Monday, August 1, 2011

If you work in advertising you should be ashamed!! And excited about becoming proud

A few years ago Amazon started offering free shipping of orders over a certain amount. This worked well – people bought more – except for in France, where there was no increase in sales. Instead of offering free shipping on orders, the French division priced the shipping one franc. When they changed to free, there was a dramatic sales increase.
Yes, it´s another proof of how irrational our behaviour is. We are not doing what is best for us but are attracted to alluring messages that we interpret as good for us, even if they are not.
In a study, presented at Neuroscience blog, researchers at the National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan told people they were receiving a vitamin pill or a placebo, and then monitored their behavior in several situations.

The group who thought they had consumed a vitamin pill were more likely to show less interest in exercise, to show more interest in enjoyable but potentially unhealthy “hedonic” activities, and to choose a buffet meal vs. healthy organic fare. In another experiment, the “vitamin” group walked shorter distances than the placebo group.
(All of them actually got a placebo pill…)

Perhaps we all want to live in a fairy tale, where we can doze off on the couch and eat whatever we want, and still be healthy and happy. We want to think life is a free ride at the Luna Park and that we can buy ourselves both love and joy. Our goal is to get this life, and we are fooling ourselves to believe our choices – dimmed by marketing promises - take us there rapidly.
All the offers around us, all the ads that we in adland are guilty of creating, and all the temptations… Few listen to their bodies, to do what their souls and natural selves are craving – those voices are drowned by the marketing industry spraying them with their copy/ad hoses.  
It is sometimes hard to work in advertising. You feel like Machiavelli. As if you are trying to trick people into consuming stuff they don´t need and that is not good for them. You are using all these little tricks you know work and that will push people into becoming customers, and in a cynical way you are helping people become fat, poor and crave more of the empty calories of life – new shoes, one night stands and a need of looking hot – instead of searching for the true meaning.
Yes, sometimes I´m ashamed. Are you?
I believe there is another way. If you look for it.
My mission is to transform the strategic planning world into creating work that is meaningful for people, hence work that reach their hearts and play an important role in their life. When digging deeper into what people long for I trust there is a way to present products and services to them that will enhance their happiness and make their lives truly better. Sure, we will all use the little tricks – it´s a part of the game – but without another vision, how can our souls survive…?

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