Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fear sells

Fear mongering, playing on our primal instinct to survive and dodge danger is a tactic long chosen by the clever advertisers. Biologically speaking, fear produces epinephrine in our brain, the "feel-good" -hormone that rewards us for experiencing frightening situations. (Horror movies, anyone?) That is why we get pleasure out of being scared, and the sensation is both contagious and addictive. Fear also overtakes reason in our thinking, and there is nothing more powerful of  a persuader than a crippling sense of danger. And this is how we make a lot of our purchases. Really. Let´s see some toothbrush images.

Feeling those gums going tender? A slice of horror in a commercial. But this is nothing new. Let´s have a look at the olden goldies.

That dust sure is a monster. Because we just cannot be clean enough, every gal needs a dose of radioactivity!

Fear of failure, or how they say "feared self", is the engine driving most of the marketing of cosmetics.
Anti-wrinkle creams, soaps, teeth whitening strips, line-control eye balms... Do we really need them, or do they even work? Or are we actually resorting to the "aid" offered to us because we _fear_ what might happen otherwise? L´Oreal states that "I am worth it", but am I worth more that gasping every single tube and case they are pushing as a boost for self-esteem? Like it or not, the message is that we are simply not acceptable without the chemicals on our skin. Be it radioactivity, DDT or parabens.

Unilever´s "Dove" -products gained a lot of good PR with their message of "real" beauty and decision to use "real" women on their advertising. This was, however, another case of smoke and mirrors. Pascal Dangin , the magician of a photoshopper, came forward to admit that "a lot" of photoshopping was needed and performed on the raw images of "real beauties".


1 comment:

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