Beware! Subconscious Marketing

Sam Prince


Never let teachable moments pass by. Like most children, my younger brother is impressionable. As a result of their innocence, children are subject to malicious marketing techniques. It is our responsibility as parents, relatives, and mentors to be aware of and bulwark attempts to influence their mind.

Often when he accompanies me to a local store, we will snake along the isles. Looking left and right, I am wary of oncoming advertisements meant to subconsciously plant seeds. Reduced Fat. With Real Sugar. Good Source of Protein. Organic, but not USDA approved or Non-GMO. I am teaching my brother to see these and other misleading titles as caution signs.

What feelings do these advertisements elicit? What are they telling you to think?

Reduced Fat gives off the impression that fat is bad, when in reality good fats (found in vegetables like avocados) are a necessary part of our diet.

With Real Sugar plays to the people who fear high fructose corn syrup (and rightfully so). High fructose corn syrup is in a multitude of products that are edible and inedible. A byproduct of corn, corn syrup is not healthy for us at all. But neither is sugar. Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine; therefore substituting it for corn syrup to make a product seem more natural isn’t actually that great, right?

Good Source of Protein. This advertising is skewed to the health conscious. This advertisement is stamped onto health snacks and protein bars on racks in your local grocery store. Did you miss out on your meat today? Don’t worry, we have an adequate substitute. Protein Crunch Plus, it’s a Good Source of Protein when you just don’t have the time.

All-Natural and Organic are two misleading terms stamped on our products. All-Natural does not mean that a product is organic, nor does that mean it is Non-GMO. Organic products, unless USDA approved may not actually be organic.

Every corner you turn in a store, something is being sold to you. Product placement and buying habits have been researched, and stores have tailored their setup (demographically of course) to take advantage of this.

The good people at Fooducate are working to level the playing field with their application. Fooducate allows your camera to scan the barcode of your favorite items, bringing up an in-depth breakdown of their contents and the health implications of eating them.

TV advertisements aren’t any better. While filling my weekly desire for the barbaric and gladiatorial, ESPN showed a couple Apple ads in the midst of Monday night’s Steelers versus the Chargers game. We’ll call them Spot 1 and Spot 2.

To no surprise, both ads are geared toward married fathers.

In Spot 1 called “Date,” we see a young married couple out on a date-night. They’re portrayed as hip with the husband sporting casualwear, rolled up sleeves and tattoos seen. On cue the wife receives a picture message from their babysitter showing a sleeping baby. To this the wife bursts out in a celebratory dance, grabbing her unsuspecting husband who happily joins her. The message? With the Apple Watch I can go out on a date with my wife and she won’t have to worry about the baby. “Happy Wife, Happy Life.”

Spot 1: Apple Watch- Date

In Spot 2, Apple shows an overwhelmed mother in the midst of her day. With baby and balloons in hand, she is barely able to pay attention to her toddler who just spilled her vanilla ice cream, loaded with sprinkles of course. Then with the click of her watch, she accesses her Bank of America account (product placement), and magically another ice cream cone appears. If life were only that simple, we’d all have Apple watches.

Spot 2: Apple Watch- Sprinkles

Dissatisfaction is the purpose of ads. Ad creators are trying to create a need where there is none. Convenience is their medium. By offering a seemingly more convenient method than what you’re currently using, advertisements create dissatisfaction. It’s a legalized con.

Will spending $600 on an electronic watch that connects to your smartphone help you be a better mother? Will your date night experience increase as a result of having one? Probably not, however, in these ads Apple is trying to convince us otherwise.

Walk through your local store, drive through your city, or turn on the television and watch with a skeptical eye. Recognize the subconscious and subliminal messages companies are trying to sneak by you, and specifically for Apple, be wary of the low hanging fruit.

Fooducate App: Fooducate

Spot 1: Apple Watch- Date

Spot 2: Apple Watch- Sprinkles


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