Manipulative Advertising

To be less influenced by advertising, it is good to be aware of the tricks that are employed. When you realize what is happening, you are warned.

The positive, not the negative

Advertising focusses only on positive aspects of product, never on negative ones.

When supermarkets lower some of their prices, they make sure everyone knows about it. When, after a while they raise prices again, they keep their mouths shut.

If any information you get is remarkably positive, it is probably one-sided. There is no such thing as something that has only positive aspects. See if you can get additional information to complete the picture, or try to think of what negative aspects might be. Keep in mind that when something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Positive valuation

Many ads will tell you that a product is great, amazing, super, mega whatever. Or it is supposed to be easy, convenient or handy.

Companies pay advertisers to use such words. Such qualifications have little to do with how you will really experience a product. Why not ignore them altogether?

Presenting it as better than it actually is

Not only will advertisers show only the positive, they will also present products as better than they actually are. The pizza in the advertisement sure looks more delicious than the real product. That's because it isn't the real product.

Promotional photos of food usually aren't very real. The food is made to look good by using plastic vegetables, putting some extra of the good looking stuff on top of it, and making it shine artifically.

Photographers know how to make things look good. They manipulate the lighting, make sure the model smiles, and choose the best angle. Photos are not like the real thing, although they appear like they are.

The attractive person

The advertiser uses an attractive person to deliver the message, as attractive people are accomodated and trusted more. Attractive young men or women often deliver the message in advertisements.

This is, of course, a staged situation, the attractive person is paid to deliver the message. Separate enjoying that person from believing the message.

The famous person

A famous person in an advertisement tells how good the product is.

Advertizing companies pay celebrities to appear in ads. It is not like the celebrity spontanuously supports the product, he or she is asked and paid. They may not even use the product themselves (although they may say so).

Gifts with a logo

Anything you get that has a company logo on it, is designed to make you more loyal to the company the logo is from. You are reminded of the company many times, and so are others near you. It is nice to receive a gift, but the gift is there because it will influence you.

You may not want such a mini billboard, and refuse such gifts.


Ads or gifts displaying a particular lifestyle make you associate a product or brand with that lifestyle. Identifying with that lifestyle, you open up to the possibility of wanting the product.

Perhaps look whether a product suits you, not the lifestyle.

Appealing to your insecurities

There are aspects of our lifes that we feel insecure about. We may deep down believe we are not worthwhile, not attractive enough, etc.

Often, products will not really deal with such insecurities, but only offer a temporary or otherwise insufficient fix.


Buy something and "win" a gift!

What would the odds be to actually "win" such a gift? One in ten? One in a hundred? One in thousand? Or even less? Usually, the odds are pretty low - you are likely not going to "win."

So, why bother about "winning?"

Avoiding the influence

What helps even better to get rid of the influence of advertising, is avoiding advertising. Obviously, with ads being so omnipresent, that's not going to work entirely, but with several media, it is possible.