"Advertising" by Douglas Rushkoff is an insightful chapter from his book, Coercion: Why we listen to what "they" say (1999) as he describes how advertising has drastically changed since the 1800s. Advertising used to be about making a certain brand publicized, however, many changes led to the different ways of how and why an ad is presented today. This chapter shows how the way advertisers deliver their messages to the public becomes/is directly linked to the complexity in the way the audience analyzes it. With this being said, the marketers are trying to keep up with the consumers, while advertisers are coming up with different ways to understand the new environment as well as the audience does, by coming up with new and successful programming tricks. It is stated that "in this age of new media, the programmers are the visitors, and we, for once, have the home-field advantage." From this reading, I have come up with several questions that will help link this article to your daily life, while bringing up important points and key topics that this reading focuses on.
1) To begin discussion, I want you to think about the relevance of ads to your daily life. Do you find ads influencing in whether or not you buy a specific product? If so, how?
2) Do you think that advertising agencies are more beneficial than in-house advertising for companies (advertising activities done by people within the company)? Why/Why not?
3) Most brand images or icons are designed to appeal to the psychological needs of the consumer. Some brands today have a media image that they connect their product to. What are some examples that exemplify these brand images? Do you find them to be successful in getting people to buy their product?
4) Within this chapter it talks about "subliminal advertising" (the use of images and sounds to influence consumers' responses without them being conscious of it). Can someone explain in detail what this is and/or give a relevant example of it? Have you been influenced by this kind of advertising before?
5) This chapter also discusses "wink advertisements", which is when a company borrows imagery from another companies advertisements. Do you see these advertisements often and when seen, do you find these beneficial for the company that borrowed the imagery?
6) Is it more beneficial for a company to place an ad that is specifically for a particular group or for the larger population? Today, who do you think is the most targeted demographic?
7) It says that "advertisers are learning to stay one step ahead in the chaotic mediaspace." Do you think that advertisers have been able to keep up with the consumers? If so, how?
Brief Wrap Up:
This chapter raises interesting points that keep me, as a part of the advertisers audience, more intrigued and observant in the way ads are produced and ultimately presented by companies. It ends on the point that today, advertisements are promoting their product through their campaigns by saying that by using this product individuals can be themselves and express their own personality with no effort, ultimately relating to the "back-to-basics authenticity" of such advertisements. Overall, advertisers are constantly finding new ways to stay ahead of the game and to have one foot in front of the consumers to keep them unable to resist the pressures and manipulation provided from these ads.