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By wesam0101 May 26, 2014 1162 Words
Whether we find advertisements on radio, television, Internet, newspapers, or roads, they have become a part of our daily life. Basically, wherever we look, we will certainly find an advertisement that is somewhere. Advertisements are a tool to promote a certain product in various ways so it can reach potential customers or just to inform people of what product they produce. Frank (2005) illustrates that advertisements seek to convince costumers to buy products. Advertisers use it publish advertisements just to manipulate the people without taking in consideration if it is ethical or not. So, advertisers manipulate people by the use of weasel word, and pathos. Words have the power that can inspire and attract humans. Advertisers use words to convince customers to buy their product, but they can’t advertise words that break the law in their country. So advertisers found a way that will prevent them from a facing legal action which is weasel words. Weasel words “appear to say one thing when in fact they say the opposite or nothing at all,” (Lutz, 2012, p.248). This means that weasel words imply something, but in reality nothing has been said or real information has been delivered. Let’s take the phrase “Up to 50% or whatever percentage off” as an example. First when we read this, we think and look only on the number 50% because it means it is half of the original price and we ignore the phrase “up to” which is the most important part. “Up to” is a misleading statement that does not mean exactly the number that comes after it, but it means that, for example, the discount can either be 30, 20 percent or no discount at all. This statement is technically correct, but it tricks and misleads people by the number that follows. Advertising can effectively manipulate people by weasel words through many ways as people just pay attention the words that come after the weasel word. Though weasel words perhaps the most common way of manipulating people, there is another technique used in the advertising manipulation, which is the use of pathos. Pathos is considered as one of the most powerful tool that can easily change one’s emotions toward something. Armstrong (2010) explained that advertisement can achieve the satisfaction of consumers when they use the product by using emotional element in advertising. Manipulate people through emotions is an effective way to mislead people because people can’t refuse or ignore emotions. Let’s take the example of women being concerned about their appearance. Not just that, but also what they are required to do in order to be perfect. Advertisers use this weakness to promote cream products in which they show women how they are going to look after using the product. They promote the ads in many places, especially in fashion magazines, as they know that women like to read this type of magazines. As a result, women go ahead and buy the product believing that it will benefit them. After using it, they realize that they have been fooled by the advertisement. The problem here is that they know that the cream won’t change anything, but the emotional appeal they face forces and convinces them to buy it. Another example is the use of celebrities to promote a certain product. Advertisers use celebrities to try and play with their emotions. When a female, especially a teenage girl, sees her lovely celebrity wearing something new or anything related to the new fashion, she is very likely to try to imitate her. Lea-Greenwood notes, “Through magazines, they are exposed to the celebrity ‘look’ and are given tips on how to ‘get her look’” (2012, p 92). Moreover, they did not only find a way to manipulate females, but also they are targeting males. Even though men are less emotional, but when it comes to women portraying a product in a certain way, their emotions start to emerge. “In advertising, the use of highly attractive models is believed to be effective in increasing sales” (Tsa & Chang, 2007, p. 1). For example, my friend wanted to buy an off-road light from eBay. When he searched, many products appeared to him and all of them were at the same price. One of the advertisements was a woman carrying the light. Once he saw this, he was attracted to the advertisement, which made him buy this particular product and not any of the rests. Hence, advertisers know exactly where they can trick people, especially by targeting their emotions.

However, though advertisements are known to manipulate people, it is important to know that it has a positive side. Advertisements can be informative somehow. For instance, there are many advertisements about health, government services, and new products. Advertisements create awareness about useful events and donation campaign. For example, as people know, donating blood is very important because it can save a life. So, through advertisements, we can know when and where we can donate. Also, it keeps us updated with the latest technology. For example, when Mercedes-Benz released the new S-Class model, they informed us about the new functions are included in the new model. After all, advertisements are here just to inform us and tell us about the products and services that are available. Also it is a consumer’s decision to buy or not because it is their responsibility to distinguish between harmful and beneficial advertisements. But in reality, some people do not want to think before buying. They rush quickly after they see the ad without even thinking for a second. In addition to that, it does not make the advertisement innocents because they are really manipulating us to buy their products. They have to recognize that it is not ethical, and the government should censor the content of advertisements, which will prevent them from using the techniques that I mentioned above and also other hidden ways they use to manipulate us. In conclusion, advertisements have a negative impact on people. As mentioned above, advertisers use misleading statements and emotional components to manipulate people, so they can convince people to buy their products and gain money from that. Even though that sometimes advertisement can be beneficial, we cant ignore the fact that they are using us and maniputating us so they can get money. People have to be aware of this and they should know that the purpose of ads is to manipulate them and to convince them to buy the product and the services they offer. Word Count: 1053



Lutz, W. (2012). Weasel Words: The Art of Saying Nothing at All. In Shine, A., Abusalim, A., Sayed, S., McArdle, J., John, M., Brown, M., & Frederick, D. (Eds). Majlis of the ‘Others’ (2nd ed., pp. 247-257). London: Pearson Education Limited. Frank Jefkins (2005): Advertising. Pearson Education Limited , UK

Lea-Greenwood, Gaynor. Fashion Marketing Communications.
Somerset, NJ, USA: Wiley, 2012. p 92.

Armstrong, J. Scott, Professor. (2010). Persuasive Advertising. Palgrave Macmillan.

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