Understanding the Reason Behind Advertising, and How a Commercial Influences Our Behavior.
If you haven’t already guessed it. I hate any and all commercials!! Good or bad!! I think they’re a huge waste of my time, and I never act on them . . . or so I thought.
How many times has this happened to you? You’re in the middle of your favorite TV show, and during a suspenseful point in the show, they cut to a commercial break.
If you said – “Every time!! . . . there are always commercials!!”, you would be right. Do you hate them as much as I do?
I think that’s one reason why Netflix and other streaming services have taken off – because they have fewer or no commercials. I like to leave the room during commercials, or do something else, because anything I do is more useful than just sitting and watching them!
Anyway, how often do you watch a commercial and think – I really need one of _____- fill in the blank? In other words, how often do you act on the commercials that you see? Be honest.
I’ve often wondered, who buys all this stuff? Really! Do commercials actually influence consumer behavior or do they just fill time? How can people afford a Lexus for Christmas and a Lincoln for President’s Day? (who buys stuff just because it’s President’s Day anyway?)
The Purpose of Commercials
So why do companies spend so much money advertising on TV? They must be making money somehow, Right?
The truth is: They are making money. They’re able to charge more for identical products because of their brand. They’re creating brand identity.
When you see a Cadillac, or someone says that they just bought a Cadillac, what comes to your mind? “Wow, they must be doing well.” Or, “I wonder what they do for a living that they can afford a Cadillac?” Or, “I wish I had the money they have.”
But if we can rationally think for a minute here. Is a Cadillac really worth the money you spend on it? Of course it’s a good quality car. And I’m sure Cadillac would tell you that it IS most definitely worth every penny.
But in reality, you’re buying the brand. You’re spending money not only on a good quality car, but you’re also spending your money for the name recognition.
How many of us want that feeling of – I have something that is prized and coveted? That’s what you’re paying for. When you see those commercials, you may not necessarily go and buy a car the next weekend. But you do build a perception in your mind that a Cadillac is worth the money and the status that goes with it.
The same can be said for BMW and Jaguar. These companies pay for the commercials in order to realize long-term returns. Because brand identity takes time.
Do Commercials Influence Consumer Behavior?
This post is not necessarily about luxury cars. The same thinking can apply to other consumer goods as well. Think about jeans. What brands come to mind? Lee, Guess, Levi’s, Wrangler (remember Brett Favre? – real . . . comfortable . . . jeans)? And the list goes on.
What about fast food? Sonic, McDonald’s, Burger King, or Arby’s (“We have the meats.”) These companies are building a brand.
This brand will keep people (consumers) – like you and I – coming back time and again for a product we think is superior (whether it actually is or not).
That’s the point of all those annoying commercials. We remember them whether we intend to or not. We can’t help it.
Every time we drive past Arby’s, my son from the back seat, yells – “We have the meats!” in the deepest voice he can muster. He’s seen the commercial so often, that he’s conditioned to think that Arby’s makes the best “meat” sandwiches.
But when it comes down to it, we can help where we spend our cash. We actually have never stopped at Arby’s, no matter how often he trumpets their tagline.
To be honest, I have remembered commercials as well. Especially the funny ones. And it has certainly shaped my opinions about different companies. For instance, I think of the Haribo gummy bears as a great way to bring out the kid in each of us!!
Combating the Commercial CultureDon't buy something just because you recognize it from a commercial! Click To Tweet
So now that we are armed with this information, what should we do? Should we stop buying name-brand merchandise?
No, not necessarily. We need to evaluate why we are purchasing one brand over another. Is it really worth more than another brand? In some cases; it may very well be. In other cases, we may be caught in the trap of over-paying for an inferior product just because we recognize it from a commercial.
The point is: be a savvy consumer. Don’t buy something for the supposed status that it offers. Resist the urge to pay a little more, just because of the brand. Research and know the product you are buying.
Remember this the next time you get annoyed at commercials on TV or the radio, and don’t get sucked in to their brand identity building schemes.
What about you? Do you research your purchases or buy on name recognition?
Let me know in the comments, and if you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it using the social media links provided.