Advertisement seeks to influence our decisions and to tell us what to do with the usual aim behind it being to enrich a business. If we think about it, we see that one of the best qualities of the human mind is our ability to reason. We are apt to despise people who live by their emotions and instincts alone and fail to make use of reason. In fact, on most counts the man who is able to reason is considered far superior to the man who simply can not . People who do not reason are those who are likely to make decisions based on emotions or under influence of some things. As much as we would like it to be otherwise, we go through struggling between these two faculties. In a weaker man, emotions dominate and in a stronger man reason prevails.

Advertisement also has great impact on young audiences. Young audiences are bombarded with persuading messages through media, and according to a research an average child is exposed to 40,000 commercial every year. This implies that children are spending more time reading ads on the internet than books in school. Basically advertisement thrives on the premise that men are more emotional than reasonable. Though sometimes the emotional appeals are coated with words of hard seeming logic. If we think about it deep enough, there is hardly an advertisement that appeals to reason.

A woman takes a strained piece of cloth to a well dressed man who then washes away stains with some miracle soap. The immediate response from women is that the soap is indeed superior to all others. The rule of logic is here broken so loudly that it should be deafening; it is unwarranted generalization to conclude anything after a single application (while it’s not even real application). Any logical person will disagree to the claim, but that product sells better than a lot of others which are equally good, perhaps better. The reason being that in addition to just seeing the “movie “, we are being influenced at a subconscious level. The next time we go to the supermarket, the brand we will pay attention immediately to is the brand we recently have seen in advertisement. The fact remains that similar products are probably just as good even if they were not advertised and did not make an impression. Yet we have been persuaded by emotions to buy something.

“Advertising – the science of arresting human intelligence long enough to get money from it.”

Stephen Leacock

In this example no real harm is done, but in general, advertisements do influence us much more than they should. We see hundreds of items for which there is no real need in our daily lives, but we buy them – usually after having made the decision subconsciously. What is worse is that even some harmful products are advertised in this way. Cigarette advertisements are banned in Pakistan because of the government’s realization of what kind of harm they cause, but what about other products that are equally as or more deleterious than cigarettes? Like we all know about the so-called tetra-pack milk. Ironically, such advertisements are more interesting than others, probably because advertisers are rich. Other than this there are subtle strategies which are played by such agencies like questioning our manhood – and our ego, like we all know an advertisement of a carbonated drink which says “ye na kia tou phir kia jiya!”.

“Advertising is art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.”

WILL ROGERS

The strangest part is that everyone knows that such appeals to snobbery, greed and the desire to show off are not at all within the bounds of reason, yet almost everyone suspends reason and chooses to get influenced by advertisements. Indeed this shows the power that useless advertisements have over all of us.

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Written By: Burhan Ahmed Khan

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