I am not a compulsive shopper. On the contrary, most of my spending goes towards items that I need – the problem, of course, is finding the difference between what I actually need and what I want. In general, people buy items they don’t need by justifying the purchase. In my area, consumers tend to buy products because they are trendy and have become a status symbol, such as designer handbags or shoes. Sex does indeed sell products. Perfume and cologne ads always show a scantily-dressed man or woman who is irresistible to the opposite sex.
The ads are an unspoken promise that if the consumer wears the cologne, he or she will never be lonely. Ads also play on our fears. Beauty product ads scare consumers into buying the products, as they make us scared to go outside of the house with a pimple, worry lines, or even a scar. I have purchased two items recently because they were supposed to revolutionize my jewelry and my cat’s claws. I bought an extender for my gold chains because the clasps are often too small to manage.
However, when I received the extenders, they were made of heavy magnets that would slide down my neck, completely obscuring the pendant I wanted to show off in the first place. The “no fuss” trimmer I bought for my cat’s claws makes such a loud noise that I can’t get near the cat with it! My favorite ads are often for items that I have no intention of purchasing, and the funnier they are, they more I like them. I love the Axe commercials, because they feature a geeky guy who becomes a stud after wearing the Axe spray. The most compelling ads, however, are the late-night infomercials.
I always tell myself that I’m not going to watch it, much less purchase anything, but in the end I write down the number and eventually decide that I can’t live without it. Advertising gets to the heart of what it means to be human: we want to be loved, adored, and always have friends who will be there for us. If it takes a special type of makeup, perfume or clothing to achieve that, we will buy it. The best ads play on our fears and make them seem easy to solve – if we just buy their product. Consumers need more self-esteem and fewer products.