Images and Reflections

Advertisements are in front our eyes and in our faces at every turn, in every available nook and cranny and it is impossible to avoid them.  There is even a successful advertisement campaign that gloats when a person chances to look at the advertisement in passing “You just proved advertising works”.  I am glad that I was able to contribute in a small way to firming up the shaky confidence of the advertising industry.  However, just glancing at an ad and buying the product in question based on looking at the ad are two separate issues. 

Advertisers would have us believe that advertising is as old as civilization and as important.  If this was true, successful cavemen might have been the ones who possessed better cave drawing skills and ancient prosperous Egyptians might have had more steles. 

Advertising has evolved into a science involving a battery of psychological and clinical tests and the input from a host of focus groups members delineated by gender, race, orientation, age, financial status, social grouping and geographic location.

Advertising experts state that the consumers usually buy products based on ads that they can relate to and identify with.  Many advertisers have become sensitive to demographic shifts and changes.  For instance, more advertisers now feature minority models in their ads to reach out to the minorities in society. 

As a minority member, I have often wondered if all minorities relate to and identify with the minority model depicted in the ads.  Since there so many groups of minorities from all corners of the world, it is not possible for advertisers to include each and every minority in society in the limited space for an ad.  So, there is a possibility that a percentage of the minority population may not identify with the minority person pictured in the ad, especially if the gender, age and other social criteria associated with the model are at odds with a section of the minority consumers.

While the ads are created to encourage consumers to buy products that are new and different, most consumers, according to the focus groups and the advertising gurus, will be more inclined to purchase products if the ads feature persons belonging to the same old background.

I have given a lot of thought to solving this conundrum and my solution follows.  (I would request all advertisers utilizing my idea to reimburse my creative efforts with a percentage of the profits).   In place of the minority / majority model in the ad, insert a mirrored surface. 

Any person, walking past and glancing at the ad, will see their own reflection and will be immediately drawn to the advertised product as they can fully relate to and identify with the model in the ad.  There will be an immediate rush to go out and purchase the product and the advertisers will see a marked increase in their profits. 

The only drawback to my ideal form of advertising is that since the advertisers cannot know at any given time who might walk past their ads, those companies that only sell products to a certain segment of the population would not be able to utilize my advertising idea.  For, I am sure advertisers would not want kids rushing out to buy Geritol, nor for that matter would they want very elderly persons, moving as fast as their walkers allowed them, to head out and buy Jets skis.       

In closing, I will add a caveat, “Caveat Emptor” and attention advertisers – use my idea wisely and widely and keep sending me the percentage payments. 

( – for additional articles) 

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