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Advertising Affects Me?

Nick Englehart

Posted on August 4, 2020 18:58

4 users

A look at how gullible we all probably are and how advertising really works.

Why do I want a Nutter Butter right now? I want one so bad. I haven't thought about Nutter Butters for years. It's not even like they're my favorite cookie. They're okay, bad graham crackers filled with peanut butter. Why am I craving them so deeply? Why can't I think of anything else? Is it possible? Is it the dastardly effects of ADVERTISING! It must be! I just saw an ad for Nutter Butter a few days ago. I don't even remember reading it. Just seeing their vague peanut-like shape has set me into a trance firing every neuron I have, all of them saying, "Nutter Butter!"

I like to think, at the very least, that I am not an idiot. That during my time on this planet I have used some critical thinking skills and do in fact have the ability to make my own decisions. I drink Coke because I'm in the mood for Coke and I drink Pepsi because the restaurant doesn't have any Coke. Here's the deal, none of us are immune.

It turns out that advertising starts young. Like really young, and is very effective. It's so effective that The American Academy of Pediatrics holds that apps for children 5 and younger should have zero advertising. Advertisements are designed to create positive memories that influence our behavior over time. When faced with the decision of Doritos and, say, Dr. Cheese's cheese triangles, we always pick Doritos, because there's no fond memory of Dr. Cheese.

Some suggest that advertising of the past doesn't work anymore, even if traditional advertising doesn't have the same effect it once had, new advertising is constantly getting smarter. Targeted advertising now affects all of us. At least all of us that use the internet. In 2014 a woman whose mother died of cancer started seeing her screen fill up with advertisements for headstones. All of us have stories where the internet seems to read our minds. Despite these constant eerie examples of "coincidence," the US has done little to regulate how companies gather and sell our data or how they advertise.

You can create an app designed for kids that cries when you don't buy game packs. You can target bereaved people for headstone sales. You can collect all of our data often without our consent and use it to target us as individuals. As of right now, all the power lies in the hands of the seller.

Advertising doesn't have to be bad. It can be a tool used within our own moral bounds that informs us and even helps pay for artistic and journalistic content that otherwise wouldn't exist. Brooke Erin Duffy, an assistant professor of communication at Cornell University says, "advertising helps us as consumers and citizens understand the social world and our place within it. Advertising shapes our culture, but it also reflects our culture." Our issues with advertising are issues with ourselves. They are issues with dysfunctional legislatures and a continually dysfunctional system of government.

Nick Englehart

Posted on August 4, 2020 18:58

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Source: Vox - All

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