I was watching TV today and I saw an ad for something (I can't remember the ad right now but I'll try to remmeber it!). The ad was obviously pushing a product, making it look appealing and satisfying. However, my reaction to the ad was that it was really saying the opposite -that it would probably be bad to get this product because of some of the things it does. However, due to the way the guy said it, and how when you see an ad you are concious of it being a promotion, you tend to see the product in a positive light, even if you arn't actually interested.
A year or so ago I was reading The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond and he mentioned that after living in a media-free society in tribal New Guinea, his initial reaction to the advertisements he read in a maganize on the lfight back to L.A. was also negative.
This has me thinking about media literacy. At my high school they teach us about media literacy; knowing what ads are doing and how they are created to be appealing so we would know what ads we are really interested in. I'm thinking now, does this "media literacy" stuff really just unintentionally teach you to identify the ad and digest it's message rather than identify an ad and chose if you wish to believe it? This isn't suppose to be "our corporate masters are brainwashing us in our schools!" paranoia, it's just a thought about the side effects of learning about media.
One example of an add that this could be applied to (although its not the ad I was initially thinking of) is the weight loss ads that promise you can lose weight without exercise and while eating specially made servings of "your favourite foods", such as hamburgers, pizza, lasagna, ect. The promise is that you can do soemthing out of nothing. My reaction was immediately that that would be undesirable because as soon as the program ended you would immediately gain the weight back because you did not disciplin yourself to be healthy and active. The product seemed like a poor alternative to the other choices it was trying to beat (diet and exercise) because it did not emphasis health or a change in lifestyle yet promised what would result from a change of lifestyle. Or maybe I'm thinking too hard, but that was my initial reaction.
Marketing in general is fascinating to me. My dad was watching golf today and all the ads were golf themed, even if the product was not. When you flip the channel, you will see the same product being advertised with different values attached to it. One minute the product is golf related, the next minute it isn't related to anything else, then the next minute it's hockey-related. Then there are demographics and everything... and gender advertising, blah blah blah. As Paul Simon at Woodstock would say, its one giant mind-fuck. Marketing can make a useless product appear revlutionary!
What do you think the psychological factors behind media and marketing are?