THE SECRET LIFE OF ADVERTISERS

 

Here’s a little secret. Dishonest technicians sometimes invent vague, senseless technical-jargon. They do this to describe a serious problem with the machine, then offer to ‘fix it’. At a price.

Another secret? Advertising and sales people do the same thing. The psychology is based on the premise that if you can convince somebody they have a problem, then offer your product as a solution, they’ll buy it.

Of course, there doesn’t actually have to be a problem in the first place. You just have to convince the customer that there is, and that your product can solve that problem.

So, what problem does the following solve? It has computer-designed ribs to give flexibility. It’s rechargeable and has a ‘daily clean mode’. It also has a waterproof handle – which is ergonomically designed – and is electrically safe. There is even a sonic version.

So, what problem would such a piece of hi-tech gadgetry solve? I’ll tell you; it cleans out wee pieces of stuff that’s stuck in your teeth. Yes, what I have been describing is the techno-babble pseudo science description of an electric toothbrush.

Advertisers and salesmen are wonderful psychologists. Their job is to manipulate us into buying something based on the fact that it solves a problem we didn’t even know we had. And the more techno-speak they can use the better.

Yes, advertising execs must think we are terribly stupid. Which is why they come up with slogans like ‘New and improved’. When you think about that, it’s just noise – empty words.

How can something be new AND improved? It can only be one or the other. If it’s new, then it can’t be an improved version. And if it’s improved, then it can’t be new! See what I mean?

They invent a problem. Offer to fix it. Then bamboozle us with meaningless techno-phrases and hollow slogans.

The worrying thing? It works, and we buy their stuff.

It’s their little secret. And now you know it, too.

Drew McAdam

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