The 1920 s were a decade of rebirth characterized by the founding of the 'American Dream' -- the belief that anyone can, and should, achieve material success. What is the American dream? It consists of a family, house, cars, and other luxury items. Why do we feel so compelled to pursue it? The reason is because we, the American public, have been convinced through advertising to acquire it. It is a very powerful way of persuasion. Advertising affects us so powerfully that it sometimes sets our views of society for us. We constantly absorb images of families, houses, and cars through commercials and magazine ads.
It persuades us so strongly that it can alter our social consciousness to the point that we feel that the American dream is no longer a luxury, it has become a necessity. Today, there is almost no way to escape advertisements. The radio, television, and magazine ads make sure of that. The more we view these advertisements, the more we are persuaded toward the American dream. With a television in almost every household and magazines at arms length away, advertisers basically have us on our knees. We must digest advertisers views so frequently that you would think it was necessary to sustain life.
Advertising's main goal is to persuade. They want us to see the American way through their eyes. They tell us what to eat, drink, wear, drive, and think. Advertisers start this form of brainwashing on us at a very early age. They lay the groundwork of ideals early on because it is easy to persuade a child. Children are forced to make their own evaluations and most of the time they go along with the views of what they see.
How many times do children want something because they saw it on television? By age twenty, Americans have viewed an estimated half a million commercials. Now that is a major amount of influencing on a young person. This is exactly what advertisers hope to accomplish with young people. They want them to associate advertisements to purchasing.
It starts out with toys and leads to the American dream. One day they want a matchbox car and a few years later they want a real Porsche. Do not all boys want a fancy car? Do not most girls dream of living in a big house? Is this a coincidence or a carefully thought out scheme by advertisers? Now, how is it exactly that advertisers get us to want the American dream. They do this by channeling into one of our most basic instincts, emotions.
Along with emotions, advertisers want to make you feel three other things: connection, imagination, and desire. A connection between the product and a feeling is important. They also want you to imagine yourself in the experience with the merchandise. A strong desire for the product is another effect that the advertisers want you to feel. Take for instance any food commercial.
They connect the food to a feeling, which is hunger. They want you to imagine yourself eating the product. This produces a strong desire for the food. Advertisers hope that this will produce a sale.
The stronger the feeling for these topics, the more likely you are to trust and believe that you need them. Why is it that most of us want a family? Well, for the past thirty years we have seen countless families in commercials. Advertisers usually show these families as fun-loving and happy. The message they send out is that a family is healthy. That having a family equals happiness. All of which represent the American dream.
If you do not have a family, you are not a complete person and that does not represent the American Dream. A happy and safe family is part of what the American dream is all about. Using the American dream to make consumers feel guilty is an effective method of advertising. Luxury cars are another niche in the American dream.
When people think of the American way of life, a fancy car almost always comes to mind. This must be true since America is the largest purchasers of luxury automobiles. Car companies have some of the best persuasive commercials and magazine ads around. Advertisers use various techniques to make the public believe they need this certain car. You will be surrounded by extreme comfort and safety.
Driving this car will be like nothing you have ever experienced before. Their company slogans say it all. BMW - The Ultimate Driving Machine. Cadillac - Creating a Higher Standard. Lincoln - It's What a Luxury Car Should Be. These slogans make us think that this car will make our lives better.
After all, making our lives better is part of the American dream. The American dream is part of a larger image that we are being tied into. I believe that the government has been sold the American image. It has been sold this through our past leaders which upheld these beliefs.
This has forced America to become the big brother to the world. Advertising and persuasion are powerful tools that can set views for millions and should be recognized as such. It has set our standards of happiness through the American dream and told us what the criteria for a model American is.