Uncovering the Advertising Trap

How Advertisers Misrepresent the World

Here I was sitting on my computer the other day planning out the things that I would buy after I graduate and I decided I would love a new BMW. I read all about their program to give college graduates a discount and I thought wow this is great, and after all it is in American blood to shop endlessly. But then it hit me all at once. I cannot afford a BMW. Why? Because I'm 19! No 19 year olds should be expect to be able to afford a BMW!

I thought more into this and I began to see very clearly that there is a huge disconnect in advertising. Ads almost invariably focus on youthful people who in many cases cannot reasonably expect to afford the things being shown. If I were to purchase a new BMW at a young age, I would probably be set far back in my short-term financial goals.

Look at this crazy BMW ad that I found. It is in fact so descriptive of what I am trying to get across that I am tempted to just stop writing. This advertisement features an attractive young couple in the act of making love, but the woman's face is replaced with a picture of a BMW. This ad says "Buying a BMW is sexy and you should do it because it will make your life better." Well, it will make you life better with a perhaps 300 or 400 dollar car payment if that's what you mean. I will later do another post on sex in advertising.

On the flip side of this, we are primed to make judgement about older people doing "young" things and driving "young" cars. If we see a 60 year old man driving a BMW we may think it's strange. Reality check, that's normal. That is the real target audience for luxury cars because older people can afford to buy them.

The world of advertising has flipped our perceptions of life backwards and we do everything that we can to hold onto our youth. I think people should become more comfortable with living as themselves and being able to make choices without falling into an advertising trap.