"Running It Up A Flagpole To See If Anyone Salutes"


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based on Berger's, Ads, Fads and Consumer Culture, Chapter 4

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"Running It Up A Flagpole To See If Anyone Salutes"

  1. 1. Art of Persuasion (Ads & Fads, Berger) We spend at least ten hours a day with our media. Our lives are saturated by the media.
  2. 2. More than ¼ of our time watching television (and listening to radio) is devoted to commercials. <ul><li>Product placement and personalized mobile and social media ads are “part of the creep of advertising into every nook and cranny of our lives.” –Gary Ruskin, director of consumer group, Commercial Alert </li></ul>
  3. 3. Television commercials <ul><li>Cost five to ten times as much per minute to make (not counting the cost of purchasing air time) than the programs during which they are aired. This means we are exposed to the work of some of the most sophisticated artists, writers, directors, musicians, and performers—whose sole purpose is to manipulate our behavior and get us to do what they want us to do, use the product or service being advertised. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Illusion of Control <ul><li>Is it possible to be unaware of advertisements and commercials? If not, is it possible to be immune to their influence? And is it not likely that the illusion many people have—that they aren’t affected by advertising—contributes to their seduction by the advertisements and commercials to which they are exposed? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Carl Jung <ul><li>“ Many people mistakenly overestimate the role of willpower and think that nothing can happen to their minds that they do not decide or intend. But we must learn carefully to discriminate between intentional and unintentional contents of the mind.” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Freud’s unconscious <ul><li>According to Freud, we are not aware of everything that goes on in our minds and, in fact, only a small percentage of our mental activity is accessible to us. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Is Pavlov the founder of modern advertising? <ul><li>Pavlov took a neutral object and, by associating it with a meaningful object, made it a symbol of something else; he imbued it with imagery, he gave it added value. </li></ul><ul><li>Although the specifics of Coke’s test are a secret, the company says it attempts to evaluate how well a commercial “conditions” a viewer to accept a positive image that can be transferred to the product. Ads that score high in tests almost always result in higher sales. </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Branded Individual <ul><li>Those who claim they are not influenced by advertising are more vulnerable to it. When people who use brand name products are asked why they do, they invariably ‘play back the message’—repeat the claim, sometimes verbatim, made by the advertiser in the commercial. (Martin Solow, “The Case of the Closet Target”) </li></ul><ul><li>Branding: developing an emotional tie between individuals and images they have of the product. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Branding, the process of differentiation <ul><li>At the core of advertising, branding distinguishes similar products. Most major shampoos, for example, are made by only two or three manufactures. The thrust of advertising is to remind consumers to seek out and purchase a particular brand. </li></ul><ul><li>Branding seeks to nullify or compensate for the fact that products are otherwise fundamentally interchangeable. We become attached to brands and they help us form an identity. </li></ul><ul><li>Most consumers can’t tell the difference between brands </li></ul>
  10. 10. “ Halo Effect” <ul><li>An established brand extends itself to sell other products (Mont Blanc pens now sell expensive watches). </li></ul>
  11. 11. Selling ourselves and becoming alienated <ul><li>We learn to market ourselves, and our brand names provide a sense of security. We are always marketing ourselves to others by using products that announce to others our sense of who we are, and by implication, what our socioeconomic level is and what kind of taste we have. Whether we are successes or failures is tied, we are taught by advertising, to what we can afford. </li></ul>
  12. 12. The Postmodern Identity <ul><li>Our personalities are to a considerable degree based on the material culture (products) we make part of our lives. But the products keep changing. This is part of our postmodern world, in which we sample different styles and identities to suit our whims. The problem is that identity suggests some kind of coherence, and a constantly changing identity is a contradiction in terms. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Self-Alienation <ul><li>We become alienated from ourselves; we learn to see ourselves as malleable ‘material’ that we can mold to suit our purposes. But the cost is a kind of estrangement from any true self that we might have been able to form. We are so absorbed in manipulating others that we don’t recognize that we have also manipulated our own sense of self and identity. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Traditional societies vs. postmodern societies <ul><li>There is a kind of stagnation on one extreme and a kind of restless, mind-numbing change at the other extreme. We must find middle ground that allows for change but does not lead to alienation and estrangement. </li></ul><ul><li>Our sense of style and desires affect our choices of friends, mates, restaurants, pets, cars, homes, jobs, clothes, schools, colleges and vacations. </li></ul>
  15. 15. The Suspension of Disbelief <ul><li>The way people become involved in a drama as if they were actually part of it </li></ul><ul><li>Places customers in a relaxed and unguarded state, such that it is easier to sell them products </li></ul><ul><li>The item we purchase becomes part of our fantasy life; we suspend disbelief and, in most cases, the strictures of the ego and superego, when we buy things. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Id, Ego, Superego <ul><li>Id represents desire and lust, energy </li></ul><ul><li>Ego represents knowledge of reality, mediator </li></ul><ul><li>Superego represents conscience and guilt, restraint </li></ul><ul><li>-The ego mediates between our ids and superegos, between our desires, on the one hand, and our sense of guilt, on the other hand. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Ernest Dichter, The Strategy of Desire <ul><li>“ Many of our daily decisions are governed by motivations over which we have no control and of which we are often quite unaware.” It is our unconscious desires and urges that shape our behavior in many different areas, including purchasing products and services. We repress so much material in our unconscious that we sometimes find ourselves doing things at its command. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Maximizers vs. Satisfizers (Barry Schwartz, The Agony of Choice) <ul><li>Maximizers: must have the best, very high expectations, anxiety (troubled by the notion that they could have done better, no matter how good a deal </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfizers: good enough is acceptable, modest or low expectations, ease </li></ul><ul><li>People would do well to avoid trying to maximize and settle for good enough </li></ul><ul><li>Buyer’s remorse </li></ul>
  19. 19. Product Placement <ul><li>The product is integrated into the action of a film and advertisers get the “halo” effect of having a famous actor or actress actually use a product. (same effect for print ads) </li></ul><ul><li>Pepto Bismol in Law and Order/Bud light in Survivor </li></ul><ul><li>The equivalent of a testimonial </li></ul><ul><li>‘ literasement’: novelist writes a story featuring a product, erases the line between literature and advertising </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative Ads: Reviews, in-store advertising, Internet </li></ul>