Wednesday, March 16, 2011

That Salt n Pepa Look

The other day, I don't know why but this ad made me laugh.

It just goes to show the stupidity of advertising, the theme that with just one product, your life will be so much better. Not only that, it can be so fickle. We can advertise anything as the miracle to make you happy, even if in the past we advertise black hair as great, now we can advertise black and grey hair.

There's so much of advertising that is hilarious. Like the sheer amount of fun that women seem to have in tampon ads. It makes me wish I could get one. Then I realised that you have to put them in a brown paper bag when you sell them in a pharmacy. But why, I used to think. Why are they so ashamed of this most fun purchase?

The thing that advertising really sells better than most, thanks to the sheer repetition and the overarching theme of it all, is the message of dissatisfaction. Constantly, we are told of a 'problem' that we have, and a way to make it all better. Even when we know that this is going on, it's hard to ignore, because advertising is everywhere.

Recently, I saw a demonstration of eye-tracking, where researchers measure how the eye moves in an environment. The setting was an airport lounge. A lot of the eye movement was looking at people, usually in a stereotypical pattern of quick around the face, focus on the eyes, and then very quickly up and down (more attention paid to women by both sexes). Interestingly, people then seemed to be attracted to signs in the environment, and of course most of these signs are either advertising, or stupid (please don't bring bombs, firearms etc on the plane).

I was struck by the idea that we could eventually develop this technology for something useful, like using the eye tracking the other way around - move the eye to avoid advertising altogether.

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