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How Advertising Can be Used to Influence Decisions

Everybody is influenced my the media, sometimes even without realizing it.

An average American is exposed to around 1000 messages per day that can influence actions and decisions. People are constantly bombarded on a daily basis by media and other literature that is used to persuade and influence everyday decisions such as what we buy, who we vote for and what we think about.

               The most prominent form of literature that is seen is commercial ads. An article from the Union of Concerned Scientists says “Globally, corporations spend over $620 billion each year to make their products seem desirable and to get us to buy them.” Companies that advertise have a distinct advantage over companies that do not advertise. An article written by Doyle L. Weiss says “Research suggests that the effects of advertising on sales are both measurable and significant.” Advertising affects the brain subconsciously. A person might not pay attention to the advertisement, but when the brain takes it in, that product will stand out to the person more than other products that have not been seen in other places. The COE E. of Coca Cola, Neville Isdell said “The company will increase its global marketing expenditures by $350-400 million in 2005 and successive years.” Coca Cola is the most widely known brand of soda for a reason. There are many other brands of soda, but Coca Cola has run so many advertisements that their product is what people will think of and buy first.

               During elections in America there are political advertisements everywhere, both positive and negative. Many Americans are either Democrat or Republican, and will usually vote for the candidate of their political party. A recent survey by the Project on Campaign Conduct says “The conventional wisdom among campaign professionals is that negative ads do, in fact, work. That is, while voters might not like negative ads, their perceptions of candidates attacked in negative ads are tarnished by the information they are exposed to.” The longer an image of a candidate is maintained in the minds of the voters, the more difficult it is to change that image. Although when a negative ad aims at something voters consider to be out of bounds, the effects of an ad might be the opposite of the intended results. The survey showed that 59% of people believe that all or most candidates deliberately twist the truth. That number would be significantly lower without negative advertising because the negative advertising often shows how the candidates lie and twist the truth.

               Over all, every advertisement we see is being used to influence out thoughts. A research paper on post experience advertising effects says “Consumers may come to believe that their past product experience had been as suggested by the advertising.” This research also suggests that a person’s memories can be changed over time by advertising. If someone views a Coca Cola advertisement that shows how happy everyone is who drinks a Coke, over time that person can begin to associate Coca Cola with being happy and having a good time. This effect is on the long term, over the course of a decade. The long term effects of advertising could make it harder for smaller businesses, and newer companies to gain an edge in today’s market.

               The number of advertisements seen by Americans is increasing at an alarming rate. All over the world billions of dollars are spent every year to influence people’s decisions. Every time a person views an advertisement, the advertisement will affect that person’s actions whether it is a conscious decision or not.

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