What words or thoughts come up in your mind when you hear the word "Advertising"?
I can tell you what comes to my mind.
Catchy and not so catchy (read downright annoying) jingles, giant billboards selling you stuff you do not need, genetically blessed and financially fortunate celebrities selling you stuff to help you become the prettiest and fanciest version of yourself, random unwelcomed ads interrupting your favorite show (for God’s sake I want to know what happens after the new bride drops that Aarti ki thali immediately). The creepiest of them all is when Facebook’s homepage shows ads based on your last Google session. No, I do not want Kylie Jenner’s limited edition lip kits. I was just reading about the next mansion she bought and getting envious of the fact that a teenager has got her life figured out.
What goes on in the minds of ad makers? How do they decide what will work and what won’t? How do they make consumers buy stuff they don’t need and even stuff that can cause them harm? Seriously, ad makers how do you folks convince modern, well educated, and smart 30-year-old women that they are supposed to have skin as smooth, soft, and flawless as a baby? How do you play with our deepest darkest insecurities? Please, show us your ways.
Just like most of us, ad makers don’t get it right all the time. They underestimate, overestimate, or are completely clueless about what the consumers need. Even a good product can get severely damaged by a shoddy ad. Badgering rarely works. If you are not able to convince me to try something at the first go, then no amount of Internet popups, monstrous hoardings, or frequently repeated ads is going to cut it. Not even if you buy me a drink and dinner at a fancy French restaurant. This time, it is not me, it is definitely YOU. Do not pressure me to like you. That will, in fact, make me like you even less. If something is not working, go home and work on yourself. Take a road trip with your friends or something. Seriously!
Even the smartest of consumers can get carried away. Spontaneous shopping is a thing. Why do you think I end up with such copious amounts of food when I am grocery shopping hungry? The Vikas Khanna in me awakens, and I am convinced that I am going to cook that fettuccine alfredo pasta like a pro. And it is going to taste exactly like the one I had in an Italian restaurant. In the end, I keep staring at the sauce in my refrigerator for months till it reaches its expiration date. The pasta experiences a very similar fate as well. And then I throw them away not allowing them to fulfill their destiny of being a part of a delicious meal. No wonder I am haunted by the ghosts of delicious foods I never had.
So ad makers, if you want me to spend the money I do not have, please come up with better convincing techniques. You know, I am gullible when I want to be. I will eat that delicious chocolate convincing me it is the ultimate pleasure life can offer. I will buy that long-lasting red lipstick even if I end up looking like “The Joker” after a couple of hours. I will marry you if you understand my needs and promise not to annoy me.