Thursday, February 14, 2013

Marketing strategies (How commercials Influence)

I,like many thousands more, did not watch the 2013 Super Bowl. I waited til the next day to be able to watch all of the commercials. As always there were winners and losers. This started me thinking. No one wants to have the worst Super Bowl commercial. Every company that placed an ad during the big game believed their ad would represent their company well and that they would see increased business as a result. Each of the companies that had even a single spot during the big game spent millions of dollars to try to tell you something. To make you see their product or company in a more positive way.

The days of basic information to help you make a more informed decision are long since gone, if they ever were at all. Every television and radio ad is designed to ellicit a response. Each company chooses the response they want to create. Ralph Lauren for example has always promoted a lifestyle through their advertising. They would lead you to believe that everyone who wears their clothing line is young, good looking, as comfortable in the great outdoors as they would be on the ocean or in the boardroom. This is the image they portray.

Fragrance companies, along with many others, use sex to sell their product. Every colonge or perfume ad is about sexual attraction. To be honest I cannot think of any other way to sell these items. If these companies were not allowed to use attraction as a selling tool they would have to turn to a lifestyle model, no one would buy a cologne simply because "it makes me smell good".

If we were to want to promote a product, we would have to decide what our target market is. A target market includes things like age group, education level, income range, and even occupational type. Once we have decided on the target market, we would start working on our ad. If we are wanting to excite our target, we would want our announcer to talk fast, probably use a movie voice. Depending on what we are advertising show quick clips of our product in action. If we are wanting to appeal to our markets ego, we would talk very smooth, imply that our market deserves our product. We would say something like "you have worked hard. Can't you see yourself with... (insert our product here).

If just listen to a commercial, you can tell something about the target market. Car company commercials on the radio are the best for this. If the announcer is shouting, the target market is the lower education levels or people who are on a very tight budget. These people have so much to worry about that an ad has to break into their thoughts to even be heard. Luxury autos are very smooth, talking about performance and "how you would look in this car". A friend of mine from work gave me the best description of car ads. A BMW ad shows a beautiful person driving a beautiful car in a beautiful landscape. A KIA commercial shows an urban landscape and their car driven by hamsters (thanks Renee).

Another method that is used is packaging. Companies do research to find out what colors promote their product, where to place their product on the shelf, and even at what price point people will buy their product at enough profit. Take food for example. Things packaged in green we believe are more healthy than the same item packaged in another color. Packaging can be very powerful.Another friend at work said he was at a drugstore and he saw a generic cold medicine.It was packaged in black, red, and silver, his favorite color combination. He admitted that he started to buy the medicine even though no one in his family was sick. (thanks Josh) Remember advertisers are trying to sway your buying decisions.

If I could work my will, every person who reads this would ask themselves these questions when they find themselves being influenced by an advertising blitz. (1) Am I the target market that this company is trying to reach? (2) What is this company really selling? Are they selling the product or a lifestyle, confidence, or are they stroking your ego? (3) What does this ad say that this company thinks about me? (4) What does this company think about my values, my world view, and my intelligence level? After we answer these questions do we still want to deal with this company?

By thinking a little more critically we can reduce the influence outside people have over us and we can better learn how to

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