We hear and read so much about targeted advertising, in fact, it is difficult to get away from it. We receive survey invitations in the mail designed to help “them” target their ads to “us” or to measure how effective their ads are at getting us to part with our hard-earned cash. Ok. That’s fair. We don’t have to take the surveys. We don’t have to read the ads.
But when it comes to discriminatory advertising, I think we all need to pause for a second and think about it. Do we want to reward the practice or not.
Now you could argue that all advertising is discriminatory to one degree or another and I will grant you that. After all, ad agencies target those segments of the population that are most likely to purchase their product and then give them even more reasons, speculative or not, why they absolutely must buy their product. They told
There are numerous cases of what I would term emotional extortion in the advertising landscape.
The is the once-well-known actress who whines on and on about the plight of mistreated animals for a well known Animal Rescue Charity. Both she and they know who they are, and they are counting on the fact that animal lovers, like myself, will feel guilty if they “don’t do enough”. The truth is, if they had their way, you could never do enough if you gave your last penny and many people do give more than they can reasonably afford. I give, but I am so offended by the over-acting that I give to an entirely different charity. This is a case, at least for me, where the targeted advertising backfired.
Then there is the representative of one of the million children’s charities that show you picture after picture of hungry and sick children in Africa who don’t have a chance unless you make a monthly donation large enough to show them that “God is good”. These commercials are shown in the early morning hours when they hope you will be too sleepy to
But that is not what makes me so irate, don’t get me wrong. It might still be a good deal (even though the first and, to my mind, still the best of these companies charges $50 a year), it is the tactics. Where most company’s ads point out that you could fall in the tub or in the park and can’t get up (leading to one of the Internet’s great early memes). This company tells you “you will lie for hours or even days in excruciating anguish“. Look at the language. They don’t say you might fall and have to lay there in pain. They proclaim that you WILL be in excruciating anguish. Absolutely. No doubt of it. It WILL be horrible. The language of fear is a very great motivator in the elderly. I for one don’t believe
What do you think? Have you ever written to a company to protest a commercial or advertisement you felt was particularly offensive or objectionable? Inquiring minds (or at least my inquiring mind) want to know.