By Cameron Bocanegra | Reporter
This is your life in between advertisements. We try to ignore ads because they are never the current focus of our attention since they are so common and regularized. We assume ads just take up space and in turn, we think we pay them no mind. It takes one suspicious glance, just a curious part of you that crinkles your nose at a silly display of a product and makes you think, “Who even cares?” In that moment of scrutiny, your attention has succumbed to an advertisement that companies pay millions for.
Ads plaster themselves on billboards and in commercials while hiding in the margins of websites, magazines and social media. We want to think we are smarter than a commercial, but the reality is we are being caught off guard and trapped by a suggestion with every ad. For example, if someone ran up to you with a small, pretty dog and said, “This right here is a purebred, miniature, million dollar pooch that’s going to change the game of fetch,” your first instinct would immediately believe all of it and think, “What a cool dog.” Advertisement companies basically do this but on a broader, more complex scale.
Advertisers are constantly parading something new and wonderful in front of us and feeding us what we want to hear. We take one look, acknowledge the ad for a moment and toss it to the back of our mind with information like who the 18th president was and why you don’t eat that one food that you never really tried. It’s the names of stadiums, product placements in television and the man on the street corner waving a giant arrow at a store no one ever goes to. Give it a millisecond and the thought is in your head. Commercialism won again.
Something is decorated, made urgent, factual or exciting for us. Part of us as people in a materialistic world is to be ultimately intrigued by the next thing. There’s a happy couple that smiles with every sip of this amazing soda and if you drink it, you can be happy too. Of course, that’s not what you’re thinking when you see this ad, but it sticks with you as yet another defining factor in the back of your head that adds to whatever idea being sold. This is what happy people do, beautiful people do, rich people do –– anything that is farfetched enough to be sold to you with a glance. This is how you much sweeter your existence can be if you buy this product. We have been trained by the pretty ideas of what we think we need and want.
Stopping this conditioning is not much of an option. Paying less attention to ads gives it even more and realistically, we are just consumers. We are waiting constantly for what is going to be paraded to us with bells and whistles to make us go, “Ahhh.” There is no shame. It is key in business and the modern age. Frankly, where would we be without the crutch of it? What would I buy if these companies were not pushing so many options and nice ideas in my direction? I would be so unaware of where to start. In reality, we do not know where to find anything we want without first being shown.