Advertising at its most basic form is delivering information through media. People need a way of knowing what to buy and where to buy; people need to be educated, and advertising is, at its core, education. That may be how it started, but that’s certainly not how it has developed into our modern day. Now one may think that they are somewhat immune to advertising and its tactics, as we all have some basic form of knowledge about advertising. We cannot however be conscious of every ad we see, as we can see up to thousands of ads per day, and the message can sink deep into your subconscious without you even knowing it.
Teenagers are actually targeted more than adults, as we have more impulsive buying habits and no long-term financial restrictions that we have to worry about. Companies have become quite good at telling us what we need to fit a societal norm. Magazine covers everywhere give us unrealistic standards of beauty, with women photo shopped to look paper-thin, among other things. These images are obviously followed up by some product that can help you achieve this high standard. A really solid example of this would be the Old Spice ads with the man on the horse. He is attractive, says something funny, and you end up making a subconscious connection between your enjoyment of the ad and Old Spice.
Everything you search and do on the Internet can and will be used to target you for a specific advertisement. All your Internet activity is being monitored, so that you can be pummeled with ads about whatever you’re interested in so that you can keep sinking more and more money into material happiness. So many ads cross us everyday that we actually let our guard down to most of them. These ads hit us everywhere online: whether you’re listening to music on Spotify or watching some video someone shared, you will be targeted for an ad. As long as you are exposed to an ad, you recognize its existence and the chance of you buying that product just shot up significantly. Maybe you just saw an ad for a movie that made you laugh, or maybe you saw a funny ad with some kid eating Reese’s and now all of a sudden you have a craving for miniature Reese’s cups. The more dangerous ads can be the ones you see about drinking and smoking. Even though these companies aren’t allowed to directly target you, they can still put ads in a place where you might happen to see it. These types of ads will often involve an over sexualized female with an overconfident guy who looks like he’s having the time of his life. The ad is basically screaming at you, “This guy is awesome, be like this guy, drink this drink”.