Friday, February 05, 2010

Ads and so on

An ad on NYT broke through my ad-blocker, this one for student loans.
And it strikes me how effective advertising can be, because few people could be further than me from the target audience, and yet immediately I saw it, I noticed myself feeling (not thinking) something like "ah that's nice, maybe I should get one", before I'd even really noticed what it was about. Surely the tasteful and simple design, along with the very attractive models and photography was a factor.

In the excellent SF novel The Diamond Age, Neil Stephenson offhandedly presents the idea (just a casual sentence, really) that fifty years from now, advertising may be illegal.
Apart from the fact that this would surely increase dramatically the extend of underhanded advertising such as product placement, I must say I think the idea has some appeal. I think 90% of advertising has some aspect of dishonesty. Most things are not sold on their own merits, but rather on the message from the advertiser that shelling out the bucks for this product will make you cool and popular and sexy.

Update: an article about ads and the magazine/paper revenue model, and how can a writer earn money in the Net age.


Bruce said...

Advertising people have a motto that goes something like this: "sell the sizzle, not the steak." They sell you the idea of the product, or some other idea, that really is not part and parcel of the product. I think this is deceptive, if not downright dis-honest. Very few advertisers simply sell a product on its own merits. Try to patronize those that do.

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