Meerkat Madness

Advertising.  Why do  they bother?  It’s just so obvious, isn’t it?   Like furry animals are gonna sell home insurance.  Ok, so maybe that one worked.  But not the rest – surely?

When we watch some ads, it seems ridiculous that anyone will be persuaded. Cheese crisps for example, seem to be the key to a riotous social life. Modern beards require at least 17 kinds of blade.  Washing machines work – and they don’t eat your socks. Babies sleep or gurgle. Cats don’t throw up in the lounge.  Instead, they talk. Women are rendered ecstatic and senseless by shower gels, tampax or any form of chocolate. Public transport is pleasurable and affordable.

But you know what – these guys have done their research. There is for example, a model for advertising called the ‘hierarchy of effects’.  This outlines the six steps that we consumers make before making a purchase.

  1. Awareness
  2. Knowledge
  3. Liking
  4. Preference
  5. Conviction
  6. Purchase

Just as well it doesn’t affect us, eh?   The ancient Egyptians might have been fooled by papyrus fly-posting, but nowadays, we’re a lot smarter.  Only problem is, so are the marketeers.

As consumers become more media savvy, we’re using technology like digital media recorders, to delete or skip advertisements. But to counter this, many advertisers are switching their methods.  There’s product placement on TV shows and movies, as well as the creation of TV apps.  Internet advertising is growing at an enormous rate – partly because it can reach so many people for a relatively low cost. Social network advertising targets also online groups, often using the demographic information that membership automatically requires. Celebrities are often paid to tweet  product endorsements – provided that they fit the image of the product.  One of the stars of the reality TV series ‘Jersey Shore’ has recently been offered a substantial sum by a clothing brand to stop wearing their clothes. That’s gotta hurt.

No one likes to think of themselves as easily influenced. But the marketing industry disagrees – and it’s backed up by an enormous wallet. One of us is wrong. And one of us is paying for it.

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