If you were to ask most people the question "Does advertising influence what you purchase," most of them would say no. We don't want to believe that we are easily influenced by images and slogans that we see everyday. I believe the reason for this is that we assume advertisements aim to provoke action in us as soon as we encounter them. We can't recall a time that we watched an Olive Garden advertisement on T.V. and then immediately hopped in their car to go savor the featured dish. Lets be honest; this doesn't happen. At least this doesn't happen without some initial planning or a mental debate on whether or not you really need to go try the new Moscato Peach Chicken right this second. Even if you really did react this way to an advertisement, chances are you certainly would not admit that you are that easily influenced and even provoked to immediate action from a little television advertisement.
Luckily, that is not what good advertising is trying to accomplish.
They're not trying to brainwash us! Most marketers aim to leave impressions and create positive memories or feelings that influence our purchases at a later date. With this view, being influenced by advertising doesn't seem so quite as invasive as we generally assume. We, as consumers, still play a rather large role in the selection process. According to CBS news, we are exposed to roughly 5,000 ads a day. Now, do we remember seeing 5,000 ads each day? Odds are, that's a no. But if you think about how many ads are around you anywhere you go, this gigantic number really does seem feasible.
Ads are everywhere!
Billboards, flyers, web pages, television and even whole buildings. Think about how many ads you see by simply walking through the grocery store, it really adds up. Each time you see an ad, you judge it based on your personal preferences and your prior experience with the company. Each advertisement you see and judge adds more evidence to your reasoning behind why or why not you like a certain company or product.
Have you ever seen an advertisement, by a company that you liked very much, that made you not really like the company as much? Being one of the 10 largest fast food chains in the United States, I think it's safe to assume that Burger King is a pretty well-liked fast-food restaurant. However, it seems that each time the company runs a provocative advertisement of a woman eating a hamburger, an uproar of people proclaim they will no longer dine at Burger King. Obviously, the advertisement is affecting how people view the company.
Look at the success of Apple products. It's all by advertising. It's because of advertising that people believe that the MacBook Pro is the best computer ever, and a staple if you plan on blogging while sipping on your Pumpkin Spice Latte in Starbucks. It is evident how much advertising affects what we spend our money on (or don't spend our money on). Maybe it's time we all consider exactly why we bought those new Five Finger shoes or the Hunger Games series. Advertising may have more power over our wallets than we realize.