advertising, Philosophy, Questions

The dumbness factor of advertising…

You can’t escape from it. TV, magazines & newspapers, the internet, on your phone, billboards… Quite literally EVERYWHERE!

It’s a huge industry, worth over £14 billion annually in the UK alone. Quite obviously it works and is an essential resource for business in order to survive but does it dumb people down?

The average IQ in the UK is around 100 with “smart” people at 120 and Mensa membership requiring a score of 140 or above. Logically this would require advertisers to keep the standard of their work lower (dumber?)  to appeal to the largest audience.

That may sound a little condescending or even arrogant but is it valid? Advertising seeks to increase sales of a product or service and therefore the aim is to reach as many people as possible. This principle applies even to niche items where the market is limited in number, the advertiser will still to try and hit as many of those consumers as possible.

When it comes to mass-produced items where almost everyone is a consumer (washing powder, bread, milk etc) yet because there are multiple brands of the same product it sometimes becomes a war of attrition. The company with the largest budget can afford to bombard us with their ads until we can quite literally be brain washed into believing it’s the best or cheapest and will automatically buy without considering alternatives. At least that is the assumption.

As the saying goes; throw enough shit against the wall and some of it will stick.

Ironically, some ads are so clever, funny and even artistic that they appeal to just about everyone. check out the 2003 programme by CH4 – 100 greatest TV Adverts –

Intelligent people can distinguish good content from bad but is there SOoooo much of it that now matter how smart you are inevitably you will succumb to the messages or will you simply tune it out and continue to make your own decisions?

Poor and/or constant advertising is so pernicious that it even becomes part of popular culture. Many comedians now use PPI advertising as material for their acts. It can also become so popular that it becomes dangerous, remember when You’ve been Tango’ed got banned due to injuries including deafness?

It’s unlikely that advertising will ever cease to become part of our daily lives but let’s all hope that one day they will either raise the bar or at the very least expose us to less of it repeatedly – PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE follow and like my blog!

Did it work?

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