“The Persuaders” Response Blog post

Our attention is being fought for. Companies want us to set our eyes, our minds and our focus to their product or name. “The Persuaders” goes into depth about what advertising is doing in our era and what methods companies are taking to captivate us in hopes of leading us to an action.

The Overall Feeling

One of the methods discussed that I thought interesting was advertising the overall feel of a company rather than a specific product. “The Persuaders” included evaluation of the Song airline company. It was fascinating to see how they advertised by trying to express how the passenger would feel on their airline through different aspects of their advertising: bright colors, happy workers and fun music.

I recently saw a Ralph Lauren commercial in which they accomplished the same idea. The commercial was full of handsome people in elegant clothing driving luxurious cars. The setting of the video, its slow-motion pace and the majestic music in the background really created a beautiful “world” of Ralph Lauren.

The viewer may not come away with an image of a specific product to buy, but that wasn’t their goal. For me, when I think of the company, luxury floods my mind as I subconsciously assign their products to the world depicted in the commercial.

Sneaky Advertising

I believe that we are so aware of advertisements that we purposefully try to block them out. After 15 seconds — when YouTube allows me to click the skip button — I click it. When a pop up advertisement interrupts my browsing, I exit out.

Douglas Rushkoff says:

“Marketers find a way so deep inside each one of us that it no longer feels like persuasion at all.”

I adamantly believe this. Advertisements that force themselves on or interrupt me actually turn me off from a product; however, advertisements that are less intrusive keep me looking for a longer time.

I would say the most effective ads that I’ve seen recently have been on Instagram. The sponsored ad discreetly appears on the news feed just like any other Instagram photo.

When advertisements first came out on Instagram, they were very obvious to me. In contrast to the average photo on my feed, the sponsored photos were incredibly high quality, and the product was obvious. More recently, however, I’ve noticed a shift in their advertising.

I started seeing more photos with lower quality and less obvious product promotion. I found myself staring at the picture trying to figure out which of my friends’ photos it was, only to realize it was a sponsored ad. I didn’t know that I was looking at an advertisement; I didn’t know the company was trying to persuade me until I had thoroughly examined the photo.

In my experience, I’ve actually gone on to research the product more after only seeing the Instagram ad. I like that I get to have the choice whether or not to examine the ad. “The Persuaders” makes the statement:

“The secret of it all. The secret of all persuasion is to induce the person to persuade himself.”

The sneaky Instagram ads did just that for me.

Christian Responsibility?

As a Christian, what is my responsibility in creating and consuming advertisements?

  1. Understand that these products alone, no matter what they seem to promise, can never fulfill me.
  2. I must understand that an advertisement is meant to lead me to feel a certain way about a product, and sometimes unrealistic ideas are depicted to create that feeling.
  3. In my case, when I persuade or create an ad, I can do my best to peak the interest of a viewer by being smart, not by being dishonest. I can work with excellence by conducting extensive research on how each individual consumer needs to be reached, just as the video suggests.
  4. In creating ads, I must make sure that I am being honest. I must question whether or not my actions and strategies are something I can honestly say bring glory to God.
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