The average human is consuming around 4,000-5,000 ads a day. This depends on what job they have and their daily lifestyle, according to an article written on Stop Ad; and with the rise of social media, this trend is bound to continue.
Have you ever noticed the number of ads that have cropped up on our timelines? The advertisements on our smart-phones are very well-tailored. They seem to know what we want; they get it right almost every time. It’s almost as if they can read your mind. However, this is not magic; this is because of ‘Targeted advertisement’.
Companies have spent more on digital advertising than on television advertisements for the first time; globally. ‘Targeted Advertisement’ is a mainly online way of marketing. It focuses on the consumer’s previous purchases, traits and interest; the information can also be demographic and behavioural. Advertisers can take this information straight from your search engines, through cookies and your browsing. It seems that there is no such thing as privacy when it comes to advertising anymore. The big wide web offered an attractive opportunity to invade your private spaces.
If you can remember back to 2018, there was an infamous Facebook scandal. Facebook was the first social media platform to surpass 1 billion registered accounts, according to ‘Global Social Media Ranking 2018’ statistics. It was no wonder, when it became known that the company had been giving its users’ information to third parties; why it became huge in the media.
“…According to The New York Times, Facebook gave technology companies like Microsoft, Netflix and Spotify special access to users’ data without anyone else knowing.”- The U.S.A. Today
However, companies are not just surveying you and stealing your information; psychological methods are also used to control your spending.
For example, ‘The left digit effect’. Using €4.99 instead of €5.00 will more than likely persuade you to buy a product if you came across it in the shops, even if it’s only one cent less.
Restaurants are starting to eliminate the currency symbols on menus, making you feel as though you are not spending any real money. The use of colour is also prevalent in advertising. The colour red has been suggested to make us more hungry. A few examples are the logos of McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut.
There is an endless list of marketing and psychological techniques used, from Reverse Psychology, Social Poof and using insecurities to get us to buy products.
It needs to stop. Companies are tapping into the most sacred part of our body, our brain and even our privacy. Advertisements influence the way society thinks. Remember that the average human intakes about 4000-5000 ads a day; it is unhealthy to be exposed to so much of this. We have these ads coming from companies; they tell us that somehow we are living wrong or unfulfilled lives by not buying their products. We are subconsciously told how to dress, eat and what to buy; where is the free will in all of this?
As a society, we don’t even question the high consumption of advertisements, neither the subtle ways companies such as Facebook, Burger King or H&M manipulate and use their influence over us.
This whole issue boils down to the area of free will. Free will is precious and it should be protected. Before ‘Targeted advertising’, people were very capable of shopping themselves for things they needed.
There needs to be more awareness of the methods that companies are using to infiltrate our day-to-day lives. Blocking ads and paying attention to the way things are being advertised can be effective.
Are companies using fear to gain my attention? What about my insecurities? Is this ‘Targeting advertisement’?
I know we cannot separate ourselves from the materialistic world that we have built. However we can try to gain some kind of control.
Victory Luke – TY Press
Since September The Transition Year Journalism group has been working on a variety of different projects. They keep the website regularly updated with reports on events that are happening in Collinstown Park.
To showcase the talent and diversity of their writing, an article will be uploaded on a weekly basis from a member of this module until May. We hope you enjoy the creative, diverse and well thought out articles the TY Press group have written.