire our security team and install our cameras!"

"You can't afford it? Oh, I guess your children aren't that important, I understand."

  • "Buy these H1N1 vaccines quick! Everybody's just dropping dead from this disease, you could be next! You've seen the news, it's a new and deadly disease! In fact, 11,690 people are already dead from this disease! That's a lot, right? There's definitely no need to check the annual death rates of the normal flu to compare against H1N1. It's as simple as dying if you don't take these shots."

I mean, when was the last time someone with a needle lied to you?

The magic of this technique is that it convinces you that you need something, even though you've lived long without it. Suddenly, your suburban house/apartment is the golden trophy in your neighborhood. It's not like you can do anything by yourself to prevent robbery or anything. This can also be called, creating a problem and selling the solution. Here's something important to remember, in order to sell something, they need a motivator; fear is a very powerful motivator.

1. Suggest more than what they're really offering

This technique involves the use of implications that people usually fall for due to their high appeal. What they do here, is as simple as throwing few "extra" things on the side of their product to make the product itself look more appealing. Here are some examples:

  • "Here, look at this beautiful young lady, if you buy our product, you'll look just like her. If you don't buy our product, you'll have skin that resembles a barren wasteland with cracked, dried ground as we shown you before. Also, you'll be ugly and undesirable; buy our skin product and people will love you. In fact, your husband/wife will stroke your product-applied area and compliment you on how smooth your skin is in a overly excited manner."
"Now that you use this new skin product, I can actually look at you when we're in bed"
  • "Look, this girl is depressed because she has allergies and can't go outside. After eating our allergy medicine, she's able to go outside, play with her children, go rollerskating, go mountain climbing, have overly exciting dinner with friends, go parachuting, dancing, sky diving, mountain biking, and hiking. If you buy our medicine, your life will change in the same manner. If you don't buy our product, you'll be down and depressed like the girl shown before. Don't be that girl; buy our product."

"Now that I've bought this new product, my life is full of excitement and joy! Look, you can even tell from the symbolic transition from greyscale to color!"
  • "Need help losing weight? Use our weight-lost product! We even have before and after pictures! Look at this before picture, the guy's overweight, smoking, badly dressed, doing drugs, sitting in dark grey room with a half-empty pizza box, and he appears to be sad with his droopy lips and eyes. Woah, look at this, in this after picture, he's smiling, drug-free, wearing neat clothes, and hugging his multiracial family! Go figure!"
Nothing much like a multiracial family to bring the family together.

The problem is, both of these methods are commonly used together. They'll try to sell you the fear of not having their product, and throw in the extra "benefits" of having their new products. As a real-life example, take account to how the water bottling industry, (i.e. Poland Spring, Dasani) managed to convince millions that the water inside of their taps are unhealthy and unfit to drink from, while their bottled water is healthy and good for you. While you're not likely to have your life change from reading this article, (Unless you have your checkbook out every time you watch a infomercial) it's always nice to know, right?