Throughout watching “The Persuaders,” I was very shocked at the complexity of advertising and public relations techniques. I knew that many kinds of research are completed prior to creating and displaying an ad, yet I did not realize the detail, the time, and the effort that is placed into every single one. I understood that advertisement was a competitive career field, but I did not realize how seriously companies perform because “the competition will eat [them] alive.”
I understand that advertising companies look at consumers in a competitive manner, but it was surprising to me that they go as far as consider us as “roaches” that they can spray until we become immune to their techniques. In the documentary, it was said that “the moment they stop trying to persuade us, we forget about them.” This statement is one that not only is very true in the world of advertisement, but also one that can add a lot of pressure and competitiveness in their work.
Not as They Appear
Although there are many techniques used to create ads that appeal to customers and make them seem worth purchasing and investing in, one of the most popular techniques is probably one of the simplest ones: Photoshop and adjusting the appearance. This technique is most commonly used by restaurants and food companies and is a technique that has been winning consumers over for years.
For instance, competitive chain restaurants such as Wendy’s, Burger King, and McDonalds all use the Photoshop technique to make their food look more appealing and tempting. In most ads containing pictures that are released by McDonalds, certain strategies are used to make the food seem fresher and appetizing. However, some of these strategies could be extreme Photoshop, cooking special and separate kinds of foods other than what the restaurant actually sells, or even spraying hairspray on foods to make them seem more fresh.
This is something that I can physically notice in everyday life as I see an ad for a certain food item at a restaurant and when compared to the actual food item I receive, they do not look alike at all. Although this may seem deceitful and fake, it is a strategy that has helped many companies and restaurants increase their business and stay on top throughout all of the competition they put up with.
Consumption of Media
Often times when I see advertisements, whether it be on a billboard as I am driving or when I am scrolling through a form of social media on my computer, I become easily annoyed and gain a disinterest in purchasing the displayed product or attending the promoted place. However, after watching this documentary, I have gained appreciation for how much time and effort is put into each and every single ad created. Not only do they have to catch the attention of their consumers, but they have to stand out in such a way that proves their products are worth purchasing over the competing companies.
Role of Christianity
As Christians in advertising and public relations, we must do our job right and do our job well. However, we also must do our job righteously in a way that glorifies and honors God. We should not be willing to give up our beliefs and our virtues in a way that causes us to be deceitful and hiding truth from those we are serving.
I believe that there are simple and small steps we can take as Christians to promote truth and avoid deceit in our careers and the world of advertising and public relations.
1. In 1 Peter 2:1, we are called to “put away all malice and deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” In any and every career we work in, as well as in any situation of lie, we should put away any temptations we have to be deceitful. In the world of advertising, Christians should do their job in a way that appeals to their consumers and customers, yet they must be careful to not deceive or mislead them.
2. Not only is it important to avoid deceit, it is also important to seek and practice truth. 1 John 3:18 commands us to “not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” We should do everything we can to be honest in our work in order to gain respect from those we are working for and make clear how pure our intentions can be if we are seeking and promoting genuine truth.
3. Finally, the most important thing we can do in advertising and public relations or any career as Christians is simply to honor and glorify God with our work and in our careers. As 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” In any and every area and aspect of our lives, we should have one goal in mind: to bring glory to God and not to ourselves or our work.
“On my honor, I have watched The Persuaders in its entirety.”