In The More of Less – Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own, Joshua Becker (Creator of BecomingMinimalist.com) shares with us why we feel so compelled to purchase items we don’t even want. Here is a small excerpt from his book. (I highly recommend this and all of Mr. Beckers writing! I was able to request this one from the library.)
“In 2013, US marketers spent $171 billion on media advertising (digital, magazines, newspapers, billboards, radio, tv) throughout the year.
If you think you are immune (or too smart) to be influenced by the power of advertisements, you are wrong. Corporations do not spend $171 billion in advertising HOPING to influence you; they spend $171 billion in advertising because they KNOW they will influence you.
Of course, they don’t want you to know that. In fact, they more you believe you are not influenced by advertisements, the better they have done their job. None of us like to think we can be easily influenced by a stranger with a hidden agenda. For that reason, most successful ad campaigns seek to make an impression on us by creating a positive connection with our subconscious. They subtly promise that our sex lives will improve because of their cologne, our parties will be livelier with their soda, our reputations will improve because of their cars, and we will feel safer because of their insurance.”
Today (in case you live in a cave), is the Superbowl. You may be suprised to hear that I LOVE the Superbowl. I really don’t care about either team that made it this year, but I am still having our usual small party. In being entirely honest with you (maybe TMI), I will plan my potty breaks during the game. I don’t want to miss Justin Timberlake (I might be showing my age with that comment) and like always I don’t want to miss a single commercial. I know, SHOCKING!, right? Why do I (and many other people) love these commercials so much? It is the best advertising money can buy! Let me explain.
Even with the NFL suffering from dropping ratings, a 30 second commercial during and around the Superbowl today with cost over $5 million. That’s over $170,000 a SECOND! But that’s not all – These commercials usually have over a $1 million production budget. Then there is the $1.25 million spent on advertising the commercial (that’s right, they pay to advertise their advertisement!). Adding in other marketing costs, the real cost of a 30 second commercial today is nearly $10 million! 10 MILLION DOLLARS! Let me reiterate what Mr. Becker said – these companies are not spending this kind of money on a gamble – they KNOW it is going to work! Beer manufacturers expect to earn around 100 million MORE dollars because of these ads. Whether we like it or not, we are suckers for a good advertisement.
So what should we do? The right answer might be to not watch at all. My answer is probably not the “right” one, but maybe more realistic – Watch and discuss with your family and especially your kids what affect these advertisements have on us. That may sound boring, but it can be great fun (no really), if you do it right. Use humor to discuss how we are influenced by these ads. Teaching our kids to recognize this advertising and how it works is the first step in combat against these advertising giants. Then when you are making a purchase try to recognize if these advertisements are influencing you.
In preparation for today (and in checking the appropriateness of some of these ads), I have already watched most of the commercials. My favorites are Danny DeVito dressed as a popular candy, and a beer company that has stopped their production line more than once to make and ship canned water to those in need. I don’t feel like Danny DeVito will influence me to buy his candy, but I do feel better about my husbands favorite beer choice since they reminded me of what a caring, giving, and American company they are. I will have to be careful not to buy too much beer next time I am shopping.
What are your favorite commercials from today or in the past (baby Clydesdales anyone?)?
It’s AMAZINGLY SIMPLE to discuss what advertising does to us!