March 2020 archive

Chapter 7 Artifacts

Euphemism: Mercedes – Benz Pre – Owned Commercial

A euphemism is the practice of using words to make the worse appear the better and vice versa. Companies often use euphemisms which are inoffensive terms substituted for offensive ones to create messages with less sting. Companies engage in “downsizing,” “right-sizing,” or even “bright-sizing.”

 For example, Mercedes uses this car commercial to make their “used” cars appear almost just as good as their new cars. They do not used the word “used” in this commercial, instead they use the term “certified pre-owned” because it sounds more appealing to a potential customer that is looking to buy their car.  I think a customer is more likely to be interested in buying a “used” care if the car dealer is using the term “pre-owned.” I think the target audience of this advertisement is anyone in the market for purchasing a luxury car but does not want to pay the full price for a brand new car, so they are looking into certified pre-owned cars.


Ultimate Terms: #LikeAGirl Campaign

Ultimate terms are words or phrases that are highly revered, widely accepted, and carry special power in a culture. Charismatic terms is a type of an ultimate term. People in the business worlds are fond of using ultimate terms as persuasion devices. For instance, the word empowerment is a modern – day charismatic term on which marketers and advertisers have capitalized. Products and services that promise to empower people have become unavoidable.

The #LikeAGirl campaign is a great example of the use of an ultimate term, in particular a charismatic term. This campaign is all about women’s empowerment and showing that doing anything, like running, throwing, etc. “like a girl” is not a bad thing because if you are a girl that is how you do those things. However, our society has put a negative connotation behind “running like a girl and throwing like a girl” and this campaign is saying that just because you are girl does not mean you are bad at doing these types of things.

This advertisement played during the Super Bowl for the first time. Because of this I think the target audience is not only girls but it is also targeting men to show what the words “like a girl” actually mean to women and how it is an insult.

This commercial can also be applied to the Attachment Theory in Chapter 14. This theory is when people develop emotional ties to specific brands (Thomson, MacInnis, & Park, 2005). When watching this commercial, I got emotional and I am sure when men watch it, they can also get emotional because they do not realize how much of an insult these words are and how much of an impact they have on young girls.



Political Correctness: Freedom of Speech

Political correctness is all about being nonoffensive. Political correctness refers to issues of inclusive speech and advocacy of nonracist and nonsexist terminology (Hoover & Howard, 1995). Although political correctness is relevant to a wide range of contexts and topics, including issues of gender, race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status.

In this ad, a man holding a sign reading “death to abortions,” a white supremacist, and a Nazi are lined up at a “Free Speech Complaints” booth. The law says Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech to American people. However, these people may be offensive to certain groups of people but under the law they have the right to say whatever they want.

Political correctness seeks to put boundaries on offensive speech and behavior, but there is the risk that such boundaries are likely to be determined by the personal beliefs and values of those in power. This means that the definition of what is offensive can change with each group that comes into power.


Chapter 6 Artifacts

#1: Deindividuation

Column: Washington sports fans show their major league mettle | WTOP

Deindividuation is the group results in a loss of individual indentity and a gaining of the social identity of the group, the tendency “to get lost in the crowd.” Deindividuation happens in everyday life such as gangs, cults, sports teams, and the military (Gass & Seiter, 2018 p. 149).

Sports fans are a very good example of deindividuation because they are a big group and if they do ridiculous such as, paint their bodies or riot or even start fights, they are “lost in the crowd” and less likely tp stand out as an individual person. I think people tend to do things they would not normally do when they are part of a larger group. I think sports fan are a good example because an individual wouldn’t just paint their body unless they are part of a large group, they are more persuaded to act this way if they are part of a larger group than by themselves.


#2: Social Proof

Social proof is the tendency to view behaviors as more appropriate or correct when a lot of other people are engaging in such behaviors. According to Cialdini (1993), however, although using social proof can be a handy shortcut for deciding how to behave, it can also make us vulnerable to the persuasive attempts of others. This is because we are more likely to engage in a behavior when persuaders lead us to believe that a lot of other people are engaging in that behavior. The life stage hypothesis (Sears, 1981) predicts high susceptibility to change during childhood and low susceptibility through adulthood. (Gass & Seiter, 2018 p. 135).

The saying “Billions and Billions Served” makes people want to go to McDonalds because everyone else is doing it and it therefore must me good. When a child grows up eating McDonald’s, they are more likely to comply with it for the rest of their life rather than someone eating it for the first time when they are an adult.

#3: Social Proof Instagram Influencers

Social media is a haven for social proof as well. Some bloggers earn $100,000 or more per year to promote certain brands. Those bloggers may seem ordinary enough, but beware – their brand choices are not always random (Wolverson, 2013).

It’s been clear for a while now that influence is becoming a major contributor to driving business. This advertisement by Kylie Jenner on instagram with Fit Tea is persuading others to buy this tea because she uses it. The 775K likes the post has can be identified as social proof. Once enough people are doing, believing or buying a certain thing, the process reaches a tipping point when it becomes natural to follow the crowd and almost unthinkable to do something else. What people buy is hugely influenced by what other people around them are buying.

On the other hand, there are threatening comments on this Instagram post which may counter-act the persuasive power of social proof.


Chapter 5 Artifacts

#1: Anxiety and Persuasion

I found this advertisement online about secondhand smoking and how it is dangerous to children. Research suggests that anxiety, whether chronic or acute may be related to persuadability. For instance, Nunnally and Bobren (1959) found that anxious people were more persuadable than non-anxious people. Specifically, anxious people, compared to the non anxious may be more likely to yield to a message. When trying to persuade anxious people, be sure to include specific recommendations for avoiding the harms.


#2: Age and Persuasion

This McDonald’s Happy Meal ad is targeted at children. It is known that a toy comes with each McDonald’s Happy Meal. When children see this advertisement on TV, they immediately want their parent to take them to McDonalds. Children are easy targets for persuasion, and research indicates that this is generally true: Children tend to be especially vulnerable to persuasive trickery because they lack the ability to understand the nature and intent of persuaders (McAlister & Cornwell, 2009).


#3: Self-Esteem and Persuasion

The ad features a black and white, svelte-yet-curvy, fair-haired and fair-skinned woman in a bright yellow bikini. Her hair is long and lush, her lips full, and her waist is tiny. Next to her is the simple question: Are you beach body ready? The question is almost immediately followed by the introduction of “the weight loss collection”. As if to suggest you probably are not beach body ready, and that clearly the step to remedy that involves losing weight.

People with low self-esteem may be more likely to yield to a message because they lack confidence in themselves and their opinions. If someone does not feel confident with their body, they may be more likely to buy this product because they think they will look like the model if she is using it.