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Advertising Essay, Research Paper

Mass Communication Process Thesis Paper Advertising (Chapter 11) Advertising

is a necessary market force that is responsible for the success of most, and

involved in all, forms of Multimedia. It is also responsible for some of our

most powerful and long-living icons that dominate the American landscape.

Advertising, like it or not, is everywhere. It is on buses, billboards and

hot-air balloons. It invades our living rooms, our classrooms and almost every

aspect of human life. The average American is exposed to 115 advertisements

during their morning commute. With this much exposure to the consumer market,

one wonders weather or not this is good or bad for the population at large. Not

surprisingly, professionals have disputed advertising?s effect across the

globe. In this paper I do not want to look at the effects of advertising as much

as the techniques in which the advertisers choose to convey their message. I

intend to argue and support that the several techniques used by advertisers are

underhanded and, in some cases, downright unethical. Advertisers use several

different techniques for selling products. One can analyze these as persuasive

techniques. This first point summarizes the oldest and most conventional

persuasive techniques Most are considered perfectly ethical at first glance, but

when you examine them further, things are not always as they appear. Two of

these techniques include the plain-folks pitch, and snob appeal. These two

techniques are used quite often. Both hope to attract your attention by getting

you to establish a need for the products. In the Plain-folks pitch, advertisers

try to make things appear much simpler than they are. An example of a typical

Plain-folks pitch is Toyota?s current pitch, ?Everyday?; as in everyday

people drive Toyota cars. The Snob approach, on the other hand tries to make you

believe that upon the purchase of their product you will be accepted into the

elitist society in which you always aspired to be a part of. These

advertisements are used when advertising most luxury items. Another approach is

the Bandwagon effect. This approach preys on the ?keeping up with the Jones?

fear that most people possess. It also relates to the feeling that if it is good

enough for the majority of my peers, it must be good enough for me. Finally, and

perhaps the most unethical technique is the hidden fear approach. This technique

preys on people?s fear to sell a product. It is most abused by the low

involvement products. Deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo and other products that are

easily substituted for by their competitors are extremely guilty for this type

of advertising. A Deodorant commercial even went far enough to say if you did

not use their product, you would be banished by society and forced to live the

remainder of your life as a hermit. These hidden approaches are considered to be

unethical by most experts in the field. These techniques incite irrational fears

in people. The hidden fear approach still it remains as one of the most

successful advertising techniques used. Another way in which one can examine

advertising techniques is through the Association Principle. The Association

Principle is summarized by Campbell as the association of a product with some

cultural value or image that has a positive connotation but may have very little

connection to the actual product. (Campbell 361) This is also a reason that

people are distrustful toward advertisers. Using this principal in advertising

is just another way in which people are tricked into believing that a product is

something that it is not. Cigarettes, when sold in Newport advertisements, are

associated with people who have bright white smiles, who are thin, and who are

having the most amazing time. When in reality, smokers have a forty percent

better chance of being depressed, ninety-five percent of smokers are over

weight, and everybody knows that a smoking turns teeth yellow. This is just a

small example of the association principle, but you can clearly see how it

works. In another example demonstrated in Campbell, The Gallo Wine Company

advertised an entire line of wines featuring two older entrepreneurs as the

owners of the Bartley & Jaymes Company. This company was a total fabrication

that the Gallo Company felt would relate to more of America?s younger

generation of wine drinkers. (Campbell 361) Yet another way to analyze ads as

deceptive selling tools is to analyze them through the Myth Analysis Technique.

Campbell defines this Technique in saying that ads are constructed as an

extremely short narrative that involves some conflict in which the conflict is

solved with incredible ease by the product being advertised. (Campbell 363) A

recognizable example of this is in one of the Miller Lite commercials. In this

situation, a male is shown alone at his house watching a game. Once he opens a

Miller Lite, the room fills with friends, beautiful girls, and the best time

that a popular guy would ever want to have. This commercial, in essence, states

that if you are lonely (Conflict), all that you need to become the popular,

party guy is a case of Miller Lite (Resolution) and your prayers will be

answered. This is totally untrue since a beer will not make you more popular,

and in extreme cases may turn you into an alcoholic. The example given by

Campbell is of the Marlboro Man. He is a representation of the individual rugged

spirit that is sought after by much of the population in our culture and in

cultures around the world. ?A conflict is generated by the audiences implicit

understanding of what is not in the ad—a fast paced, technology-driven urban

world where most smoking actually takes place. This implied conflict between the

natural world and thee manufactured world is apparently resolved by invoking the

image of Marlboro.? (Campbell 363) Through Myth Analysis, Marlboro will

transport any smoker from the technological world in which we live to a world in

which you ride horses and rustle cattle. Advertising is extremely important to

the economy of the world. It drives the market and pays for most of the

entertainment that so many of us Americans Enjoy. It is also the only way that

we are furnished information about new and innovative products. As I hope was

demonstrated in this paper, advertising does come with a price. As targets of

advertising campaigns, we need to be more objective of the messages that are

being fed to us by the corporations of America. If we are not careful, one could

be lead by the media gods down a path of destruction from which there is no

return. As stated in the thesis, advertisers use many underhanded techniques to

sell us their products, and only the consumer can make a change.

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