Objects of Study

On average, a television show lasting an hour long will contain 13 minutes and 52 seconds of commercials (TNS Media Intelligence). That is 13 minutes and 52 seconds of paid-for access to our eyes. Think about which commercials you remember the most. Ever wonder why they had such an impact on you (aside from the fact that they are shown at least three times while you sit and watch a few hours of TV)? We are objects of study, especially between ages 18 and 25, the target audience for advertisers. They conduct surveys, asking what we think about certain products or what types of television we enjoy watching. They dig into our personal desires and manipulate their ads around what they know that we are looking for. Have those commercials in mind yet? The first three I think of are all similar:

Google’s 2010 Super Bowl commercial “Parisian Love”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rS4Lb-ie4Lc

Corona’s “Find Your Beach” commercial

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-6V2ap7Vdk

The U.S. Marine Corps commercial

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=28022687393

How could those commercials have anything in common? They appeal to our desires, our fantasies and our personalities; exactly what all advertisers aim to do. Google (whose ad was not intended for the Super Bowl) utilized a classic love story of a student studying abroad and falling in love with a French girl. In only a few search terms, the audience finds a truly moving story, one that most desire. The Corona commercial, although not a love story with a person, shows a connection between a person, an amazing piece of Earth, and a nice, cold Corona. Watching this commercial, the viewer cannot help but fantasize about leaving their 9 to 5 job to take a vacation and drink with friends or loved ones. Lastly, the Marines commercial appeals to our patriotic and brave personalities. The powerful music, beautiful landscapes and influential words lead many viewers to desire that honor of fighting for our country.

The point is, is that we are objects of study. Advertisers constantly dive into our minds so that they appeal to our desires, fantasies and personalities. This is important to keep in mind whether you plan on going into public relations, advertising, marketing, or even simply as an average viewer. Next time you watch television, pay attention to what is emphasized in the advertisements and how they are presented to you. There is always more to it than just promoting the product.

In the words of the Most Interesting Man In the World, “Stay thirsty my friends.”

Written by Chelsey Rodowicz.

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