THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT….
Advertising and Subconscious Messages
TV ads do not contain hidden, subliminal messages, but they do attempt to make viewers associate products with idealized images and lifestyles. For examples, luxury sedans are shown in front of mansions and opera houses; sports utility vehicles are shown in remote canyons. Ads also play on our senses. Visual cues (the models, the setting, the cuts from one scene to another) and auditory cues (the voice-over, the musical background, the sounds of nature) are the most obvious examples. But tactile cues (a car’s leather interior) and kinesthetic cues (the feeling of a test drive created by placing the camera inside a moving car) are also common.
1. Analyze a series of ads for sensory content. Choose a specific category, such as ads for vacations or pain medications. What sensory cues are the advertisers using to hold your attention? To create conscious or subconscious associations?
2. What is the underlying message—that is, the associations beyond the specific information the ad conveys?
I agree that TV ads attempt to make viewers associate products with idealized images and lifestyles. They show the viewers how they can be or feel if they were to have that specific product. A good ad example to me would be pain medications, such as headache, fever, and heartburn relievers. But one that I can explain very well would be the Snoring reliever.
Advertisers do TV commercial ads for the Snoring reliever product. They might first start by showing a man sleeping next to his wife. The wife wakes up in the middle of the night bothered by the loud snoring noise of her husband. Then she reaches to the end-table, grabs the snoring reliever, and sprays in her husband’s mouth a few times. So the man no longer snores and the wife falls back asleep feeling more comfortable than ever.
After the viewers, woman in particular, view the commercial ad, they start imagining how...