“The Persuaders” Response Post

Over the last 20 years, the advertising industry has exploded and revolutionized the way manufacturers and consumers interact. The many techniques used to move audiences to action are depticted in this documentary, and viewers are given a behind the scenes look into the world of persuasion.

Are we a culture?

As stated in the documentary, “…once advertising infiltrates a culture, it ceases to be a culture at all.” The society we now live in is very accustomed to constant advertising. This clutter is created by ad agencies, but with this comes a new issue.

A vicious circle has been created, leaving advertisers wondering how to stand out. To accomplish this, they have attempted to not just sell a product, but an experience. Advertisers have sought to establish loyalty with consumers, so much so that consumer behavior can be described as cult-like.

Coffee is a great example of this. If we look at the many people who begin their day at either a Dunkin’ or Starbucks, most would have a preference. Some prefer the quick and affordable pace of Dunkin’ Donuts, however others may seek the atmosphere and carefully crafted cup of a Starbuck’s coffee.

Am I falling under their spell?

How do advertisers move us to action? What could be so powerful to subconsciously convince us that we need a certain brand of coffee, sneakers or clothing? Why do individual’s become so passionate about their favorite brands?

The answer to all of this comes down to the strategy of “emotional branding.” When we are emotionally engaged, we are most vulnerable to persuasion. This can be seen in the Starbuck’s commercial celebrating consumers and the great things accomplished by their loyalty.

How have I not noticed? Are we really that persuadable?

I asked myself these questions while watching this documentary. I then looked back at my actions as a consumer over the past year and realized something… I was that persuadable. As years pass, trends come and go. I would be lying if I said that I did not completely try to improve my wardrobe since coming to Liberty.

Was this mainly influenced by the culture and people here? Yes. But where were they influenced? There is a vicious cycle of influence and “clutter” depicted in the documentary. And it all stems back to advertisement.

Do our differences really make us special?

Advertisers strategically separate consumers into different demographics to better sell their product. By using unique messages for each group, they believe they can better appeal to our differences. But what is the theme here?

Me, myself and I.

The advertising industry has convinced us that we are what is most important. After all, “When we only think of ourselves… we are better consumers.” By focusing on ourselves, we lose sight of our duty as Christians to spread the gospel and love of Christ.

Information is currency…

One of the most eye-opening realizations for me was a discussion we had in class about Facebook. Do you ever wonder why it is free? How does Facebook financially survive as a corporation with out an income?

Advertising is a part of this, yet the money maker is actually our information. If you think about it, we post about our lives for the purpose of connecting socially with others we know, yet we are handing over so much information of who we are to the web. Facebook makes its money through us, not our credit cards.

We are so consumed with our virtual persona that we often lose sight of what is really important. Establishing personal relationships with others to then minister the gospel is something we were made for. We must proceed with caution when searching for satisfaction in either products or virtual realities that can only be found in Christ.

What is a Christian’s duty in the field of persuasion?

I believe there are three commands we have as Christians:

  1. We need to primarily love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds.
  2. We need to love our neighbors as ourselves.
  3. We need to spread his word to all the nations.

We should approach any field of work with this lens in mind. For the industry of advertisement specifically, we can not always be evangelising in our line of work. However, we can be keeping our perspectives and motivation in line with Gods.

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

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