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The secret ways that advertising works on you

The Secret Ways That Advertising Works on You
Does advertising really work? US companies spend around $170 Billion on advertising yearly, so they seem to think it does.

Successful advertising uses a variety of tricks and techniques to influence the consumer. They evoke positive memories and emotions that affect our behavior over time and prompt us to buy something at a later date. Marketing needs to reach the subconscious levels of the brain in order for it to work, though many people don't like to think that they are easily influenced.

Humans instinctively look at something that someone else is looking at, so ads often include a model looking right at the main target or message. It's best to use happy faces in ads because we have mirror neurons that prompt us to mimic the expression of the person we are looking at. People find faces with dilated pupils more attractive, so most major advertisers increase the pupil size of their models in Photoshop.

If you position a product towards the viewer's dominant hand it heightens the imagined product use. Researchers experimenting with images of cups, bowls and sandwiches encountered the greatest success when appealing to the right-hand side.

Colors also have powerful associations in ads. Brands pick the colors of their logos based on what they're trying to convey. Red denotes action, excitement and youth. Green implies freshness, growth and health. Blue shows trust, confidence and security.

Brands often prime their consumers by naming a higher price beforehand so their price is not so bad by comparison. To persuade the consumer that their product is superior, advertisers also use techniques like "the weasel" claim. Its a claim that is vague and ambiguous, but still sounds true enough that consumers believe the claim. The "unfinished" claim, which claims that the product is better or has more of something but does not finish the comparison.

The "endorsement/testimonial," where celebrity or authority claims to use the product when they often don't, is another way to hook a viewer. In Miller Light commercials from the '70s, famous athletes were featured. That led the company's production to increase from 7 million barrels to 31 million barrels.

Lastly, brands employ the "rhetorical question," which demands a response that validates the products merits. After the launch of "Got Milk?," for instance, sales of milk in California rose 7 percent in just one year.

So what do you think? Got brainwash?

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
bbarlep71 March 30 2014 at 12:57 PM

Newton Minow, on May 9, 1961, called T.V. "A vast wasteland" and his words still ring true to this very day.
Television is such a cesspool now a days and the commercials are relentless, I like Les Nesman's, from W.K.R.P. In Cincinnati, comments on one episode of the show.
Les was just about to begin, or end his show, when he stated "And now a relentless barrage of mind numbing commercials which would insult the intelligence of the average five year old"!
It has gotten so bad that at every commercial break I mute the sound because we are subject to those same commercials every seven or eight minutes.
T.V. shows have gone from twenty-five minutes per episode to about twenty one minutes per show, if you are lucky and the rest are commercials.
Don't believe me?? Get an early "Barney Miller tape or D.V.D. or even early "Cheers" and you will take note that those shows were twenty- five minutes.
If you watch those same shows in syndication, and you tape or burn them, and edit out the commercials you will see where the original show was twenty -five minutes, BUT, that particular
episode is around twenty -one minutes long.
In one episode of W.K.R.P. the first season episode two or three titled "Les On The Ledge", Johnny and Herb are in Carlton's office and Johnny is telling Herb that Jennifer had a sex change.
In the show on Ant. T.V. that whole scene was obliterated just to make room for a bunch of lousy commercials.
The advertisers are questioning our intelligence by showing those same commercials over and over again in a half hour or hour show.
If the public hears a lie enough times they start to believe it, same principal with all those commercials watch them enough and you start to believe them.

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5 replies
tortugatommie March 30 2014 at 9:37 AM

Propaganda (1928)

by Edward Bernays

[The] American business community was also very impressed with the propaganda effort. They had a problem at that time. The country was becoming formally more democratic. A lot more people were able to vote and that sort of thing. The country was becoming wealthier and more people could participate and a lot of new immigrants were coming in, and so on.
So what do you do? It's going to be harder to run things as a private club. Therefore, obviously, you have to control what people think. There had been public relation specialists but there was never a public relations industry. There was a guy hired to make Rockefeller's image look prettier and that sort of thing. But this huge public relations industry, which is a U.S. invention and a monstrous industry, came out of the first World War. The leading figures were people in the Creel Commission. In fact, the main one, Edward Bernays, comes right out of the Creel Commission. He has a book that came out right afterwards called Propaganda. The term "propaganda," incidentally, did not have negative connotations in those days. It was during the second World War that the term became taboo because it was connected with Germany, and all those bad things. But in this period, the term propaganda just meant information or something like that. So he wrote a book called Propaganda around 1925, and it starts off by saying he is applying the lessons of the first World War. The propaganda system of the first World War and this commission that he was part of showed, he says, it is possible to "regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies." These new techniques of regimentation of minds, he said, had to be used by the intelligent minorities in order to make sure that the slobs stay on the right course. We can do it now because we have these new techniques.
This is the main manual of the public relations industry. Bernays is kind of the guru. He was an authentic Roosevelt/Kennedy liberal. He also engineered the public relations effort behind the U.S.-backed coup which overthrew the democratic government of Guatemala.
His major coup, the one that really propelled him into fame in the late 1920s, was getting women to smoke. Women didn't smoke in those days and he ran huge campaigns for Chesterfield. You know all the techniques—models and movie stars with cigarettes coming out of their mouths and that kind of thing. He got enormous praise for that. So he became a leading figure of the industry, and his book was the real manual.

—Noam Chomsky

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tinhed1155 March 30 2014 at 12:13 PM

They dont brainwash me.. If I find I'm overly attracted to some kind of advertising, I ignore it and turn the other way. I wont play their games. If while in a grocery store and I find myself looking at or thinking about things I didnt go there for, then I know it's the subliminal suggestions coming through the music system and focus on what I came there for, buy only that item and walk out. Yes!!! You too can overcome this kind of "Mind Control".. It's called "Mind Over Matter"...

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GUNSLINGER March 30 2014 at 8:06 AM

I only shop "INDIAN STYLE"!!!!!

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bonitoking61 March 30 2014 at 1:02 PM

Aol , what you don't like freedom of speech.

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francismaroni March 30 2014 at 11:06 AM

The ads that I am sick and tired of seeing is GEICO, PROGRESSIVE, ALLSTATE, there is not 1 second in the day on every channel that these commercials are not on brainwashing us my god how much money can these auto insurance companys be making that they can afford to constantly keep advertising. Here is a thought if they were to reduce the amount of times they advertise that would save them millions then in theory couldn't they pass some of those savings on to us by lowering our insurance rates seems every time I get my new insurance bill it goes up even though I have no tickets or accidents when I call the insurance company I here the same old song and dance due to the rising costs they have to have a rate increase if they would stop brainwashing us 10,000 times a day with their commercials they would not have to keep raising everyones rates. Think about what they are paying for these commercials!

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2 replies
simba2014 francismaroni March 30 2014 at 11:26 AM

I totally agree with francismaroni these auto insurance commercial wars are ridiculous not only on tv but everywhere you turn its either Geico or Progressive I cannot fathom how much money they are spending on advertising I understand they have to advertise but this is crazy this is no longer advertising it is now brainwashing enough is enough with these stupid auto insurance commercials they insult peoples integrity!

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louisandmaryg francismaroni March 30 2014 at 12:37 PM

The worst offendersin my opinion is the Allstate advertisement which promises you a refund check several times a year if you don't have an accident. So you are receiving back some of your own money because the policy was overpriced in the beginning. If I want my own money, I think that I should be able to keep it in my own bank, earning my own interest, instead of trusting it to Allstate. In essence, they are bringing the idea of the whole life insurance policy, which they combine a small part of insurance with a large savings premium with almost no interest growth.

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Dan March 30 2014 at 12:32 PM

Hey! I may be impressed by a Coca Cola ad but if Pepsi or RC is on sale for a cheaper price than Coke, then that's what I'll buy or I'll buy the less expensive store brand. All that stuff about the influence of subliminal messages is greatly exaggerated. The story about such messages on a movie theater screen boosting snack bar sales is an untrue urban legend. Although college psychology professors mention it in lectures, it is never mentioned in any text book mainly because it never happened. ☺

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msglinguist March 30 2014 at 10:42 PM

Obama has this all over the place. Nothing but a big ad campaign with no substance.

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Iris March 30 2014 at 2:10 PM

That's business.
Just because some companies have smart marketing ,please do no knock them.
We need all the sales we can make in this country from our made in AMERICA groups.

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1 reply
dickn2000b Iris March 30 2014 at 7:56 PM

Your comments make no sense. Why would you think that people would knock companies that have smart marketing? Dumb marketing Yes! But not smart marketing. And are you suggesting that people should not criticize, complain and boycott companies with inferior products and dumb marketing simply because they're made in America? You must be either pretty naïve or from another country or world...that's not the American way.

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schnssda March 30 2014 at 12:51 PM

I was drawn in for a Papa Johns Hamburger Pizza. The commercial was good and those twin girls were priceless.....the pizza was terrible and I am going for my 100% refund today....The 100% refund was part of their advertising as well....

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