How do Advertisements Manipulate YOU?!

October 28, 2019

One thing an openly capitalistic society relies on is you!  The Consumer! With profit the main goal for most businesses, the aim is to find a way to separate you from the dollars in your pocket.  Competition among companies (Coca Cola vs. Pepsi, for example) is always important, so they will use a varities of means to get you interested in what they have to offer.  Being “the BRAND” (I like Gucci) is the ideal way to ensure return customers, but most will rely on some form of advertising to gain your interest.

So, we here at PantherNation decided to analyze some forms of advertising to explore their effectiveness so you can be better informed when you are confronted with their persuasive charms!


Exaggerated posters such as losing weight could be seen in most television advertisements. Most of them are to advertize some machines that they are selling. However, I think the director of the TV advertisements are making the additional effort to the target (who is to show that the machine is very useful)  to exaggerate how much fat can people burn by the product machine. For instance, the target is not only using the product but also doing more hard additional exercises. 

The exaggerated posters can also be seen in advertisements for foods and dishes. The best example of this would be McDonald’s. They use bread that are very rounded and a slice of gravy meat between the bread. Additionally, by exaggerating the colors of the food, the advertisements are making people feel hungry. The best color to exaggerate is said in psychology theory is: red, yellow, green, white, black.

Without a marketing department, a company has no one to tell its story. A story is what people remember and relate to when they think about a company.”

— Mr. Boll


By creating short and remarkable phrases that people can easily remember, companies are manipulating people to buy them. Since people are normally skeptical about parting with their money, they tend to buy what they are familiar with. Quick catch phrases like “Just Do It!” and “I’m Lovin’ It!” are a quick way to associate some sort of emotion with the brand. That is why there are many advertisements in which the information can come from your 5 senses: commercial, posters, smell from the restaurant.  “Eat Fresh” is the slogan for Subway restaurants… who in their right mind doesn’t want to eat fresh!? Nowadays, we often see advertisements on our devices such as phones, computers and televisions… advertisements are everywhere, and they use lots of repetitions to stand out from the competition. From the rememberable advertisements, it makes you unconsciously remember. At the mall, you are recognizing what the product is, which creates reliability and familiarness in your mind. You may feel you might want to try because you know the product or the brand/company name.  


Some advertisements reduce the cost in order to grab the customer’s attention. You may feel that you are having more advantages if the product is discounted. In addition to this, we often see such information that is limited as it says ONLY TODAY or FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY.  Not only cost, but some additional quick information such as “100% fruit drink” or “high in vitamin C” could also be the techniques of making us desire a particular product. Most of them include statistics to create confidence in the consumer as well. 


By saying that “everyone” is buying the product, you may feel more reliable or you may feel that you need to buy in order to catch up to the trend fashion. Many of us have seen advertisements which claim that “80% of the woman in America said they love this product”  or “Trusted by 99% of Dentists.” If you see the phrase, you might feel you want to buy.


Nowadays, we often see some emotional statements and sensational ones in many advertisements, most in commercials. I think you have some examples in your mind, but the most powerful one is insecurity. They try to get you to believe that you need this hair conditioner if you want to fit in, or you need this diaper brand if you want your baby to be happy. Why does it make people want to buy so much? According to the internet (MSG), emotional commercial causes two factors: needs of consumers and fear factor. 

Under the needs of the consumer:

  •  need for something new
  • need for getting acceptance
  • need for not being ignored
  • need for a change of old things
  • need for security
  • need to become attractive, etc.

Under the fear factor:

  • fear of accident
  • fear of death
  • fear of being avoided
  • fear of getting sick
  • fear of getting old, etc.


Since the app Instagram was created, people are finding that posting something creative and having more LIKES are fun and some people are going crazy about that hobby. They post something pictures such as the view from the mountain, their happy trip, and Starbucks. It does not have to be Starbucks, but something instagrammable, something which draws the viewer to some kind of desireable emotions are posted. Therefore, some companies are creating products for the purpose of having many Instagrammers. These influencers can be popular people (Kylie Jenner), or others who try to get subscribers.  Instagram is a very good advertisement for the companies because there are some reliable comments on it and the posted information may go anywhere. To gain more customers in the shop, Instagram is a fantastic tool for the company.  

According to Michael Boll who is a Marketing Consultant for California Lawyer’s Group, establishing a “positive brand means consumers will feel good or connected to the company or organization and what they do.  A negative brand means they dislike the company and will likely avoid it or even speak out against it. Without a marketing department, a company has no one to tell its story. A story is what people remember and relate to when they think about a company.”

We might like to believe that we are not tricked by the advertisements (most likely, we are!), but it is necessary to know these brilliant psychological tricks done in the advertisements. Some variation of the above 6 techniques are used by marketing agencies in almost every advertisement you see!  And you see A LOT of them… next time you drive into downtown Bangkok, try to count the number of advertisements you can see outside your car window! Find out what these techniques are and try not to be tricked by them! 

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