Kelly Ann Butterbaugh1 found this helpful
June 29, 2008
The Lures of Advertising
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.
Kelly Ann Butterbaugh0 found this helpful
May 14, 2008
Do You Need This Product?
While teaching advertising, I've come to be quite a skeptic. Aware of the various methods of advertising, I tend to focus most on the Parable of Created Needs. What this advertising method says is that manufacturers create a need for a product, persuading consumers to purchase it because it's a necessity. Listerine succeeded in 1914 when it warned of halitosis, and products are doing it today. We all fall victim to this lure. While I love the smell of Febreze, I must admit that I truly could live without the product.
The Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner
I have yet to meet anyone who's agreed that this product works. That aside, the premise is that by hanging this automatic shower cleaner which requires several batteries to operate and pressing its button once a day, the cleaner sprays the shower stall thus cleaning it. The product costs between $25-$30 and lasts approximately a month. Considering it would take at most half an hour each week to clean a shower stall, the consumer is paying this product $12-$15 per hour to clean.
Toilet Brushes That Need to be Disposable?
Yes, toilet brushes aren't pleasant, but do they really need to be disposable after each use? I can find a toilet brush in most dollar stores, and even Walmart sells one for under $2.50. That coupled with a dip in bleach keeps it clean for a few uses. Prices vary around the country, but I found the Clorox Toilet Wand with two handles and six disposable heads to cost from $10-$12 with refill packs of six priced from $3.50-$4.50.
Scrubbing Bubbles Fresh Brush with one handle and four disposable heads cost between $5-$6.50 and a pack of twelve heads cost $4.50-$5.50. The rough average is .97 per cleaning with a disposable wand.
Pure, Clean, Fragranced Air
Most everyone likes a home to smell nice, but the importance of smell seems to be on the rise. The Glade company lists twelve families of air freshening products. The commercial which depicts a family waiting for the Glade Wisp air freshener to "puff" another burst of scented air makes this product seem not only fun but essential. Yet, the cost may not be so fun. Each puffing dispenser costs $9.49 for .26 oz. of liquid. Febreze also has created several options to air freshening. One is the simple aerosol spray which creates a pleasant smell while killing harmful bacteria, Febreze Air Effects. Each 9.7 oz. can costs between $4-$5. The more advanced Febreze NOTICEable is a plug-in freshener which alternates between two smells. It's a good idea, but the original plug-in costs close to $10. The .879 oz. refills cost $6. That's a hefty price tag for sweet smells.
If it's a favorite product, then splurge and enjoy it. Products are made to make people happy. Simply evaluate the product's abilities and costs before making a strong consumer decision. Not every family is going to sit around and watch the air freshener puff; more likely than not they won't even notice it's in the room.
Editor's Note: What are some of your "favorite" products that you don't need?