Whether you are aware of it or not, advertisers do not necessarily think of you as a mindless sheep who will buy anything that they put in front of you. The reality is that they put together a series of words and images in the ad serverthat are carefully designed to put your own imagination to work. It’s a brilliant tactic that works to perfection, but you, as the consumer, need to control your imagination from running wild. In this piece, we are going to show you how advertising uses your imagination, but we are also going to talk about how it can be dangerous once those creative juices get flowing.
We all want to look better, feel better, and have an improved life in the future, but it can be tough to know how to achieve all of that. Advertising can show you how to get there by using a specific set of products, which then serves as motivation for the average consumer. You can clearly imagine how a product might work to help you lose that extra few pounds or make it possible to create a future in which you look happy and healthy in your personal and work life.
This is perhaps where advertising tweaks your imagination most effectively. Very often, advertisers will start their ad showing a person trying to deal with a specific problem. The actor in the ad looks sad or frustrated, but by the time that 30-second spot is over, they look happy and content. This instantly makes us all think about how that could apply to us. You think how you will use the product (eg: running on that treadmill), you think how nice you look in it (eg: looking glamorous in that dress), or you think how much you will benefit from it (eg: getting rid of your debts with their credit counseling service). We see ourselves with the body we always wanted, or with the new credit score that makes it possible to get that car or home we have dreamed of.
As you can see, your imagination can make the future look bright and wonderful. However, the reality may be a little different:
Stock up on products you don’t need
This is something that often happens with smaller ticket items that are advertised at a remarkable sale price. You end up buying that product in bulk, only to find that you are never going to be able to use it all or it expires before you can use them all. You should never make an impulse buy of this type unless it is a product that you and your family use very frequently and/or have a long expiry date.
Buy but don’t use
You might look at a product and imagine yourself using it sometime in the near future. The only problem is that life often gets in the way, and that product may end up in a storage closet or out in the garage, never to be seen or heard from again.
Buy but don’t follow through
This is an issue commonly found in the purchase of things like exercise equipment or gym membership. These goals require a long-term commitment. We are motivated to buy these items to get in shape, but often quickly find that we aren’t really that motivated to actually put in the hard work to achieve our goals.
The solution here is to add a dose of reality to your imagination. When you feel compelled to buy something you see in an advertisement, ask yourself if it’s an item that you really need or it’s something you think you might need at some time in the future. If it’s the latter, don’t buy it.
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