would you feel if you knew that you were being manipulated on a daily basis,
without even being aware of it? In our world today, we are surrounded by
various different advertisements. Whether they are in the magazines we look at
daily, or even on TV, as well as different social media platforms. We live in a little bubble where we are
constantly surrounded by different influential platforms; the most significant
one being advertisements.
many years, various companies have gone through different techniques figuring
out, which technique is more effective when it comes to selling a product to
their customers. Through decades, advertisements have grown at a vast
pace. This is shown through the
comparison of advertisements in the 20s with advertisements today. Advertisements in the 1920s focused on
society and culture, whilst nowadays it is more about controlling
consumer-buying behavior through manipulation. (Lowery, 2013)
In this paper,
qualitative research, through various literature pieces as well as different
online articles and websites, was used to give you an insight on various
aspects of advertising and the effect that come with it. The qualitative
research is separated into various subparts starting with the origin of the
topic, which is how our brain processes information as well as how it is
organized in relation to different methods. The body therefore consists of
subtopics of the brain, for instance how the human brain acknowledges colours
in reference to a study conducted by researchers at the University of
Missouri-Columbia, which claim that us humans link specific colours that are
present to specific brand logos and how we feel about the brand. As well as
advertisements and the emotions that are evoke and how these emotions influence
our consumer buying behavior. In contrast to these thoughts, different
approaches to advertising are discussed giving a greater insight to the advantages
and disadvantages, as well as the different tests that were conducted to obtain
the according results.
3.Different aspects of advertising:
significant aspect of advertisements would be subliminal messages, as they
greatly influence our buying behavior. Subliminal messages are a form of
manipulation to the human mind, as they convince the consumers that the
products they are viewing are products that they need. This will be analyzed
more later on. Our mind is a complicated machine; our subconscious mind and the
subliminal messages that we are taking in are at constant war. Before going
into more detail, there should be a brief understanding of what subliminal
messages actually are. The word originated from Latin “sub” meaning below and
“liminal” meaning threshold, putting it together: below threshold. They consist
of visual flashes, that are too fast for the eye to acknowledge, as well as
sounds lower then the ear can hear. (Linstrom, M.
(2008), (Solomon, M. (2009),(See Appendix 3),( (https://www.mindfithypnosis.com/what-are-subliminal-messages/))
comes to our subconscious mind you can think of it as a room where everything
(M.Rarouk Radwan, 2018), which is not in your conscious mind, is stored. Inside
this room are your memories, your experiences as well as, everything you have
gone through in the past, these can sometimes evoke imagery in our brain.
Before really linking advertisements to our brain, we need to have a better
understanding of how our brain functions. (See Appendix 1)
4.How does our brain process information?
human brain is seen as something very complicated, as certain things advanced
such as technology, the certain words used advanced as well. The way the human brain starts to process
certain information starts with our senses, which we then take in and transform
to things such as touch, sound and feelings. Once information is processed to a
certain extent, a so-called filter then decides how important the information
is that we are taking in, and therefore making it available to us.
your brain wants to process information, it has to be stored first, and only
then can it be analyzed. However, there are multiple ways a brain can actually
process information such as through; memories, working, as well as long-term
thought processes are examples of the information that we process on a daily
basis. At first, information needs to be encoded. This all occurs through the
“sensory stimuli “, where the brain is referring back to your senses. For
example, when your brain processes verbal information in this case, your brain
refers back to your memories: such as through different sounds you have heard
in the past. Once your brain passed the encoding stage, it moves on to
maintaining the stored information. Studies have stated that storing
information through memory roughly last 20 seconds. (http://www.teach-nology.com/teachers/methods/info_processing/) (See Appendix 2)
5.How information is organized in the brain?
certain time period, numerous models have been developed as to how knowledge is
organized in the brain. Some studies state that, it is based on how we retrieve
memories. However, some research has claimed that it is based on computer
science, whilst others say its based on neurophysiology. One of the models being, the “semantic
network model”, which allegates that there are certain principles representing
concepts. Though, the “connectionist model” states that information mainly
consists of patters rather than the meaning of certain situations.
once your brain has gone through all these different processes. It has to be
taken out of the storage stage. This stage is mainly considered as an
organizing stage, where all the different thoughts are organized, therefore the
brain decides what to further store and what information to additionally take
in. This is the stage of regeneration through memory, which is known as the
recall stage. (http://www.teach-nology.com/teachers/methods/info_processing/)
6.Associations the brain makes with different colours:
colours have different effects on people; we all have the tendency to have one
certain colour we prefer above the other. It is stated that the colours you use
in certain situations can say a lot about you and the work you do. The question
here is whether or not our brain is wired to like or dislike certain colours?
Each individual person reacts differently to different colours as their
associations to these specific colours differ.
A study by Wellesley College researchers further evaluates on this
by an artist named Conway, who studied how the brain processes certain colours,
and in what ways it impacts our feelings towards these colours. This study
claims that certain colours such as red, green and blue were mostly triggered
by the brain. This therefore signifies that these specific colours, promptly
impact our decision. When it comes to certain colours, there are certain
associations that are then made, these associations mainly occur in our
subconscious mind, therefore we are not fully aware as to why our brain makes
these certain associations to specific colours. One greatly discussed topic would
be how the colours of logos from brands affect their consuming behavior.
are various things when it comes to logos that the majority does not take into
consideration. Such as the colour of a logo for instance, which nowadays plays
a huge role when you’re trying to “sell” a brand. This therefore greatly
influences whether people are attracted to a specific company or not. As well
as that it also influences how the company is perceived as a whole. Researchers
at the University of Missouri-Columbia have created a study that claims that
they were able to link specific colours within logos to how people feel about
these brands. This influences the advertisement industry, without this
information they would not be able to advertise their brand and products in the
most effective way. The question here is
whether this study is considered as a way of manipulating people through the
analysis of their emotions in relation to colours and their logo.
study states that blue logos evoke confidence as well as success, whilst green
logos evoke toughness as well as sustainability. Purple logos evoke charm and
beauty. Pink logos evoke imagination as well as fashion. Whilst yellow logos,
conjure fun and modernity. Last but not least red logos, which evoke the feeling
this we can conclude, that certain colours have an influence on our emotions as
well as an effect of how we perceive certain things. Examples of when you associate certain brands
to certain colours is for instance in the case of the colour tiffany blue,
whether we view this colour plainly or in certain situations, our brain
immediately makes the association to the brand Tiffany. As mentioned previously
this all occurs in our subconscious, these associations occur in the memory
part of the way our brain processes information. As well as that when we think
of the colour yellow we immediately link it to McDonald’s. When we think of the colour blue we instantly
associate it with Facebook.
reason as to why we link these specific colours to certain brands or their
logos is as follows. This all revolves around us growing up, from a young age
onwards we were witnesses of various advertisements and brands evolving,
whether through their advertising directly or through their logo changing. We
may have not interpreted it the way we would nowadays. As in the world today we
are more aware of our surroundings and certain changes.
up we were able to look at the evolution of “advertisements”, as they have
drastically changed in various ways. One thing that should be acknowledged is
that we were passively viewing this. As you can imagine at a young age we were
not able to take in information the way we do now. So, imagine sitting either
in front of the TV, reading magazine or even looking at billboard
advertisement. In that moment, we may think to ourselves “oh look, McDonald’s
has a new burger” but subconsciously our mind more or less saves all these
occurrences also know now as “memories” and when we require this
information later on in our life our brain ejects it out of the memory part of
brain and therefore we are able to associate certain colours with certain
brands and their logos. (Cousins, 2014), (Barden, P.
(2013), (Lindstrom, M. (2013).
play a huge role when it comes to creating a successful advertising campaign
and that’s no secret in our world today. Emotions can have various effects on
us as consumers. These emotional advertisements evoke certain emotions in us
and therefore create certain memories. These memories therefore can motivate us
to take action, by buying certain products that are being presented in the
are various types of emotions you can feel in advertising, research suggests that
there are six specific emotions that can be conveyed in advertisements, such
as: Happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. Looking at each type
of emotion in greater detail we can deduct that happiness is a positive emotion
that makes you feel good about all the things you surround yourself with.
Whilst anger is the exact opposite this is an emotion you encounter when you
have a problem or a certain feeling you get towards a topic you do not like.
Sadness in most cases is when you feel empathy and compassion. Fear is usually
a feeling you encounter when you feel uncomfortable and when you are scared of
something occurring. And finally, surprise which can be seen as something good,
as well as something bad as the act of surprise can be evoked in both cases.
(Frenay, 2016), (Barden, P. (2013)
8.The power of persuasion: manipulating choices?
wanting to understand the general persuasive techniques in advertising, you
need to know the three persuasive strategies that are used, by advertisers who
want you to buy their products they include the following: Pathos, logos and
ethos. Pathos is when you appeal to the advertisement through emotions:
advertisers usually want to evoke an emotional response such as happiness for
instance. Logos tackling logical thoughts in advertisements: in this case
advertisers use facts and statistics to inform you about what the product does.
Lastly, we have ethos this is when they try to persuade you through different
characters and their credibility: in
this case advertisers try to convince you that the company is several things
such as honest, reliable and such and therefore trying to convince you to
purchase their products.
various industries, certain things are already decided beforehand such as
several years before; this therefore influences your choices. In most cases
supplier preselects certain things before you even know what you want, this
already limits you in the choices you have. Taking this into consideration
there are different techniques company’s use in order to increase the amount
being purchased by their customers. Such as something known as the “mere
exposure effect” this is when the business (suppliers) expose their customers
to their products through excessive media advertising. This is considered a
very effective technique as people generally like products more that they are
either familiar with or have heard of before.
businesses produce a wide variety of products that are almost the same at
different prices, which is crazy to think about as you as a consumer think that
they all differ greatly. Tests have shown when customers have tested products
whilst not knowing which product was cheap or expensive, they liked them both
equally. Whilst when they were aware that one product was more expensive then
the other, they immediately claimed that they preferred the expensive one
example of this case would be Coca-Cola and Pepsi they are both known as soft
drinks that are very similar in taste. Even though their ingredients are almost
identical, consumers always prefer one over the other. There are multiple other
factors that complicate the decision-making process, as mentioned previously
“associations” are one of them, as well as “subliminal messages”. (Patikar,
Tangasamy, 2014) , (Iyengar, S. (2010), (Tierney,
9.Is there conscious consumption in advertising?
discussing whether or not there is a conscious consumer in advertising, we
should look at what a conscious consumer actually is in this case. When
thinking about conscious consuming we automatically associate it with how these
people will choose the best products, will not be manipulated by the different
business. As well as that they are well informed about the product itself and
we believe that conscious consuming is more about what is ethical and also
considering the way this type of consumption effects society. Our world today
consists of various different types of consumers whether they are conscious or
subconscious consumers. In most cases our society is built around us consuming
different products as well as the way we consume these products. As mentioned
previously many companies all over the world try to find the right techniques
when it comes to influencing their consumers and their buying behavior.
have greatly changed, now they aim to influence as many people as possible to
buy their products. Conscious consumers usually try to depict the
advertisements, in order to find the real reason behind the advertisement and
what their aim is. They generally have a different approach, as they think more
rationally as to how the go about with things such as what the purpose and
value is of the product, is the product worth the money? Do I really need it?
Therefore, conscious consumers are more aware of their decision-making process
and therefore do not get hypnotized by manipulated advertisements. (http://tudatosvasarlo.hu/tve/what-is-conscious-consumption) (See appendix 3)
10.Different approaches to product placement
placement is a greatly discussed topic when it comes to advertisings, as
advertisements usually tries to incorporate this aspect into their
advertisements. Product placement is a great way to advertise their product
through films, shows, TV and other media channels. If a company wants to have
their product shown in either a film or such, they would have to come to an
agreement with the media channel as they would have to pay a fee to have their
product featured on the media channel.
product placement is used in the 21st century has vastly expanded
over the last couple of years. Product placement in films and such is used more
and more everyday. A great example of product placement can be seen through
reality TV shows, such as “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” in this scenario a
brand was being presented by the cast themselves.
reality TV shown is known to have many viewers from all over the world. And due
to their platform being so large, and a large part of their audience seeing
them as role models. The brand “Off White” used this opportunity to gain some
customers by “product placing” their product (brand) in their show through them
wearing the clothing and talking about it on their social media platforms.
Through this way of advertising the brand has reached various people all over
the world and had therefore gained a large amount of customers in a short time
period. (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/product-placement.html), (Linstrom, M. (2008).
11.How private is our privacy?
is considered as a very controversial topic, as what privacy is and what should
be kept private greatly differs for each individual. Generally, privacy is
defined as having certain information hidden or concealed from the public. One
relatable topic when it comes to privacy would be Internet cookies.
most people are aware of what Internet cookies are and usually considered them
as something bad as people consider the act of cookies as a way of stealing
their privacy. The best way to understand what they are, is by imagining this.
You are surfing on an online clothing store, whilst you are browsing through
their website, the server of the website sends out “cookies” which are then
saved and downloaded on your PC, these cookies are then stored and used later
on. (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/privacy), (Beal, 2008)
12.Advantages and disadvantages of cookies?
cookies are considered better than others in most cases they record for
instance how long you spend on a specific site. As well as all the different
sites you have been on, through this an algorithm is created by the server
which selects frequently visited sites as well as preferred layouts and
colours. This information is then later on used on future sites, which I will
later evaluate on further.
to this, cookies are also seen as something negative, think about it this way
governments and businesses all over the world store information about you. No
specific information is gathered by cookies. In most cases people dislike
cookies, due to the thought of knowing that organizations are collecting
information about you without a verbal consent this therefore creating
example of cookies would be the case with Instagram and Facebook, as a user of
these platforms myself; it is easily noticeable that these two platforms use
cookies from their users, as the advertisements of these platforms are adjusted
to your personal preference such as the example mentioned above when they take
in your preferred website as well as specific colours and layouts. And
therefore adjust the advertisements on their sites to your personal
preferences. Instagram is a known as a social media platform that uses the same
approach when it comes to their advertisements.
question here is whether or not this is a source of advertisers influencing the
buying behavior of their consumers. And whether this is considered as something
good or something bad. (WebWise, 2012)
need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people
are interested in.” – Craig Davis. This quote sums up the main intention that
advertisements should have. Over the last years, advertisers have lost sight of
what the aim is of advertisements. As the quote states, “We need to stop
interrupting what people are interested in” this emphasizes how nowadays,
advertisers aim to incorporate a sense of manipulation in their advertisements
in order to get more customers to buy their products. As discussed above,
studies are conducted in order to gain a greater insight, on their customers
and how the feel and act towards certain things. Through this strategy, they
are able to adjust their findings to the way to create their advertisements;
this therefore makes it more attractive to a larger audience. A great example,
of this would be the technique of Internet cookies, product placement as well
as the manipulation of emotions and colour associations, which are discussed
contrast to this, the second part of the quote states, “be what people are
interested in” This sums up what advertisers, should aim to be in our world
today, as advertisements are considered, as the most powerful communication
tool we have till this very day. This often leads to people underestimating how
powerful advertisements actually are and how they can easily make a difference
of the consumer buying behavior.