• Joseph Tingle

The Psychology of Advertising

Updated: Jan 5


Due to new and changing technology, advertising has taken over the world— and your mind. You see and hear commercials everywhere, whether it be through television, radio, and social media. Advertising is impossible to avoid.

In fact, the average adult is exposed to 5,000 or more

advertisements a day.

But what are these advertisements doing to you? Do they affect the way you think or make decisions? Do they really control your mind?

Well, the simple answer to the previous questions is a resounding “yes.” You may not be aware of it, but advertisements leave a lasting impression on us. Big-­time corporations put their logos on anything and everything, ranging from t­-shirts to billboards to even toilet paper! Though it may seem a little absurd at times, studies prove that all of this advertising actually pays off. Out of the thousands of ads to which you are exposed in any given day, research shows that you note about 86 of them. Additionally, out of these 86 ads, 12 of them will lead to a deep impression. This means that without conscious awareness, 12 ads will affect you and your decision making daily, which is roughly 14 percent of the ads you take note of.

Television advertisements are an enormous money maker for all types of businesses. In order to become profitable, many business people try to manipulate consumers when advertising products. For instance, advertisers frequently use a variety of techniques to influence our memory. But one may ask, “How do they grab our attention and make us remember their brand name?” Well, for one thing, the company’s logo plays a big part in helping the brain remember the commercial in which the logo appears. In many commercials, after a series of images flashes across the screen, a simple picture of the logo appears, guiding the viewer to remember what they have seen. The use of visuals has been shown to sometimes be even more influential than words, because people read so many things in a day that a single sentence on TV is difficult to recall.

Most advertising is done to persuade viewers to buy products or shop in certain places, but not all advertising is like this. For example, there are plenty of advertisement campaigns that are aimed to improve society, such as ones that focus on drug abuse, disease control, and controlled sex. These ads often use dark images and gloomy music in order to evoke guilt in viewers. The images and auditory effects allow advertisers to make use of appeals to emotion.

Advertising amazingly alters people’s decision making and thought processes simply with images and auditory effects. So whether you believe it or not, advertising affects you every day, even if you don’t know it.

Joseph Tingle is an AP Psychology student at Lakeland High School, MI. He is a contributing writer for Brain Stamp.

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