Monday, January 6, 2014

Marketing ploys caught me off guard

  Today for a homeschool session,  The Superhero, the teen, and I, sat down and watched old commercials from the late 50s-70s.  The focus was for a mix of subjects including social studies, history, and just to discuss what we watched and have the teen listen to us discus and hear our perspectives.  We watched several but the ones that were obviously geared towards women are the ones that spoke to me and subsequently it bothered me.   The stupid commercials got to me in a sneaky way and  although I did admit that I, like everyone, am susceptible to such advertising and marketing ploys it was also irritating that they were from freakin 30+ years ago!

  I think the subject that got to me most was that even though you are not beautiful if you use Ivory soap you will look healthy and that's good enough.  It was blatantly obvious to me that they were targeting women who think they are unattractive and insecure and yet at the same time I questioned myself.

  Why is it that at 36 years old with 4 children, with the Superhero for over 17 years, I intuitively  feel like I am being duped by marketing ploys but still feel their draw.   I have been fairly insulated from media like this and it caught me off guard and here I sit feeling this vulnerability in front of my husband and oldest spawn.  Looking back on the experience is surreal.   I grew up with similar marketing tactics.  It felt familiar.  The tactics have only been perfected over the years.

  These days I watch TV shows online and I can filter out most ads from the media that I do consume but it is still there.  We are conditioned to be competitive with each other in our looks and the media plays and prays on this desire even when we know its coming.

 I can see Don Draper and Peggy in their office with late night glasses of whiskey brainstorming ways to get people like my mother, and then her daughter years later, to want Ivory soap or some other product they want us to buy.

  Marketing makes you want to buy something and does so by creating strong emotion associated with a product and for reasons not necessarily connected to what the product even does.  They make you feel guilt, longing, insecurity, self confidence, a need to change and be better, to impress someone.
All ads make you feel.

  

  It softens the blow to see that I have grown as a person and that years ago I would have flat out denied being susceptible to marketing all the while stewing inside and feeling angry while still wanting to buy the soap and not knowing why.   Now I can admit with a mostly clear mind that I am indeed affected by commercials and I can look in at myself and find what I see interesting.  I can look at myself with compassion.   I can also appreciate, although I don't like it, the psychology involved in advertising and explore the ideas without feeling so intensely one way or the other about it.  

 What commercials or marketing ploys get to you??  How about Strong is the New Skinny?  Brands that tap into your sense of wanting  to be a better parent, mother, wife, woman, man, athlete?

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Cheers,
Angie Bee
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