Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Raise Your Hand If You're Sure!

What is the number one feeling that ads sell?

I was walking with my wife the other day through one of those fake small-town Main-Street type shopping-center-malls. We looked at large posters of beautiful women smiling in the window of a cosmetic shop. Now my wife makes and sells her own jewelry designs, so she is tuned into what women will buy and why.

"What are they selling most of all?" I asked her. "Beauty," she said. "No," I replied, "not just that." "Glamor," she said. Again I said, "Yes, but in addition to that." "What then?" she asked.

"Confidence," was my reply.

When you look behind almost any advertisement, it is selling a kind of certainty, a security. When you buy this product you can feel good about yourself and know that you did the right thing and you can depend on it; you can have self-confidence. Or something like that.

It does not matter if it's cat food, or lipstick, or beer, or cell phones, or cars or insurance. When you buy our product, congratulations. You've made the right choice, you can relax since you've made this wise decision.

And this is why everyone is smiling in ads; it's because they feel confident, as I have pointed out in a previous blog, Why Is Everyone Smiling?

Now, what is the number one feeling that advertisements use to get us to buy?

Lack of confidence.

If you don't buy the right antiperspirant, will you be sure? If you buy the wrong makeup, the man in your life might not love you.

Just about every ad is designed to make us feel discontented, unsatisfied, and uncertain about who we are and what we are doing. The combined effect of all advertising is to make us feel inadequate. We should have more, be further along, be admired more, look different, be something else.

I have talked to women of quite different ages and they have universally volunteered on their own (that is without my prompting) that they feel tremendous pressure from the media to alter their looks. Just about every woman feels vulnerable. Her hair is too curly or too straight, her lips are too thin or too thick, her skin is too pale, her eyelashes are all wrong, her nose is too big, her ears standout, and on and on and on.

But if she buys the right lipstick, she can feel confident that she looks good, or the right hair color or the right bra or the right shoes...

Now I've written about this before and I will do it again. The very ads that make us uncertain about ourselves, sell us certainty. The ads that undermine our sense of ourselves sell us an identity. The advertisements that make us feel inadequate sell us confidence.

Is that really that way you want to live your life? Is it an agenda you want to follow? Isn't there something better than this?

Keep reading the Rebel Consumer.


At 3:14 AM, Blogger Hafiz said...

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