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The power of advertisement

Advertisement. An omnipresent word, with omnipotent capabilities.

In the world of marketing that we live in today, advertisement plays a crucial role for brands. The word ‘advertisement’ can be defined as a tool of communication that attempts to persuade potential customers to consume or purchase a specific product or service from a certain brand.


One of the main reason advertisements works so efficiently is that it manipulates us. The purpose of publicity is to influence the way we think. Did we really need to buy the new dish soap we saw on TV? Would we have purchased the new pair of sneakers if we hadn’t seen our favorite blogger on Instagram wearing them? The answer is probably a ‘no’ yet somehow, consciously but probably in uncertainty, we buy it.

Advertisements play directly with our brains. Research from the University of California shows us that when we look at an advertisement with logical persuasion, the areas of our brain that are associated with decision-making and emotion processing experience higher levels of activity. However, there are also certain types of advertisements that work in the opposite way; some ads reduce the activity in the decision-making areas of the brain, which shows that they seduce us rather than persuade us.

There are several strategies brands use to improve the effectiveness of advertisement and to create indirect manipulation:

  1. Most people are drawn to the right hand, which is why in most cases the advertiser places the product on the right hand of the model. Research shows that the main reason for this preference is that the majority of the world population (around 90%) are right-handed themselves.A picture containing person, person Description automatically generated
  2. Colors carry extreme importance, and every color has its own specific signification, which are used to help convey a specific emotion in the consumer. For instance: blue=trust, red=excitement & desire, green=freshness & growth, yellow=joy, black=power & mystery.
  3. The placement of the text and image is also a strategic decision. The eye is drawn chiefly to ads when the image is on the left, and the text is on the right.A picture containing text, person, person Description automatically generated
  4. Texts with round ages are preferred to texts with sharp edges. The reason for this is, subconsciously, the human mind associates sharp edges with sharp things and pain.
  5. The pupils of the model are often enlarged with photoshop tools as people tend to be attracted to large pupils.

Social media’s role

One simply cannot deny the massive role social media has played when it comes to advertisement. The presence of social media is slowly but surely changing the world of marketing. With the emergence of social media, companies have acquired several advantages in advertising a product.

Social media permits brands to reach a larger audience and to engage directly with the customer on a more personal level. Before social media, a personalized advertisement wasn’t as common, nor was it as easily accessible. Personalized ads not only increase effectiveness but also increases sales. It is no surprise that the majority of consumers, around 71%, prefer customized publicity. However, creating efficient personalized ads is more complicated than it may seem. Marketers need to get a global view of their customers and to get to know them: the channels they usually shop from, the promotions they took advantage of in the past, their age, gender, location, interests, etc. It’s really about collecting as much data as the brand can.

The more time we spend on social media and our phones, the greater the chances are that the advertisements are directed strategically according to our preferences. However, it sometimes feels like a horror film: one second, you’re talking about a product with your friend, the next second, you have an ad for the exact same product on your phone. Isn’t this some sort of an invasion of our personal lives? Where does the limit lie? The way it works is, our phones routinely collect our voice data to then eventually use it for marketing purposes.

Social media also introduces a new type of marketing strategy: the influencer marketing, where the influencer is the one who advertises the product directly to his/her followers.

This technique is especially pertinent for brands trying to attract teenagers and young adults, who are also the age population that uses social media the most (as shown in the graph below):

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The word “influencer” means that the person has the power and capacity to change consumer perceptions by affecting their followers.

“At American Eagle, influencer marketing is arguably the most important thing we do,” said Craig Brommers, the company’s chief marketing officer. “We have a young demo, 15 to 25 years old. Social media is their oxygen.”

With the pandemic, the influencer marketing grew, and so did online content consumption, which was predicted to be an average of 7 hours per day. While in 2020, global ad spends declined by 4,2%, digital media grew by 8%. It’s predicted that digital media accounted for 59% of all global ad spend in 2020.

Is life without advertisement possible?

Advertisement can undoubtedly be annoying in a lot of cases. Whether we’re impatiently waiting for the ad on YouTube to terminate for us to finally watch our video, or whether it’s a simple billboard on the street we don’t even notice.

In most cases, the advertisement is like a poisonous snake, and we, the consumer, are the prey. Every day the poisonous snake gets ready to hunt its prey.

The problem with our generation’s advertisement is overexposure. Overexposure to a certain product image may be frustrating, which will also lead to a diminish in the person’s preference towards this certain object. For us, consumers, advertisement isn’t a necessity, but for businesses, it is. A life without advertisement would be taking us back at least a few hundred years. No advertisement means most new products will become a failure as no one will be conscience about them unless they accidentally stumble upon it.

“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.”

This quote from Henry Ford tells us that if a brand quits advertising their product, they may spend less, but they will also receive less. Therefore, advertisements are a necessity for a brand and, life without advertisements would have solid negative impacts.

Lara Aksu
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