The “Technology” of Advertising
By Teagan N.
Think that you didn’t buy a product for its commercial? Think again.
Every day, advertising is used on millions of devices. Televisions, computers, tablets, and phones all show the average viewer dozens of ads to try and convince a person to buy something. And many times, the advertising succeeds. A child might see a toy on T.V. and have it in their hands the next day. Or, a person may be watching a YouTube video and have an ad for a video game on the app store, and soon that game is on their phone’s memory. What we don’t realize about advertising is that it uses many tricks and tools of the trade to inspire people to buy their products. Let’s take a look at how this works.
Picture this: You’re on your computer trying to find out how to get to the Monitor Newspaper page so you can read amazing articles. Along the way, there is an ad for McDonalds’ new Happy Meal box. There are kids dancing around, the Ronald McDonald mascot is giving them Happy Meals, and the sun is shining. All of these are things that correlate with happiness, and automatically, even if you don’t realize it and just want to get to the Monitor, your brain has put “happy” and “Happy Meal” in the same category. A person in this situation might feel hungry later, and then remember the Happy Meal commercial. Perhaps they will go and buy a Happy Meal because of it. This example happens all the time with other products such as chocolate, medicine, and electronics.
There are two types of advertising, logical persuasion (LP) and nonrational influence (NI). While LP focuses on giving the information and properties of a product, NI correlates things that make people happy with products, even though the two may have nothing in common. There was a study focusing on how we react to LP and NI advertising. The LP ads that they used in the study included an ad showing the properties of cigarettes and dog food, while the NI ads included an ad that featured “a cigarette ad showing a woman leapfrogging over a fire hydrant that is spraying water as a man grins behind her.” While it may seem strange that these ads can convince people to buy a product, it was shown in the study that these ads involved less thinking about the product, which led to more motivational feelings to buy the product. It isn’t farfetched to buy a car because it reminds one of pleasure anymore.
As corporations use CGI and professional actors to portray happy scenes with families to promote their product, they also use psychology to try and convince the public how useful the product is and how it can change your life. NI advertising affects us more than we think, which continues to also affect the amount of money in our wallets. The more attention that is paid during commercials, the less mind-tricking advertising is doing to us.