I see bill-boards up and down the Highways that proclaim, “Advertising Works,” but I am not so sure they actually work on me. Do they work on you?
I must confess that I do enjoy certain TV ads, but they rarely motivate me to buy anything. I often hear the claim made about advertising working, but it is generally being made by someone in the advertising business.
Of course, it is important for a business to get its name and products out before the market place, but I suspect that a great deal of money is wasted on advertising.
Are we really that easily manipulated as a society?
I recently was waiting in an office for an appointment and flipped through a magazine. I am not sure why anyone would pay several bucks for that magazine as 80% of it was advertisements, but it did get me to thinking that someone believes it works and is investing in that belief. Those ads are not cheap.
As I scanned the magazine I saw that several of the ads were for men’s clothing. The old adage, “The clothes make the man” was the tone and image of most of those ads.
Brooks Brothers for example had an advertisement which depicted the firm as an upscale clothier. The ad conveyed a tone that if a man does not wear clothes from their firm, then that man is not well-clothed. There was also another ad for expensive shirts and ties which were casually wrinkled as if to suggest that business for the day is finished and it is time to relax. There was a byline saying, “Everyone can find themselves at Brooks Brothers.” Are they suggesting that if I do not wear Brooks Brothers’ clothing perhaps I am yet to find myself? The ad used the image of an executive after work, now more casually attired; lounging elsewhere, away from the office. Even with the slight wrinkling in the ad, the quality and configuration of the garments suggest power, authority, and money.
The ad carried a declaration, “Established in 1818” to imply that the suggestions in the ad must be true since the firm has stood the test of time. The obvious intent is to stir up emotions to make a man who does not wear a Brooks Brothers’ shirts wish that he did and go out and buy.
In the late nineteenth century, Brooks Brothers introduced the button-down collar which became a staple in the closets of men. I am glad that they introduced the button-down collar, but I have never been motivated to buy one because of their ads. I buy it because I like the way it looks and it prevents my collar from being goofy. The cultural image shouts “Privileged.”
From a cultural aspect, the ad reminds me of the lines within our culture. They appeal to the well-dressed man and that is ok, but I am reminded that there is something to be said for every man trying to look his best, be clean and polished, even if he cannot afford to wear Brooks Brothers.
I believe the truth is, “The clothes do not make the man.” They simply help make him look better.
I see some ads that lean toward political. I don’t much like those. I think Chevron has a couple that get close to that description airing at this moment in time. They carry the “We agree . . . ” message.
It seems there are advertisements for everything. Some of the things advertised are so personal they can be embarrassingly difficult to watch on TV in mixed company.
The drug company ads are a hoot. The ad will tell you how significantly a particular drug can improve your life, but then warns about the possible side effects of the drug. The list of the side effects seems to be far worse than the condition that needs to be treated with medication.
My personal favorite ads are the McDonald ads, but they don’t make me rush out and buy a Big Mac.
The beer commercials are often designed to be funny and sometimes they accomplish that. But, more often they make me wonder about how many kids across American didn’t see their dad that night because he was in a bar drinking that product.
The point of an ad is for one guy to tell us why his product is bigger and better than the other guy’s product. The ads often imply, “You can’t live without this . . .”
My dad loved the Tide detergent commercials and believed that tide was the best detergent on the market. I am not sure what he knew about detergents, but he swore by Tide. I know that there were times when my mom bought a less expensive brand to save a bit of money and he would have a fit. She would simply pour the cheaper brand in the Tide box and all was well.
My favorite ads are generally those with a jingle and I occasionally find myself humming such a jingle. A few years back, I read an article about a small boat filled with people who had been intercepted by the Coast Guard as they sought to enter the USA illegally. The only thing the boat people knew in the English language was the jingle, “Have you had your break today” from a McDonald’s ad. Those folks had risked their lives in that small boat in open water. Did they really come here to take a break at McDonald’s? Perhaps ads do work and I am just not willing to admit to myself that I am easily influenced.
On FB, I saw that a friend had posted the statement above about small business. I liked it and agree with its message. Do we take money out of circulation in our communities that help us all because we have been seduced by flashy advertisements?
Do you think advertising works? What ads inspire you to buy a certain product?