Marketers Don’t Think We’re Very Smart

10 10 2011

I don’t know if it’s just because my psychology training is more salient these days but I’ve been getting bugged by some of the lame marketing ploys I’ve seen lately. Specifically, the new Samsung Galaxy S2 commercial really rubs me the wrong way.

The ad uses classical conditioning to make its product appear more attractive. This isn’t a new technique, everyone uses it. You pair an attractive woman with a soft drink and you’ll sell more soft drinks, that kind of thing. What bugs me about the Samsung commercial is the pairings it chooses to make. It uses images of Martin Luther King, Jr., Bethany Hamilton (the one-armed surfer) and from the film Rocky to suggest that by using this new Samsung phone you somehow fall into the same category as these heroes.

I hope I’m not the only one who is slightly offended at the blatant appropriation of these heroic icons to sell a phone. I like to think that I and the people I know are smart enough to see through this kind of marketing but I’m also smart enough to realize that they use this kind of marketing because it works with a lot of people. I also know that the effects of this kind of conditioning often happen outside of our awareness. So, in addition to complaining about Samsung’s disingenuousness, I also implore my readers not to be taken in by this ridiculous form of persuasion. That is all.

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