Most advertising is smothered in B.S. We all know this, because every day we’re exposed to the simple-minded, irrational emotional sentiments rather than the pragmatism and usefulness of goods. These silly warm fuzzies drive advertising promotions, and ultimately the economy. The B.S. meter chimes perpetually during every commercial break on radio, TV, print and Internet.
And this B.S. spectrum is far and wide, from “Did you vote for Hillary?” ads in Yahoo e-mail, to pseudo-science presented in spectacular high-tech 3d imagery, to listing the most unpleasant side effects of drugs in a pleasant female tone that makes a sex phone operator jealous, to touting the art of crafting light beer with iconic American imagery & bursting at the loins like a patriotic beer-gasm… coming from a company with a mission statement of: “…to become the best beer company in the world measured by profitability.”
None of this B.S., no matter how silly or false, bothers me one bit. We all make decisions in the types of products we like to purchase, based on our own needs and desires, and at some point, we all have been suckered into buying stupid crap, like rotating exercise chairs or Vivitar’s old stock of cheap film cameras.
The economy keeps burning, and the world keeps turning.
But there is one sucker technique that really erks my tweaker. It’s a personal pet peeve. This is where my story and rant begins.
Leaving the gym yesterday, lightheaded and high on life, a radio commercial with a charming, cheery voice chimes to inform me I “deserve” their product.
What did I do to merit, qualify, or stake claim to a McDonald’s Cheeseburger, a home mortgage, or an enormous Starbucks Trenta coffee, Ms. Radio Announcement Lady? What tidbit of knowledge did you find out about my personal achievements? Is it because I’m irresistibly sexy? Because I drop change in those red buckets every Christmas?
Even the very definition of deserve mocks entitlement advertising:
to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to (reward, assistance, punishment, etc.) because of actions, qualities, or situation
The real stupidity of this messaging comes down to this: advertising is a one-way conversation. With no regard to any need or desire, a potentially useful, clear-cut sales pitch simply relies on vanity and our most basic instincts. It assumes (stupidly) the product is so OMG FREAKING INCREDIBLE that I, in fact, not only should to purchase it, but I’m somehow entitled to do so.
But perhaps you’re wrong, Ms. Radio Announcement Lady. It’s more likely, on some days, that I really deserve a kick in the teeth, a branding with a hot curling iron, or a kick in the arse (preferred over the teeth kick or the curling iron…)
This descriptive language that aims to provide a sense of entitlement is not a new technique in advertising; it’s a run-of-the-mill by-product of petty consumer culture that we should feel entitled to spend our money on anything at all.
And yes, telling someone they deserve something isn’t deceptive as much as it is ignorant; these idiotic 30-60 second bits aim to achieve sale by playing on the most base, irrational feelings that we somehow are deserve something because 1) we want it and 2) we’re told we deserve it.
Below I’ve summed it up in an amazing science based visual demonstration. Go on, read it. You deserve to:
- An SEO, Lawyer, Car Mechanic, and Ad Exec Walk Into a Bar – Evaluating SEO as a Service
- An E-commerce Marketing Plan that Won’t Overwhelm You – Part 1
- An E-commerce Marketing Plan that Won’t Overwhelm You – Part 2
- My Proposed FDA Cigarette Package Warnings
- A Compilation of the Most Useful Market Misfit Posts