5 Ways Commercials Influence Viewers
Subliminal messages are the key
My screen time takes up a good chunk of my day. When I wake up, it’s time for the morning news. During the day, I’m checking my social media on my phone. When I’m working, I’m on my laptop reading emails. When I return home, I’m juggling television, my phone, and my laptop.
While I’m on the screen, I’m often bombarded by tv commercials and/or online ads. They’re everywhere. It’s hard to escape them. But there are ways, My laptop gives me the option to swipe the ad away. But this can be tiring. I’m usually stuck when I’m watching television. Sometimes I change the channel, but oftentimes I just watch the commercial.
I remember commercials being fun when I was a kid. Maybe because they featured my favorite cartoon character shilling a popular cereal or toy. For example, Fred Flintsone and Barney Rubble from The Flintstones were the spokesmen for Fruity Pebbles. It was a popular cereal during the 80s. Every Saturday morning, I’d start the day with a big bowl of Fruity Pebbles as I watched my favorite cartoons.
Nowadays, everyone is in a commercial. I’ve seen A-list actors like George Clooney and Johnny Depp shilling coffee and designer watches. I’d see athletes like Steph Curry in a commercial for Subways and Lebron James in McDonald’s commercials for the revamped Space Jam movie. Shaquille O Neal talks about General Insurance and Epson printers. Actors, both real and fictional. Recently, I saw a mashup of the superstar athlete Serena Williams and Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984.
But all these commercials serve a purpose — to get viewers to buy their products or purchase their services. And if commercials weren’t effective, you wouldn’t see A-list actors or superstar athletes appearing in them. Here are five ways commercials influence viewers:
- Tug at the heartstrings — Show viewers a war-torn city and hungry children to get them to donate money to help victims of war or natural disasters.
- Make them laugh — Comedians in commercials always bring the funny and the money by appealing to viewers’ sense of humor. The objective is to get viewers laughing while they’re reaching for their wallets.
- Take action — Commercials are used heavily by politicians and nonprofit organizations. They want viewers to vote, contact their representatives, protest social injustice, protect the environment, and save an endangered species.
- Promote a product or service — Actors will appear in a commercials to help sell life insurance, ask people to get colon cancer screenings, or support a law.
- Focus on a specific time of year — Commercials ramp up during August and September for Back to School and Labor Day deals, Halloween costtumes in October and holiday shopping in November and December. Every season, commercials entice viewers to make purchases to celebrate a new year, show someone you love them, and appreciate moms, dads, and grads.
So, the next time you’re watching a commercial, think about the message its sending you. Do you need to take action? Buy a gift? Prepare for a holiday? Purchase insurance? The commercial will tell you. It’s up to you to decide if you’re buying what it’s selling.