[content_protector password=”running”]Along with just about everyone else, I get irritated with the adverts on YouTube. I can’t wait to skip the video after five seconds. And there’s nothing more infuriating than having to sit through a fifteen-second ad I can’t fast forward. Why do I get so cross? It’s because advertising doesn’t work on me.

According to research, I’m not alone. 44% of people say that advertising doesn’t work on them (so are the rest easily tricked into spending money, joining organisations or visiting attractions that they didn’t really want to?). Because that’s the job of advertising – its purpose is to get you to change your behaviour and try, buy, visit, use or choose something you wouldn’t normally do.

Advertising is persuasion. To persuade someone to do something, you have to use persuasive language – words, phrases, pictures, examples, emotion – that will (hopefully) make sense to the person or people to whom you are selling a product. Advertisers show you how your life can be better with their product. Advertisers sell dreams, make you feel an emotion.

And yes. I’m above all that. I know all their tricks.

Or do I?

When I watch a sports game on television, I’ll notice which sports manufacturer made the jerseys, or the shoes an athlete is wearing. I’ll be aware of the supermarket whose logo is on the Silver Ferns uniform. I can name the bank who sponsors the Black Caps.

Who says advertising doesn’t work on me?

When I go to the movies, and I’m standing in line to buy a ticket, I’ll notice – and smell – the popcorn. And the trailers before the show? I’ll think about going to watch those films I like the look of another day.

Hmm… so I’m noticing the advertising.

When I see adverts in the newspapers, magazines and on billboards for tropical islands, I’ll remember which airline is offering cheap tickets.

When it’s time to buy a new pair of sneakers, I’ll often have a look at the shoes that other people are wearing – and, of course, make a note of the logos or brand names of them.

Just because, when I see a sign for Coca-Cola or McDonald’s or Nike, I don’t rush out and buy a product from one of those companies it doesn’t mean that adverting doesn’t work on me. Sure, companies want me to buy their products eventually, but the point of advertising is to make me (and you) make an emotional connection so that when I next need shoes, or a drink, or something to eat, or to go to a movie with friends I choose a particular one.

Advertising doesn’t work on me? Who am I trying to kid…

[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry
 amongst your students:  [/colored_box]  [colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:

1. How aware are you that advertising works on you?

2. How and why do advertisers link a product with particular emotions? Can you give specific examples? When you buy or use the product, do the emotions match expectations?

3. Why do many advertisers choose not to put a price on their adverts?

[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”green”]Practical Task:

1. Advertisers often use ‘product placement’ (which is where a company will pay to have their product put in a film or television show – such as Coca-Cola on American Idol). Watch your favourite television shows and make a list of products that you see on them. Why do you think those particular companies chose to put their products on those shows?

2. Try making a persuasive advert for yourself. Chose an item at home that you think that no one will want (a pair of muddy shoes, a broken chair, a cracked mirror) and write an enticing and persuasive advert for it – perhaps one that might go on TradeMe or another listings site.

3. Do you have a favourite advert? What is it the advert for? Why do you like the advert? What is it about the advert that might (or might not) make you want to buy the product?

[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”red”]Have Your Say: [socialpoll id=”[socialpoll id=”2290320″] [/colored_box]


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