Ad Project “The Persuaders”

The Science of Selling

Explanation of Video

The documentary titled “The Persuaders” was played in class last Thursday. It is a video dedicated to exposing the nature of the modern world of advertisement and public relations. The information shared in this documentary helped me understand the difficulties a Christian, like myself, may face in the field of advertisement.

Throughout the beginning of the video, the idea of persuasion was introduced and exposed in our daily lives. There are messages and reasons behind them, hidden all around us. I personally found this topic interesting, and in some ways very enlightening.

The Science

There were several examples of specific advertisement campaigns shared in the documentary, but Delta’s Song Airlines and Andy Spade’s methodology really caught my eye. I believe it highlighted a very important aspect of advertisement strategy — targeting the brain vs. targeting the heart. Andy Spade wanted to target the hearts of potential customers, using what was called “spiritual branding.”

Instead of approaching Song Airline’s advertisements with an informational format, Andy believed that it would be more effective to sell a culture — not a brand. Specifically, he believed that women would be a good target audience to focus this tactic on. The final format of the television advertisement included romantic classic movie footage..

Product Placement

The documentary also highlighted an advertisement tactic that I feel works very well in this day and age. Product placement is the strategic placement of brands and products within a popular entertainment channel, like television shows and movies. The success of product placement in the media is a common understanding in the advertising world, but I never truly understood how powerful it can be, until now.

Some great examples of successful product placement in movies were shared: Starbucks in I Am Sam, FedEx in Castaway and Absolut Vodka in Sex in the City. These iconic demonstrations represent just a smidgen of instances in which smart placement of products and brands helped boost profitability and sales. After watching this documentary, I find it easier to spot product placement in the popular media I’m exposed to daily.

Understanding the target market is incredibly important to product placement. Being reminded of this, I remembered just how important it is to researching and analyzing people of all ages, gender, and culture. Because we live in a fallen world, full of sin and secular values — this made me question what it is to be a Christian practicing the art of persuasion.

Christ Centered Persuasion

How can we remain ethical by Biblical standards in a world full of deception? It is important for us to understand that deception and persuasion are two different things. It is possible to be involved with advertisement design and production and still be right before God.

Close pursuit of God, before all else, is key to practicing all kinds of persuasive activities ethically. This pursuit includes constant commitment to communication with Him through prayer and study of the Bible. If your relationship with God is the main pursuit of your life, ethical behavior will come naturally.

Three indicators that you are pursuing God above all else:

  1. You have an eternal perspective of life.
  2. Your reason behind working hard is to glorify God.
  3. Time with God is a priority in your life.

If you fail to see these indicators in your life, I highly recommend you rethink your priorities in life.

“On my honor, I have watched The Persuaders in its entirety.”