The Lures of Advertising

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Advertising may seem entertaining, we may come in from the kitchen to see the latest commercial, but it's job is to sell products, and it does this very well. From the day early man decided to sell his carved wooden tool to another man, advertising has been a part of our lives. It may seem honest at times, but beneath it all are the great parables of advertising, and the more we as consumers are aware of them the less we'll fall into their traps.


The Captivated Child

Any product aimed at parents will utilize this tool. "If you use this product your children will love you." In the days of black and white sketched ads in women's magazines, children have been begging their moms to buy products that will make them happy. Kraft cheese will make them healthier, Neosporin will heal them better, and Ovaltine shakes will make them happy. All of these ad campaigns rely on the guilt parents feel and the desire to give their children everything. Ask yourself, "Will it really benefit them more than another product?" Most likely your answer is "no."

The First Impression

Ever have one of those days where you went grocery shopping in your pajama bottoms, sure that no one you knew would see you? The story's ending is predictable; you meet not only your new neighbor but her sister visiting from Oregon as well. You're mortified. This is the power of the first impression and our ever present desire to keep it perfect.


Static cling, dandruff, dry skin, frizzy hair, they all deter from our perfect first impressions. We must smell fresh, look ironed, be well coiffed, and have straight white teeth at all times or our lives will fall to shambles. Try this: look through a women's magazine and count the ads that rely on looks and impressions. Surprised? You shouldn't be; it's strong bait.

Livin' on the Edge

What would lure a simple suburban housewife into a flashy new vehicle more than an edgy lifestyle? How can that business executive be convinced to vacation at this resort? Project an adventurous and exciting image and make the people want that. Car ads don't show mini vans in the parent pick-up line at school or the drive-thru of a McDonald's for good reason; it's not interesting enough.


Instead, the lure to drive through rugged terrain, snowdrifts, and serpentine streets sells trucks and speedy cars. I'll be surprised the day I find the need to commute across the Arizona desert to go to work.

What Can We Do?

Nothing. Advertisements will continue to tempt us with their grasp on our needs and wants. What we must do is learn to identify these tools and dismantle them. We need the practical car for our daily lives, and if we are Nevada ranch hands then maybe that truck is for us. Yet, if we're soccer moms it may not work too well. We don't need to be sparkling white, minty fresh, Zestfully clean, and completely spot free. Spots happen, teeth yellow, and kids don't stay clean. The sooner we admit that the less we'll spend in our attempts to grab at the advertising carrots being dangled before our eyes.

The Lures of Advertising

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