Why do we buy crap?
Because we are great at selling it.
Advertising isn't the only area were you are coaxed into buying stuff. Ever consider the news is at it?
Well they are.
In an attempt to keep most peoples interests away from politics and sociology, the news reports are mostly negative - murder, corruption, jail and paedophilia. The results of this are far reaching. One such example is with the elderly complaining about how the world 'ain't as good as it used to be', they don't think that because they are out and involved in the world, they get this view from the TV. Anyhow, I digress, these negative news reports leave us more vulnerable to the light, happy adverts that inevitably follow. It is a technique called 'herding'.
'The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized.' - Ed Bernays 1928
Those are the words of Edward Bernays - a man who arguably wrote the book on Advertising. It is largely thanks to him that we are convinced western medicine is the only way to heal, that applying multiple beauty products to our skins will improve us, that our next political leader will make our lives better, that energy drinks will grant us more energy [ed - that's enough] and so on... His ideas caught the attention of corporate and political executives from all around the world in the early parts of last century, and his ideas are still utilised often in the modern world of advertising.
We Poor Sods!
Ed introduced the idea of psychological manipulation, the pursuit to control the audiences conscious behaviour by communicating with their subconscious. That is the technique advertisers will turn to if they feel the product they've been asked to sell is terrible rubbish. Which it is for the most part.
I want the world to become more bountiful and for consumers to be protected from harmful junk. Supposing that happens, those of us in the advertising community will be free to to use less deceptive techniques to sell products.
I much prefer my job when I'm asked to help advertise a good product, like with Volkswagen whose advertising reflects their product - it is the highest quality. Psychological manipulation will become obsolete*, even repulsive as the rest of us wake up to the smell of nasty sugary coffee. Will people continue to buy anti-aging creams? I don't think so.
So, where next?
Referring back to Ed's comment on an invisible government - There is a global unconscious pool of thought. And we all have access to it. (it's true, ask Carl Jung). The more networking we do, the more in tune with this big shared pool of collective thought we become - the more likely it is that we'll recognise bullshit advertising. So even the most absorbed of consumers will be cottoning on to the fact that they are being targeted by advertising campaigns in a subversive manner.
So, to all manufacturers I say, what you produce has got to be good, wholesome, top gear. If the product is a consumable, the ingredients have to be displayed, with pride on the packaging; or better yet; on the advertisements. With the research by Bernays, Freud, Jung and so on available, there is literally nothing that we in the advertising business cannot sell, but we are a mere link in a chain, it is those who manufacture the goods who swing the thing.
*Bernays was right in what he taught, however, his studies were merely an early discovery into understanding how good commerce should be practised.
I made all this, Max Eldridge did the animating.