Bad Target

My father always liked to listen to the sound of his own voice. Being an only child I was the chosen audience for his speeches. Luckily for me, he has an enormous cultural background and my vision of the world was greatly shaped by those long talks when I wanted to go away and do something else.

One of the things that he told me and that I remember time and again is that our vision of an object changes proportionally with the knowledge we have about that object. For example, a rock can be simply a rock or part of the geological evolution of Earth if we know how to determine its composition and origin.

In my everyday life this truth makes me a bad target for publicity in any form.

I have a background in sales,so it is pretty easy for me to walk into  a store and realise wich products that store wants to sell , which of the employes just want to make a sale and wich ones are really giving their opinion.

Also I was lucky to  assist at some assembly of tv programs, so when watching an interview I know if it was recorded with one or two cameras, and I look for details of how they put the piece together.

But what made me write today was a specific commercial from  a car company(and I’m truly honest when I say I don’t know which company that is ).

What you wear conveys a message on itself. I was watching this gentleman talking about the company where he is someone important and I was looking at his jacket and wondering  ‘how can a man who wants to look successful has a jacket with such a bad fit?’.

When I looked more closely I noticed that the shoulder pads were to big for him, that what was wrong. And I don’t think that publicists don’t know what they are doing, so this had to have a reason.And I realised that if we took them away we would have  a nice looking man for his age, but not with such an almost athletic feeling about him.That was the message that they wanted the public also to get, that this man was ready for action, not only a big boss that seats at his desk.

This what I took from the commercial, not the brand of the car, not what he said.And I do this with every form of publicity that comes my way.

We all know that politicians have been doing this for years. Maybe the first flagrant example was when J F K showed a picture of an unshaved Nixon and asked something like ‘Will you elect for President a man you wouldn’t  buy a car from?'(it turns out there was a couple of other things about Nixon, but that’s not the point here)

But have you ever noticed what is precisely the message that publicity is trying to send you?

Am I the only one that does this?

Am I just being cynical about the world?


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lydee
    Sep 21, 2009 @ 18:18:09

    interesting. i think many people are like that within their frame of knowledge. you just have a more interesting perspective with your sales background.


  2. Kari
    Sep 21, 2009 @ 22:09:18

    I actually think that is a very smart idea to analyze the motives behind advertisements and sale strategies, particularly since you have a background in sales yourself.

    My dad recently read a book on how we make decisions and how advertisers can take advantage of that process. It’s called “Predictably Irrational” if you are interested in checking it out. His favorite part was exploring how people are so much more inclined to buy something if they get something “FREE” with it – much more so than if they only get a discount on something else – and how we are also much more inclined to buy something that was expensive & is on sale for a lower price, rather than buying something that was set at the low price originally.


  3. sharon rose
    Sep 22, 2009 @ 03:10:58

    Yes an interesting post, some companies try way too hard and get it totally wrong in my opinion!!


  4. Sheila
    Sep 23, 2009 @ 00:34:11

    I worked in sales for a long time and I always know when people are bs-ing me. I always watch commercials to see which one of the 3 things methods they will use to get people to want what they are selling: sex, fear or greed.


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