Advertisements: Middle Class and Baby Essay

Submitted By HUMmaterials
Words: 1418
Pages: 6

Advertising War In the mid-1920’s GM began introducing annual model changes to their vehicles and had to convince consumers of their need to buy a new car only a few years after buying their first car. GM was successful in marketing their new cars to the public, surpassing Ford as the leading automaker. GM’s success prompted a variety of companies to attempt to market their products to the masses, which in turn gave birth to a new profession: advertising firms (Murrin 613). These firms continued to grow in numbers, as well as in marketing strategies. Over the past eighty-five years, the creative minds employed by such firms have continuously changed marketing strategies in order to adapt to consumers’ skepticism about, or boredom with, the same products. It seems there is a constant battle being fought by these firms, and the companies they work for, to appeal to the needs and desires of consumers. The most recent tactic being employed in this subliminal war to win the hearts and minds of consumers is the ultimate weapon of mass distraction- babies. They use a clever method of disarming viewers by putting humorous close-ups of cute, cuddly, and smiling little infants into the living rooms of every home in America. HP, Etrade, and Huggies are three companies that have engaged in this scheme of using babies and amusement in order to manipulate the emotions of unsuspecting television viewers, targeting white middle class families in a stereotypical fashion. Why target white middle class families? First, one must consider the three main economic classes: the wealthy; the poor; and the middle class. Nobody markets to the poor because they do not have money to spend on luxuries. The wealthy make up only a small fraction of the overall population, so marketing to them doesn’t make sense either. This leaves the middle class, which has the means to buy luxuries and the desire for convenience, making them the most desirable demographic to market products to. It should also be mentioned that whites make up the largest portion of the middle class. Next, consider a poll conducted by AdweekMedia/Harris that showed people images of “sweet old men”, “sweet old women”, babies, and puppies. When the same people were asked what images pulled on their emotional heartstrings, only puppies (41%) received more votes than babies (34%). However, babies led the voting with respondents in the age group 35-44, receiving 39% (Dolliver). Voila! Therein lies the reason companies like HP, Etrade, and Huggies use babies in marketing to white middle class families. The problem is the way they market their products only encourages stereotyping by promoting the idea of what white middle class families should be like including all forms of convenience. In HP’s commercial, viewers hear a song that blends in comically with the sight of a cute little baby zooming across a desert landscape at close to mach speed, leaving a trail of dust in its wake. A close up view shows baby holding on tight, and calmly absorbing the surrounding landscape. Next, the adorable little baby is traveling down a road that seems to cut through some pretty impressive rock formations that open up as the road approaches a lake. Then, baby appears to herd some sheep before splitting a lonely highway through a dense forest. On the final leg of his (or her) journey, baby knifes through small town traffic better than Jeff Gordon on a July evening in Daytona. Finally, baby pulls into the driveway and to the front door of what must be its home, which appears to be in the quintessential middle class neighborhood. The next scene shows a printer spitting out a picture of the infant star. Finally, the baby’s mom is shown sending the picture from a cell phone camera to the printer. To go along with the stereotype, mom has to be the one taking the picture, while dad sits back and watches (HP). Nonetheless, Hewlett-Packard has skillfully used this adorable baby to capture the observer’s…