I was on a treadmill for the first time in a WHILE over the summer, and there was a TV attached to it. It was on, but as I was still new to the entire system, I was unaware of HOW to change the channel.
The channel it was stuck on was either infomercials or a fitness channel with nothing scheduled, because all I had for 30 minutes was a repeating INSANITY commercial.
This is going to be an experience-based opinion post more than anything else, in order to discuss something that really, really irks me: shameless advertising, and more to the point, trying to sell shit by wearing the viewer/customer down.
I went to art school, which might not suggest much, but I majored in Graphic Design and Photography, two of the most commercial art forms out there. I’m sure every one of our readers knows the name Ansel Adams. Either way, in Design classes, we spent most of our time designing things like packaging, books, informational materials, college view books, etc. We did it all. Inside of those projects, we spent a lot of time discussing market research, polls, census data, etc, to make everything we did MORE applicable and pleasing to the largest target audience possible. There was a whole hell of a lot of advertising on my computer screen all the time, all for market research and my own personal research, in order to gauge the competition and see what worked or what didn’t.
One of the major topics that just about every classmate of mine could agree upon was what we came to refer to as ‘overadvertising’ or ‘beat you over the head advertising’. This is the kind of repetitive, obnoxious act that we’ve all grown accustomed to by now (if you live in the states, especially), of seeing the SAME commercial at least 10 times over the course of an hour. A lot of advertisers and companies think that if they can just keep an item in your mind for long enough, eventually you’ll stop being annoyed by the bludgeoning you’re receiving and just start to recognize their names in a store, and therefore gravitate toward the product they’re trying to sell. Because waterboarding is FUN!
I was thinking about this on the treadmill while watching the P90X Insanity commercial that was effectively just on repeat for the entire 30 minutes I was there. I could have just turned it off, but instead I started timing it to see how long it was and for other things, like how many times they said the word ‘buy’ or ‘call’ or hawked another item they had for sale.
What really pissed me off was the advertising being done INSIDE of the advertising. It was an ad for P90x Insanity, which on its own is enough to knock anyone into shape… but inside of that, if you REALLY wanted the ‘best results’, you’d buy more P90x products!
Buy these vitamins instead of actually knowing what you need and buying the right things accordingly! Don’t bother doing any research on your own, just buy this because it’s made by the people who made this DVD. While you’re at it, why don’t you also buy our recovery formula, and the protein bars, and everything else with P90x written on it!
This is what kills me. These things are advertised IN the advertisements for something else. Steph will be the first to tell you that these items aren’t necessary and it’s easy to just ignore the ads and go without them, but while you’re watching these DVDs you are a sitting duck, a captive audience, a fish in a proverbial barrel.
If something is excellent, I don’t need an advertisement to tell me about it, because it’ll get around to me via word of mouth. I know this is an odd thing to read coming from someone who majored in advertising, but maybe that should be your sign that most advertising is not actually good or helpful for consumers! As a rule, I don’t look at anything that pops up on my screen or shows up in my inbox uninvited, or comes in the mail without my requesting it first. Cold calls and ads like these aren’t helpful, and if a product was ACTUALLY worth using, I’d find out about it from happy customers who aren’t paid actors.
For me, in fact, if I see the same advertisement more than a few times per hour, I make a mental note to boycott the product being advertised. I have a TON of high standards that the products I buy already need to meet, and I am more than happy to condemn overadvertising on top of all that.
Don’t ever be fooled by advertising. Don’t be fooled into buying things you don’t need, or want, or are not absolutely in love with. Ad agencies are smart and it’s their job to know how to work things into your mind. This is not some odd conspiracy theory, this is years of study on the topic. The next time you watch TV, make a note of how badly companies are trying to get you to buy something. The harder they work, the less helpful the product actually is for you (as a mental note: exactly HOW healthy are the children’s cereals being advertised on Sunday mornings and after school? How well do you know the Red Robin commercial?). Make a note of how many fast food commercials you see on TV or driving down the highway on billboards.
I’m not trying to write an anti-beach body post, or to tell our readers to stop buying everything that has a commercial… In fact, I know that P90x is a REALLY successful program and all of their users swear by it! All I’m saying is that I personally don’t condone bad behavior, and to me being shamelessly annoying on TV, radio, online and in magazines is the same bad behavior as being a stalker who won’t stop calling a person until they change their number and remove their name from google searches on the internet (I’m not GM/Germany-Marie for fun). And you never let THAT person get what they want, do you?
My favorite products happen to be the ones I’ve also never seen an advertisement for… coincidence?