Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Are You Influenced by Advertising?

I’ve always insisted that advertising does not influence me. I avert my eyes during the TV adverts and, when I look at my Twitter timeline, I ignore the obligatory advert flashing up just below the top tweet. Advertising passes me by, or does it?

I belong to a monthly discussion group and this afternoon the proposal was that advertising is evil. The discussion went something like this:

Surely we can ignore advertising. No we can’t. We might think that we are ignoring it but it works its way into our psyche.

Surely advertising can't harm us. Yes, it can. In the last century there were many adverts that would now make us throw up our hands in horror; adverts for smoking that involve babies (see left), adverts using the female body to sell cars, adverts convincing us that it is good to eat sugar as it helps weight loss.

We discussed the OXO family adverts, that ‘perfect’ 1960s nuclear family. We remembered the coffee romance adverts and the bizarre Meercat phenomenon. Without adverts there would be no newspapers as they rely on the revenue but then surely prices would be lower if companies didn’t have to pay such a lot for advertising.

We talked about how annoying it is when you click on a website about, for example, Spanish holidays and then get bombarded by adverts about such holidays. It’s this type of thing that is unnerving. Advertisers are delving into our lives, finding out things about us that maybe we don’t want them to know.

What do you think about advertising?


One of my favourite TV adverts (apart from Nick Kamen in the launderette, of course) is Maureen Lipman and the ‘ology’ advert for BT. 

What’s your favourite advert?


22 comments:

  1. I'm not against advertising- it gives involved parties jobs, for one thing. But if I'm not interested in an ad or commercial, I might simply pay attention to something else.

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    1. That's exactly what I thought, Cynthia, until I got talking to people about the effects that advertising has on us. I may think that I'm paying attention elsewhere but the message is still permeating my brain, I'm afraid.

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  2. What's the difference between advertising and marketing ... it's what we all do with books to sell.

    Which is what I try to tell myself when a brief foray onto a website looking at nothing in particular is followed by a bombardment of twaddle. And - if we don't buy stuff, then the people who make the stuff have no money, and how do we know what stuff there is to buy if they don't tell us, over and over and over and over ...

    So I have a hugely ambivalent attitude. I can see why a market economy needs it. But personally - I find it hugely irritated and (occasionally - such as using women's bodies to sell cars) offensive.

    But my favourite - the Cadbury's ad with the gorilla doing a Phil Collins drum riff!

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    1. Thanks for the prompt, Jo, I didn't even think to mention at the discussion group about the way I have to advertise my books. How remiss of me. I may have to google 'gorilla doing a Phil Collins' as I don't remember that ad.

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    2. You don't remember the gorilla drummer? You MUST find it.

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    3. I found it. Jo sent it to me. It is brilliant!

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  3. Hi Ros - interesting .. I don't know if you heard the Radio Today programme - they had the 'new to be' advert - that reacts to your reaction ... and it makes up copy ... well it was interesting to listen - though getting the idea across was as difficult at 8.50 or so .. as it is here an hour later!

    The BT ad .. I don't remember as I was down there (SA) .. but when it was on a tin of spam came up in the bottom right hand corner! Strange but true ... I call that.

    I don't pay attention to advertising - I note it .. but ignore it as best I can (I hope) .. though have to say the Oxo cookbook was wonderful as I started out in life ... I still have it and use it occasionally. We never used Oxo though - always making gravies and sauces from the pans.

    Oh yes - that new type of advertising I mentioned - was in a bus stop ... where they're testing it ... and obviously if you stood in that bus stop you wouldn't say 'I hate ... that advert ...' because it would hear you!!! However I do hate that Meercat one, positively loathe it!

    Can't think of one I enjoy ... cheers Hilary

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    1. I don't like the sound of adverts that react to my reaction. Far too 'Big Brotherish'!

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  4. Ouch, that baby ad is just awful! Here we had the Marlboro man, a handsome cowboy promoting cigarettes. For me it was interesting that in the years following after I stopped smoking, I was hyper-aware of cigarette advertising. It was as if they were trying to get me back to smoking again.Here we have a cute ad with an old couple that finds a package with swifter or whatever it is called dusting products outside their front door.. Then the wife cleans while the husband snoozes in his chair. It is just adorable.

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    1. How could they ever even think of using babies for cigarette ads? Awful, isn't it.

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  5. I know I am influenced by advertising. If there is a product I think I might want or want to try (food), a good ad gets me in the store to actually look at it. Here in the states, around Christmas time, Budweiser has some really pretty ads with their Clydesdales in the snow. I don't want to drink their beer, but I think favorably about the company. Advertising serves a purpose, however I do think it's getting more intrusive.

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    1. One of my favourite Christmas ad is the CocaCola one. Wonder if you get the same one with the young boy gazing at a brightly lit train.

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    2. Yep - Coca Cola always hits a sentimental note at Christmas. Good one!

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  6. If you were trying to persuade me that advertising is evil, you shot yourself in the foot with Beattie and the 'Ology' ad. I also lived the Homepride men. Did I buy Homepride? No. Did I stick with BT if there was a better offer? No. So my answer is that I don't like adverts which inturde, but they're annoying, not evil.

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    1. I see what you're getting at. I too loved the Homepride men but never bought the bread. I do think that the theory about subliminal advertising is true though.

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    2. Some subliminal advertising works on some people, I agree. And I apologise for the lack of editing in my original comment! Late evening is not my best time!

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  7. I think adverts work the wrong way on me. (I've been involved in writing/marketing/PR all my life so I don't look at it like most people do) Years ago there was an advert for Rolos that basically consisted of chocolate being poured in a kind of spiral to create one. (Sort of like this) but it always made me want a Walnut Whip!

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    1. I remember those Rolo adverts and there was also the one where they said, "Do you love someone enough to give them your last Rolo?" What was that all about? Wonder if they ever sold any as a result of that jingle!

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  8. Have you ever watched an advertisement and wondered what on earth its about, there was one recently that I, on seeing it first, could not make out what it was for. Was it advertising a new Sci-fi film or crisps........it turned out to be for coffee (or was it the other way around?) Anyway its clever marketing ploy don't you think, making the viewer watch it all the way through to find out what the product is, mind you I cannot remember the brand either. The thing I remember most are the jingles....A million house wives everyday pick up a tin of beans and say Beans Means Heinz or that awful Shake and Vac, (that puts the freshness back.) Now, that is clever advertising.

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    1. I agree that some adverts are so obscure it's a waste of the manufacturer's money. I used to buy that shake and vac and copy the ad. The memory makes me cringe!

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  9. I try to record everything on commercial channels so I can fast forward during the adverts as I hate them so much,except for the meercats,lol.

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    1. The problem is that w're influenced by adverts in more ways that the TV though. Annoying, isn't it.

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