- A product’s quality bears no relation to the quality of its associated advertisements.
- (i.e. An advertising agency doesn’t look at a product and say, ‘This is good, so we will do a good advert’ or ‘This product is bad, so we will do a bad advert.’)
- A product that appears in a popular TV show doesn’t mean that product is better than one that isn’t in that show.
- A more frequently advertised product is not necessarily better than one less advertised.
- A product is not somehow better simply because a celebrity is paid to endorse it.
- An advertisement featuring someone known to be ‘intelligent’ or a free/radical thinker is not going to make you that way if you buy the product.
- If the advertisement portrays someone as ‘cool’ for using a product, it doesn’t mean you will be ‘cool’ if you buy the same product.
The list could go on, but the point is that all of the above and many other techniques are used to consistently fool people into thinking that a certain product is somehow what they want, even need. After all, a company that makes a lot of money from you told you it’s what you want, right?
Being delusional seems to be a popular pastime these days for many. Rather than fooling yourselves, what we suggest is this: try using the intellect you were born with to make your own decisions. Don’t get things based on what you think others expect you to have. Don’t think that having a product will get you into some exclusive group of intellectual oracles. That doesn’t come from buying something, any more than does buying a bag of beans that you were told are magic.
Do the sensible thing. It’s a dull approach, we know, but compare the product with others. Which one(s) will do what YOU want, at a sensible price? Are any of the new features actually those you really want or would use? Are there other products that do the same for a lower cost – or a higher purchase price, but with lower running costs? Think objectively. Be honest with yourself, not shallow. Don’t convince yourself that a particular item is good just because you THINK you will be considered more popular for having something that actually is no better than another item. A brand isn’t a sports team to be a fan of – it’s a company that wants to make money, that’s all. Base your brand preference on quality, reliability and value for money, don’t assume those are included just because the brand is popular. After all, it may only be popular because so many fall for the techniques mentioned above.
This doesn’t only apply to gadgets and technology, however. We seem to be slightly better at decision making about other types of products. We don’t really see people clamoring for the latest model of washing machine, do we? Yet if something implies we would be popular, intelligent, professional or socially active, all common sense goes out the window.
We’ve observed how conventional advertising in the 21st century is struggling to fit in between our skybox/Tivo fast-forwarding and product placements across the media board. So long as people fall for hype, the companies will still spend fortunes creating it and pass the cost on to you, the end user, whichever way they find you. Thus you would do well to understand the basics and – dare we say, view the hype in a cynical way – to avoid becoming the equivalent of an energy source for your masters, akin to ‘The Matrix’.