We see them everyday, on television and on radio. We see them in urban cities and in rural towns. We see them on buildings, in schools, on the internet, even in bathroom stalls.
No matter where we go, advertisements are everywhere.
While advertising can be a useful way to sell a product or an idea, their effects on the minds of youths can play a significant role in how we behave.
Some advertisements often leave a false impression of their products on their target audience as a means to promote sales. The most common examples of which are online click bates. They may make grandiose claims, such as: ‘This exotic fruit can help you lose 25 pounds in a week.”
But, of course, common sense and science would scream out that this is a blatant lie and, in actuality, the fruit may do nothing more than give you a mild headache.
Despite this, part of the human curiosity would allow some people to believe it.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average youth views more than 3,000 ads per day on television, on the internet, in magazines, and everywhere else.
This exposure, especially in younger audiences, may create childhood brand preferences and can lead to obesity, poor nutrition, and alcohol use.
Research has shown that younger children are unaware of the persuasive effects of advertising and would be as readily to believe them as they would a parent or a friend.
This is not dissimilar to teens.
While teens are more cognitively aware than younger children, they are still susceptible to the influence of advertisements.
Alcohol commercials, despite being heavily sanctioned, still find ways to appeal to consumers.
Nowadays, beer companies are advertising their products more as soft drinks than anything else.
Why not enjoy a cool, crisp, clean, and refreshing beer with your friends?
While it is illegal for beer to be depicted as a symbol of life’s necessities in advertisements, it can however be used to suggest fun.
Say, for instance, we see a group of people having a good time at a social gathering in an alcohol commercial, then after that we jump to a scene of a bottle of beer with the company logo. This suggests that the two images are in some way correlated, and by enjoying a nice ‘refreshment’ you too can be laughing with friends and family.
This is not to say that advertisements are necessarily bad, but rather people – especially youth – must be able to identify truths from untruths.
On the other hand, advertisements can create time-honored traditions.
Who can imagine a breakfast without bacon?
Many did before the 1920s. During that period, breakfast consisted of modest food, such as fruit, grain porridge, and a cup of coffee.
However, due to the efforts of Edward Bernays, who was approached by a foods company to promote its bacon products, demand rose sharply.
Bernays had doctors encourage the public that heavy breakfasts were beneficial to their health.
Bacon then became indispensable at breakfast tables.
In the case of bacon advertisements, it did not leave any adverse affects on the general public; conversely, people have grown to love it.
Nevertheless, it is crucial for people – especially youths – to be conscious of the persuasiveness of advertising for their themselves and for others.
– David Wang is a student at Garibaldi secondary.