The ads on the Daily Mail’s website, befitting its status as a tabloid, are generally focused around sex and other base urges. By changing around the faces of people who are featured in the ads, the advertisements I used changed to what could generously be called “anti-advertisements,” almost warning people away from using the products in question. For example, Photoshopping an angry face over an ad about cooking makes the food being prepared look unappetizing and repulsive, while pasting a happy face over an ad for Tylenol makes the pain medication look like an illegal drug designed to get people high.
This displays the nature of advertising: preying on peoples’ emotions in order to get them to purchase products that they wouldn’t ordinarily purchase. The ads I saw played on primal wants and needs: the desire of companionship, the fear of being in pain, the desire to eat good food and have fun with friends, and so on. Advertisements sell products by making the consumer feel as if there is something missing in their lives, a hole that can only be filled through the purchase of a new product. By inducing this psychological need in the audience, an advertising campaign can sell just about anything.
The conclusions I’ve drawn from this is that advertisements are expert ways of manipulating peoples’ emotions. They draw on innate needs and fears that are within every human being and exploit them in order to get consumers to purchase a product or service that they ordinarily would not. This makes advertisements a powerful way to control and mould public opinion to whatever it is the advertiser wants. Consumers should be aware of how advertisers use advertisements to manipulate and control human behaviour so they don’t get swept up in purchases and choices they do not want.
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