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)