America is a country where advertisements rule our life. We see them everywhere, in every possible way. It’s something that says a lot about the culture we live in as well. Most foreigners come to America and look at billboards, ads on television, or even websites and see that two concepts like status and beauty are considered very important in America.
A lot of these ads, though are photoshopped and present an idea rather than an actual reality. However, most of the public can’t tell the difference because of how surreptitious it is. For instance, pictures of women in magazines are constantly altered to look a certain way. This causes “ordinary” people to then wonder why they don’t look that way, the photoshop way.
Although ads themselves may have their fair share of manipulation in them, I am more focused on the way ads are being presented to us as a form of manipulation rather than the content itself.
The way advertisements are being shown to us is very secretive. For example, on websites, there will be on-screen pop ups that will keep appearing and reappearing to get a viewer to subscribe to their site. Also, there will be advertisements on seats that we sit on at bus stops, or tray tables in airplanes that promote brands.
But, then there will be ones where a celebrity will be marketing a product to us directly from their Twitter account like they are our friend and not salesmen. This is a way for them to market their brand and the company’s brand that they’re sharing to us. Does this celebrity generally like that product? Or have they been receiving money or other benefits in order to promote someone else’s brand on their twitter profile? The answer is obvious.
Take Kim Kardashian for example. She posts about shoe lines on twitter constantly and tweets to the designer saying phrases like, “thanks for the Christmas present” like she has a friendly relationship with the designer (which she probably does) and sells the hope that we can too… but only if we buy the product.
Advertisements have been getting clever though. Now we see them in everyday activities like brands that send promotional tweets that show up in our feed on Twitter. Or we see another brand on our Facebook feed because someone liked it on their profile. It’s the methodology that’s been here for years that states we will be more inclined to purchase a product if we see our friends liking it too. We see brands on commercial breaks on websites like Hulu or Youtube that are catered for us. The difference is, companies are starting to actually be curious about our ad preferences, as I learned in this article.
Once they can develop a certain bond with us, by truly showing us everything we like, we’ll be able to come back to their website more often to keep seeing it. It’s a great form of marketing that most of us aren’t even aware of anymore.
There’s never a dull moment with ads since they pop up everywhere. Marketing is getting so advanced in this country that it’s playing hand in hand with manipulation. Everything is being augmented and we are just the audience that sits around not knowing what to believe anymore. I mean, think about it. We listen to songs on the radio that go through auto-tune. We look at photoshopped pictures of fake tans, airbrushed abs, and altered facial features. All of this uncertainty and fakeness is making us not knowing what to believe anymore. Are we really being marketed to or are we being manipulated?