The False Trust in Advertisement

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The False Trust in Advertisement

What type of ads do you notice in the world around us? Labeled for reuse from Wikimedia Commons.

What type of ads do you notice in the world around us? Labeled for reuse from Wikimedia Commons.

What type of ads do you notice in the world around us? Labeled for reuse from Wikimedia Commons.

What type of ads do you notice in the world around us? Labeled for reuse from Wikimedia Commons.

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A tobacco company called Lucky Strike was very successful during the roaring 20s with exclusively male marketing. However, as gender equality became more relevant, they realized their mistake in missing out on the untapped female market making up the whole other half of society. The company developed a new advertising method. This new female-centric campaign branded their products with a more feminine appeal, as marketers depicted an image of cigarettes elegantly dangling from manicured fingers.

“Many of these campaigns strived to entice women to smoke by using mainstream beauty and fashion standards to portray smoking as feminine,” said Truth Initiative. Once they began promoting to women, their sales increased by 300%.

Companies will find any way to make something look better, smarter and healthier than it actually is.

A century later and there are websites and ad campaigns – like Truth Initiative – telling people how dangerous tobacco is to the human body.

Clearly it’s not the 1920s anymore, and if someone sees an ad they’re gonna do their best research before buying into it.

Right?

Actually, probably not. People can be quick to believe what they see and hear, even if they don’t think they’re that gullible. The whole “question everything” motto goes straight over the heads of many Americans.

Corporations are just as good at manipulating consumers as they were in the 20s.

“I think what happens is–because we get information so quickly now–we tend to jump to conclusions that favor our political leanings,” said history teacher and coach Phil Roiko.

People can watch an ad bashing the opposite political party–whether it’s true or not–and believe every second of it. However, this isn’t limited to advertisements people witness on TV and on billboards. The media itself has become corrupt, attempting to sell certain ideas and philosophies.

“That’s why I’m always critical of those who get their information from Fox News or those who just get their information from MSNBC, because they both definitely have an agenda if you watch both, so you have to be careful with that,” Roiko said.

This can also be applied to not only how one gets their information on politics, but also the deceptive advertisements people see in their everyday life.

“I think advertisement and commercials can be helpful sometimes, but I also think they can be kinda fake. There’s been products out there that have been advertised and they actually haven’t worked,” said junior Courtney Wixom.

Additionally, websites collect data on people to specifically cater ads to their interests. As someone scrolls through their feed on Instagram, not only may they come across ads sent out from the app itself, but also the products influencers promote paired with “#ad” in the caption.

If a child sees their favorite YouTuber plugging merchandise every five minutes in a video, they’re going to want what’s being promoted to support the person they look up to–no matter what–and probably not stop to think about how that YouTuber is in the “business of making money.”

“This is not the case for everybody, but a lot of people can be gullible. Especially if advertisements are personalized to them. So like beauty products, things like that. Commercials usually discuss matters that can be personal to a lot of people and so then that can convinces them to have a certain opinion about whatever it is,” said junior Hannah Quinn.

Advertisements can be found everywhere in all forms. Corporations promote what they want to be valuable to someone – whether that’s a political candidate, new skincare, clothing or fast food. And with the internet residing in everyone’s pockets at all times, it can be hard to avoid this marketing and look the other way.

False advertisement can be dangerously manipulative, and smart shoppers and media consumers are advised to be cautious of what they see online.

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