Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Last year I saw a commercial for Old Spice body wash and I liked it so much, I re-watched it on you tube. I emailed it to my friends, I posted it on Facebook and I promptly went out and bought said body wash.
Recently at a Mexican restaurant I ordered a DOS XX for the sole reason that the commercials for “the most interesting man in the world” are the most interesting thing on TV to me.
And two days ago I found myself wanting to leave the comfort of my own home because an ad on TV for the Olive Garden made me believe that my life would be better with breadsticks.
I do not particularly like the smell of old spice. And I like it even less on me than I like smelling it on someone of the opposite sex. That means purchasing old spice body wash was a waste of money and just strange. However it was pretty harmless in the scheme of things. But what about when you don’t realize that you are being manipulated by advertising and the product in question could affect your health?
Do you choose your medication based on the commercial? Do you alter your grocery shopping based on print ads? Do you find yourself singing the jingle for fast food restaurants? Do you know the slogan/address/catch phrase of local places from the radio? Think about it.
Ok, first off, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I love good advertising. I mean, everyone does. Look at how popular the super bowl commercials are. The problem (as far as I’m concerned) is not in liking the advertisement. The problem happens when you are unaware of it. I know that I will always have a penchant for old spice, Nike footwear, orbit gum, bud light and most recently volkswagens. I know that 90% of the reason I like those things are because of advertising. But what about the food commercials I am not really aware of? I don’t even have to like the fast food ad but when I see a sexy guy eating a big mac in a beautiful open landscape and there is catchy music and he looks to be thoroughly enjoying it and then an announcer tells me that yes, he is having the best eating experience of his life, it’s hard not to fall for it subconsciously. I may not even have noticed it happening, but later in the week when I pass by said restaurant, I might find that my mouth starts to water and the familiar jingle appears in my head and I am struck with an overwhelming urge to stop and eat. To the untrained observer (there is one in all of us) we think we actually want that burger. We are having a hard time separating the person who was sucked into the TV and the person who is actually hungry.
This week I would like you to try and notice when advertising is swaying you. If you are checking your email, and banners for TGI Fridays keep flashing across your screen, take note. Are you getting hungry? When you watch a Claritin ad do you immediately get the sinking feeling that you too have asthma? All of the ads on TV are designed to make us believe that we need the thing they are selling. However most of the time we do not need anything. Or at least not anything you can buy. And this is why my favorite advertising is Kaiser Permanente. Their Thrive campaign actually makes me feel like I want to lead a healthier life and I don’t even need to be a Kaiser member or purchase anything. What is advertising doing to you? Maybe nothing, but more than likely it’s persuading you to buy, think, eat, do something. Is that something helping you or hurting you? Only you will know.