Television And Radio Commercials Shape Human Behavior Critical Thinking Samples

Type of paper: Critical Thinking

Topic: Advertising, Media, People, Audience, Business, Television, Customers, Products

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2021/02/08

Commercials are a marketing technique that presents information about a commercial product in a persuasive way since its purpose is to convince potential consumers in the benefits of the commodity. Since there is a stiff, near-cutthroat competition on the consumer market, with producers vying for market segments or shares, advertisers try their best to make a commercial as convincing as possible. Towards that end, they resort to different popularization techniques trying to persuade the intended audience by fair means or foul. What better way to make people purchase a product than to manipulate people through hypnosis or neuro linguistic programming. Every television watching session brings viewers into a state of hypnotic sleeping making perceptive to telecast information. The same holds true for the NLP finding approaches to all viewers preferring different information perception and processing systems. Using suggestibility, commercials bring viewers or listeners into a certain emotional state arousing emotions like hatred or compassion conductive to manipulation and information perception. Advertisers use positive images, idols, music, and humor to tone down the negative aura of commercials and develop the positive attitude of people towards a brand. Overall, advertisers promoting products on TV or over the radio use a wide range of manipulative, deceptive techniques if only to foist their merchandise on consumers.
Addressing the ability of media to create insecurities, Bryce (n.d.) stated that plenty of advertisement techniques included stealthy approaches instrumental in getting consumers to think their lives deficient and incomplete for want of a promoted product. Advertisements nudge viewers into thinking that it is only by acquiring a merchandise that they can make their lives “better” and “whole” again. A good number of advertisements tell people they are not good enough, without buying a new car, drinking the correct soft beverage, laying in a supply of scented toilet paper, and using perfect shampoo (Bryce, n.d.). Advertisements seem to appeal to people who aspire after higher social standards or status and who want themselves perceived positively by people around. Radio and television advertisements make people believe drinking the right beverage or driving a prestigious car can improve their public image no good conduct, charity, or intelligence ever would convincing them it needs improving.
As unacceptable as it is, media use the right tool craftily going deep into an individual psychology of an average adult who has neighbors, relatives, friends, and coworkers keep an eye on him or her. People have a social identity associating themselves with a certain and group and there is always a competition between different social members, and cars and other advertised commodities can help in both matters equally well. Often people watch advertisement actors convincing them to buy a product if only because everyone does so based on its benefits. Consumer often go on to do what is recommended falling prey to or information cascade or the herd instinct. In information cascades, according to Professor Pierre Limeux (2004), people shape their convictions using information they receive while witnessing the opinions or behavior of others. It follows from this that the choice is not theirs since they rely on other people’s modes of conduct. More specifically, women purchase a scouring agent because women in TV commercials are shown as using and recommending the brand.
Alarcon and Ha (2014) noted that consumers made their judgment on the basis of emotions. Advertising (2014) noted that Ex-Chair at Johns Hopkins University John Watson, who was an outstanding psychologist in the 1920s, had introduced the concept of behaviorism into advertising that appeal to the chief emotions of consumers like love, fear, and hate as a direct command issued to customers (as cited in Alarcon and Ha, 2014). Bryce (n.d.) also stated that some advertised messages built upon anxieties, guilt, and hostilities. Multiple times on a daily basis, people read or hear themselves called not good enough, which continuously sets them nervous causing anxiety, dissatisfaction, and diseases on some occasions. Such suggestibility exists uninterrupted within human psychology determining the relationship of people to the world around and themselves, their consciousness and the state of being.
Although people exercise the power of suggestion on an unconscious level day in and day out, the world of advertising manipulates it intentionally and mercilessly (Bryce, n.d.). Todd (2011) cited book author and applied psychologist Dill Scott who gave advertising psychology its due for the ability to exploit human obedience and suggestibility (as cited in Alarcon and Ha, 2014). Whether over the radio or on television, media resources force the inferiority complex upon viewers and then come up with a remedy. Even if women look slim, media will sparkle hysteria to sell weight reduction medical devices on them. Suggestion allows pulling viewers out of a normal state and renders them friendly to the perception of any information they would normally regard as nonsensical or useless when in a normal emotional state. In the world of beauty products, according to Iannone (2013), advertisers showing photo-shopped models reason viewers into feeling and believing themselves to be imperfect. The International Coalition (2011) cited Noam Chomsky suggesting that one of media manipulation approaches was the creation of problems and offering solutions to it.
Bryce (n.d.) noted that the medical industry does not need people to buy medications and use them if need be only. Even if people stay and feel healthy, media manipulate them and fill with doubts as to the state of health. Plenty of advertisements suggest remedies against diseases and ailments ranging from backaches and headaches to premenstrual tension, prostate issues, and constipation. The omnipresence of the cures leaves people convinced of the need to use them if only by force of suggestion (Bryce, n.d.). What advertisers do is stir viewers’ anxiety and make them open or perceptive to advertising propaganda. They exploit innermost fears and apprehension pushing their commodities as prevention medications to health people. All a man predisposed to fears of developing prostate disorders needs is an impulse to open his apprehensions, and a commercial will do an excellent job activating his perception.
Speaking of suggestibility and emotion manipulation, Alarcon and Ha (2014) noted that Dill Scott addressed the capacity of advertising to arouse emotions and feelings. Appealed to often are the esthetic sense and sympathy of consumers. Thus, for example, the Living Room Candidate (2012) presented a presidential campaign TV advertisement from 2004 suggesting terrorists had murdered hundreds of innocent children, 200 innocent commuters in Spain, and 3.000 innocent Americans. John Kerry was reported to have been lobbying for a rollback of intelligence and defense for 30 years running (the Living Room Candidate, 2012). Ad developers used repetition that becomes fixed in viewers’ minds, visual elements like the photographs of Kerry and attack victims used for viewers with a better visual memory and appeal to sympathy through emphasis on victims and the word “innocent.” The effect is predictable since the ad evokes the nationalism and compassion of patriotically inclined Americans who will not have innocent people killed believing voting for Bush to be their contribution to the fight against terrorism. The control and manipulation of mass consciousness and human emotions in the US political ads cannot but find parallelism in Orwell’s Big Brother. As far as terrorism and Iraq go, Buzzell (2006) opined that children in Iraq resembled those seen on TV commercials asking for 99 cents a day that could feed a hungry child.
More to the power of emotions and sympathy, Diaz (2011) cited the commercial for “Tampax” and “Always” assuring that buying any of hygiene products allows donating 14 million dollars to the UN Association’s HERO Campaign during 2008 in order to provide education and protection for African girls often missing school and dropping out as a result. Tampax products make use of social campaigns and manipulative commercials to connect to impressionable minds and hearts. Of similar purpose is an H&M advertisement assuring consumers that producers will allocate 25% of sales to HIV/AIDS prevention and education efforts (Diaz, 2011). The advertisements emerged in the form of photographs and TV commercials. While there may seem to be nothing wrong about buying the product to help poor children, it may be that the company uses social campaign as a shield to disguise its sale boosting intentions.
According to Bryce (n.d.), advertisers connect to their intended segmented audience using narrowing criteria like society stratification, prestige, authority, and intellect, to name a few. Television ads for washing powder, toothpaste, painkillers, and pet food feature men wearing white coats describing products that have received a scientific confirmation being clinically proven and laboratory tested. The psychology is that, besides reassuring the product will get the job done, advertisers suggest it is second best to no other alternative medication just because science has said so (Bryce, n.d.). The psychological calculation is excellent since science is usually a near-irreproachable institution that enjoys people credibility due to a proven and established positive aura and connotation because it has always been science that proved useful by delivering the society from epidemics and other related calamities, that is, science a priori has viewers positively prepared to taking its information as granted. Still, Iannone (2013) suggested that advertisers often confused viewers with pseudoscience by dimly referring to studies or resorting to scientifically sounding jargon.
In the 1950s, TV advertisers were first caught using subliminal advertising, with TV commercials transmitting split-second images developed specifically to arouse the product desire of viewers. Flashing the message “I am thirsty” during a soft beverage commercial could go unrecognized (Bryce, n.d.). To quote the example of the still-in-use technology, Lee (2008) asserted that “Channel Ten” was under investigation for the reported application of subliminal advertising during the broadcast of the Aria music award ceremony. Bryce (n.d.) opined that the technique finds its application in politics. In the course of the presidential campaign in the USA, a Republican-sponsored TV advertisement would slow down periodically to display the word “RATS,” with voiceover censuring the prescription drug plan of the then Vice-President al Gore. The power of repetitive advertising serves the purpose of selling unpopular policies by governments. Another specific example comes from Australia where the federal government allegedly spent an estimated 20 million dollars on programs, such as The Natural Heritage Trust and Work for the Dole. According to Scott (1902), apart from association, ingenuity, and intensity, impressing advertisements also rest upon such principle as repetition occurring at frequent intervals so they will become grow fixed in people’s memory (as cited in Alarcon and Ha, 2014).
Call, Audousset, Bayrak, Vaskova, Pistecky, Kopecky, Heydrich, and Fiser (2010) noted that companies availed themselves of wishes and dreams to trick consumers into purchasing services and commodities. Men are quoted as saying that, in acquiring and using a product, they acquire the feeling of belonging in a cultural or social group. Marketing specialists spend billions on celebrities like Megan Fox, Tiger Woods, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Troy Polamalu in advertisements since it yields commercial results (Call et al., 2010). Call, Audousset, Bayrak, Vaskova, Pistecky, Kopecky, Heydrich, and Fiser (2010) presented a picture showing Roger Federer, Thierry Henry, and Tiger Woods as standing together, with a shaving tackle in Henry’s hand. It is safe to admit that marketing psychologists make use of people’s longstanding habit of creating idols and imitating them. Brands would not sign contracts with stars running into millions if adolescents and young adults would not be seen doing stunts or execute wrestling maneuvers the way football or wrestling stars do, to say nothing of wearing their T-shirts or copying their habits and lifestyle. However, this is not all there is to manipulative radio and television advertising tricks.
Prestige pricing is a luxury industry technique, whereby producers charge a high price for a merchandise in the belief that it would produce a positive image of quality. Indeed, it does since consumers often see quality and price as interconnected (Call et al., 2010). On television, commercials featuring luxury apartments and goods at exorbitant prices are no rarity. The same is true of the odd pricing technique. According to Call, Audousset, Bayrak, Vaskova, Pistecky, Kopecky, Heydrich, and Fiser (2010), consumers are responsive to psychological pricing tactics and numbers that provide an illusion of merchandise value. Goods coming at a price tag of 9.99 dollars are 10% to 20% more likely to end up in a shopping wheelbarrow than 10-dollar commodities are. Beyond these, advertisers use a trick known as a limited time offer, is a persuasive purchase-accelerating tool imposing time limits on the selling period of an item. The aim of this type of commercials is to get people panic and frightened by claiming as though there would be no other chance to buy the market’s cheapest product at such a low price. Advertisers also make use of “buy one – get one free” technique since it sounds catchy and intriguing for consumers to get something free being under the impression that it is one in a lifetime opportunity (Call et al., 2010). Whether radio- or telecast, a limited time offer creates an illusional impression of a merchandise in high demand and in short supply due to its suggested popularity, which indicates its quality since so many consumers would not otherwise be on a buying spree.
When in an emotional state, normally pragmatic and thrifty housewives cannot think clear making irrational choices by ordering merchandise they do not need. Advertisers help viewers or listeners out of a normal emotional state by using attention catching and emotion tuning mechanisms readying people for the perception of commercial propaganda, and neuro-linguistic programming may be the case. According to John Grinder and Richard Bandler (1973), applied to sales and customer service and people motivation, NLP is principles and model describing the relations between language or verbal and nonverbal linguistic, mind or neuro, and behavior or programming (as cited in Skinner, 2009). As per the NPL, people process the world via their preferred systems of sensory representation, with visual, kinaesthetics, and auditory individuals seeing, feeling, and hearing the world respectively (Skinner, 2009). Advertisers include elements or stimuli like photos or music that activate each information processing system that perceives manipulative commercial information. However, there may be a far easier explanation. Deschesne (n.d.), advertisers use hypnosis ensuring intense responsiveness to suggestions, highly focused attention, vivid fantasies, images, and readiness to accept the misrepresentation or reality or logic. The act of watching television is the thing that leads the brain of viewers to sink into a hypnotic sleep. With eyes open, television viewers’ brainwaves are similar to those in deep sleep, which makes post-hypnotic suggestions easy to implant (Deschesne, n.d.).
As argued above, repetition is one of techniques ensuring suggested information becomes fixated and memorized, yet hearing the same commercial promos repeated over and over again can prove annoying. Still, Hoeberichts (2012) stated that music could render repetition enjoyable since it utilizes a range of sounds and rhythms that accompany the verbal content of advertisements. The recognition of a familiar tune focuses attention to the ad whenever watched again improving the attitude towards the brand. More than that, humor is a good mood changer for skeptically inclined TV viewers who have already grown averse to advertisements. Farooq, Shafique, Khurshid, and Ahmad (2015) proved that comic inclusions in commercials had a positive effect on the purchasing conduct of university students. To leave viewers positively influenced and positively predisposed to commercials, according to Iannone (2013), advertisers use the images of scantily clad models promoting products since human mind subconsciously relates positive feelings to the product after the release of hormones. As for positive associations and brand attitude improvement, marketers use nostalgia by hiring vintage movie stars to promote products. Advertisers even come to use color believed and proved to make people behave in certain ways, as is the case with McDonalds’ attention-drawing red color stimulating appetite. Adorable children that say cute things themselves are used in commercials (Iannone, 2013). So manipulate and stimulate advertisers children and their physiological desires. Advertisers use children to invest their charm in often negatively perceived otherwise annoying commercials.


Commercials are the instruments of merchandise producers who operate in a competitive profitability-oriented environment that forces them to act creatively to attract consumers often through deceptive and manipulative techniques. Emotion arousal is the chief mechanism that advertisers use to render viewers or listeners perceptive to whatever information is radio- or telecast. The activation of the right emotions like hatred or compassion can urge TV viewers or radio listeners to vote for the right candidates or purchase certain products. Advertisers claim shops are running low on products in high demand thereby provoking panic. Emotions keep people from thinking straight and clear forcing to make irrational choices.
Advertisers are good neuro linguistic programmers who know certain instruments like visuals or sound that activate information-processing systems that make people receptive to new information. The mere act of watching television can bring into a state of hypnotic sleeping contributing to better perception of information however contradictory. Advertisers manipulate people’s aspirations and the habit of creating idols by having sport stars promote commodities. Even skeptical viewers can develop a positive emotional association with commercials if there is the right musical accompaniment, a nostalgic element, or humor inclusions. Children may be used to invest their charisma and charm in commercials. Overall, Advertisers use plenty of deceptive and manipulative technique to make people buy often-unnecessary goods that may even do damage to health, as in the case of medications.


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