Advertising Manipulations Essay

This essay has a total of 2359 words and 11 pages.

Advertising Manipulations



Advertising is defined in the Webster’s dictionary as, “Announcing or praising in some
public medium of communication in order to induce people to buy or use the product.” In
order for a company to succeed, it is almost necessary for them to advertise their
product. Most advertisements are often criticized for encouraging materialistic values and
promoting that what one posseses is more important than who one is (Tedlow 4).
Advertisers want their ad to stand out so they attempt to do so by using techniques such
as humor, ongoing story lines, unexpected dialogue, unusual techniques, attention getting
spokespersons, or simply by repeating ads to the extent that it is inevitable for a
consumer to remember them (Day 25). Advertising is very common and there are many
techniques used to entice consumers; unfortunately, some advertisers go to extremes to
persuade consumers which can create social problems. The Federal Trade Commision tries
to set standards for advertisements for they do realize a problem exists. In order to
determine if an ad is deceptive, they worry about what the message conveys, and not what
the claim says (Richards 3).

The main reason for the amount of advertising is profit motivation; an increase in sales
means an increase in profit. Advertising took its major turn in the early 1960’s because
all products were looking the same so the actual product could no longer sell itself.
Therefore, the product was no longer the heart of the message and other methods had to be
used for


advertisements to sell the product. Leggy models started selling cars because their
sexiness gave the car an advantage; adding more appeal to the customer. Since advertisers
were no longer focusing the commercial around the product; a symbol was designed and sold
to the consumer in commercials and they then associated the product to this symbol
(Boukhari 1). Advertisements are so accessable and abundant because it is the only way
for the advertiser to communicate its message to the buyer (Richards 11). Advertising
studies show that the average American sees approximately sixteen thousand advertisements
-including logos, labels, and announcements- in one day (Day 6). New products, no matter
how good they are, will not sell unless the creator can tell people that the product
exist, that it is “better” than all the others, and where the product can be found (Day
8).

The promotion of the product is not the only motivation for advertising; almost more
important, the advertisement is hoping to promote that company. Advertisers must
creatively explain their clients’ company’s philosophy. After learning the effects a
company philosophy can produce, advertisers’ desired results are that the consumer will
buy a company’s products because that company’s philosophy appeals to them (Boukhari 2).
Also, advertisers want their company’s products to seem different, unique, and stand out
from all others, especially when the product can not sell itself. With some products this
individuality is


hard to mold, so repetition is used creating a bulk of
advertisements (Boukhari 1).
It was in the 1960’s when advertisers realized the potential profits that targeting
children in advertisements could create. Testing by experts showed that children are
extremely vulnerable to the persuasive extremes in television commercials. This
vulnerability is because children lack skills and experience that are necessary to be able
to differentiate between the good and bad advertising messages (Day 70). The American
Demographics magazine printed an article where they had interviewed 112 children ranging
in ages from eight to ten to “draw what comes to mind when they think of going shopping.”
In 30 of the 38 categories of products, the children could recall specific brands that
category might offer. One child in this experiment could properly spell the brand name
Esprit, including the open “E.” This same child misspelled the words “shirts” and
“skirts” by confusing them. When asked to spell “shirts,” he spelled “skirts;” and vice
versa (Day 71). Children fourteen years and under combined spend an estimated $20 billion
a year. Most importantly, children influence purchases made by parents, grandparents, and
others, which totals approximately $200 billion a year. Obviously advertisers saw this
opportunity, investing approximately $800 million, creating ads designed for slots during
children's television shows (Day 69).


A major concern of advertisers targeting children is the
effects of the advertisement on children. Advertisers claim that children are not
included in their target audience; however,

these products’ ads seem to be purposely luring the young. For example, drinking and
smoking in commercials are perceived by children as being cool; the ideals portrayed in
these advertisements are that drinking and smoking will allow kids to be accepted into the
crowd of cool people. This also ties into sex appeal because it is often portrayed that
people who drink and smoke get the prettiest girls or guys (Day 87). Another concern with
advertisements appealing to children is young children's health and well being. During
Saturday morning cartoons, nine out of ten of the food commercials are advertising
unhealthy foods such as sugary cereals, candy bars, salty canned foods, fatty fast foods
and junk food. Advertisers do this knowing that kids want these unhealthy foods and
hoping kids will ask for them, and more often get them, even over the original objections
of parents (Day 87).

Commercials appealing to children create a change in the way teenagers, especially girls,
view themselves. “Advertising contributes to the increase in the number of girls with low
self esteems,” according to advertising researcher, Joan Jacobs Bromberg. The main factor
is the advertisement’s focus on superficial appearance to promote products such as
Clearasil and


training bras. Many psychologists and critics claim that advertisements that contain
super models who are unrealistically thin or make thinness seem to be an important
characteristic in women is one of the causes of eating disorders among young women (Day
86). Not all women can use Revlon to attain the gorgeous look of Cindy Crawford, or sing
like Faith Hill if they drink Pepsi Cola.

Another form of advertising is the testimonial. “A testimonial can be any advertising
message that reflects the opinions, beliefs, findings, or experiences of a party other
than the sponsoring advertisers,” as defined in the Consumer Tips Page (Consumer 1). A
typical testimonial advertisement contains a statement similar to “it really works for me”
or “I made $3000 in one week” (Consumer 2). Another way testimonials attempt to persuade
consumers to purchase a product is by having a spokesperson use statements such as “find
out what millions of people, including myself, already know.” They say these exaggerative
statements hoping consumers will feel like they are missing out if they do not buy the
product that apparently everyone is already using (Day 25). Often testimonials claim once
and a lifetime opportunities that a consumer should not even think twice about missing.
Realistically, consumers should not buy products upon impulse. Most commonly, these once
in a lifetime claims are made from groups who claim a business opportunity


Continues for 6 more pages >>




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