- Politics and Social Issues
Negative influence of Advertising on Consumers
Consumers have never taken a step back to examine the effects of advertising on their spending habits. Sometimes an advertisement is so good that the average consumer will go out and buy that product only to find out later that what they saw in the advertisement is very different in reality. Today’s advertisements use tactics that are invasive and controlling. For example, when a tobacco company uses advertisements and play up the role that the little warning on the pack, they are just trying to make the consumer believe that they are ethical; Several oil companies advertise and show that they are friendly to nature, but that is not true at all.
Several laws have been passed to try to reign in rogue marketing practices but those in the industry have always found ways to go around this. The use of subliminal advertising is becoming the vogue in advertising. You may spot an advertisement that is getting the message pout that drinking, no matter what your age is, will make you look sexier. They even go out to show gorgeous models eying virile looking men who are imbibing on that particular brand of alcohol. This will have the effect of pushing the consumer to drink in the hopes of becoming like those virile men and turning the heads of every female in the establishment; a perception that quickly turns to disappointment.
The use of negatives in advertising is also a way to go round the rules that the regulators of the advertising industry lay out. Consumers do not process negatives therefore when an advertisement says “not to be taken by persons under the age of 20 is processed as “to be taken by persons under the age of 20”. According to the advertiser, they have told the truth about their product and the regulator has no legal grounds for action against the advertiser.
Advertisements focus on materialism and consumption. Ideally, advertisements are meant to create demand for goods that may not be of any real value to the consumer. Fast food advertisements do not show any obese characters in their advertisement, but show young children having fun while eating as much fast food as they can. Childhood obesity and other diet related complications are on the rise due to this.
Advertising also has negative effects on the values of society today. Religious and cultural values are being eroded by the type of advertisements that are on the air today. Advertisers have no compunction about using sexual overtones as a way of promoting their products. Vulnerable groups such as children, minorities and the disadvantaged in society are being deluded by advertisements showing that they will “escape” from their predicament of they use a particular product or service.
Many consumers feel that they are in control of their decision on what to buy. With the methods being used by advertisers today, the consumer has no idea that this decision was made by the person who designed that particular advertisement, and that what they spend their money on is not necessarily what they would have bought had they not watched a particular advertisement.