There is a funny disconnect when it comes to advertising. Most people would agree that advertising works and that is why companies advertise. But if you ask individuals if advertising works specifically on them, they will tell you that it doesn’t, or it only works to a small extent. Obviously, both can’t be correct. In reality, advertising affects most people far more than they believe or are willing to admit. Below are a number of things that marketers have conned you into believing to separate you from your money.
Brand Names are Better
If you were given a choice between two products that looked the same and you knew nothing about them except for the price, chances are that you would choose the more expensive one. It’s been drilled into our heads that products that are more expensive are better, and most people would desire that Channel dress over an equally well made dress that comes without the name brand. While sometimes spending a little more money for a product can be a good decision, many times it ends up being nothing more than marketing that lures you in to spend more money.
Appearance is Everything
One of the pitfalls of marketing is that everything is focused on appearance: what you’re wearing, what you look like, what you own. Unfortunately, while appearance can be important, it’s not the end all, be all of life. Marketers want to encourage you to buy products that will make you believe that you look more attractive, seem wealthier, or set you apart from other people in a crowd. You simply need to look at all the products that claim they can achieve these goals to realize that their job is to make you feel insecure about your appearance so that they can sell you stuff to make you more confident about it.
Newer is Better
Why is it that so many people want the latest and greatest gadget when the one that they have is still functional? Advertisers don’t make as much money if you hang onto the things you own and don’t “upgrade” to a newer model. When people believe that newer is better, the more the company selling the product makes.
Name Brand or Celebrity Endorsed Products Are Better
If you feel like there are celebrities who are always endorsing products, you’re correct. Whether they’re expensive, luxury items or middle of the road products you can find in your local department store or convenience store, companies know that people are more likely to buy a product that a celebrity endorsed because people want to be like that celebrity. Companies want to convince you that if someone rich and famous uses the product, you using it will make you a bit like them. However, as many of us have realized, a name brand products or products endorsed by celebrities aren’t necessarily better. They’re just more expensive.
Beauty Products Will Make You Look Younger
How many times have you seen an advertisement for a product that claims it can “erase years” and make you look younger? While there might be creams or makeup or ointments that hide wrinkles or lines on your skin, there aren’t any products that can truly make you younger. Cosmetics companies love to appeal to people who are self-conscious about aging and easily exploit their fears by presenting products that falsely claim they can make someone look younger.
“Special” Foods Will Make You Lose Weight
Additionally, how many times have you seen advertisements that claim a new food can make people lose weight? Sometimes it seems as if there’s a new “special” superfood that causes weight loss every few months. There are many foods that are great to consume if you’re looking to make an eating lifestyle change, and these foods are generally the types that will keep you feeling full longer or help your metabolism. But there’s not one specific food that will make you lose 10 or 20 pounds a week merely by consuming it at every meal.
“Everyone” Uses a Specific Product
There are often a lot of advertisements that make it seem as though everyone is using a specific product. A lot of people want to keep up with the trends and love purchasing products they truly think everyone else is using. However, with billions of people on the planet, it’s a bit of a generalization to assume that everyone is using only one product, thus it’s simply another marketing ploy to separate you from your money.
You Should Consume “Healthy Alternatives”
In the past few decades, the push to consume healthier food alternatives has become pretty forceful. Many people are switching to organic, vegan, or gluten-free diets because they believe it’s healthier. Additionally, many restaurants are also offering “healthier” alternatives and many companies are offering “diet”, “fat-free” or “low-fat” options. But many of these alternatives aren’t actually healthier. If they contain less sugar or fat, it may mean there’s three times as much salt or artificial sweeteners. It’s a fine line when it comes to using healthier alternatives as some alternatives aren’t all that much better for you than the original product you’re trying to replace.
“Fresh” Foods are Better
A lot of supermarkets like to advertise “fresh” foods on sale. This may be fresh seafood or meat or even produce. However, more often than not, this “fresh” produce, fish, or meat has been frozen for months and thawed out in preparation for their big weekly sale. Freezing and thawing food is a cheaper alternative for many supermarkets than actually buying and selling fresh products, so it’s best to be on your guard and not get sucked into paying more for food that may not actually be “fresh”.
Easy Weight Loss Options are Possible
How many times have you seen a pop up ad online advertising easy weight loss options? The ad may say that only one pill will make you lose up to five pounds a week or that a new “liquid only” diet will help cleanse your body of fat. Weight loss is not easy. It takes time and dedication, and despite that these marketing ads want you to believe, there’s no such thing as a simple pill that will help you immediately shed pounds.
(Photo courtesy of Peter Blanchard)