The increase in the amount of advertising in the last fifty years has been mostly due to recent technological advances such as computers, wireless internet, and texting. An elderly neighbor, Mrs. Cassidy Aldrich, described her days as a young girl living in the same house more than fifty years ago with only a few other houses down the road and a marketplace about a mile away. She remembers receiving magazines advertising a Harley Davidson motorcycle and a can of Coca-Cola. Fascinated with her memory of the past, I asked if she remembered any sort of advertising that was directly sent to the public. She said “Advertisements were in the newspapers and magazines that people purchased in grocery stores” (Aldrich, Personal Interview). Advertising had been around for decades, but the ways in which advertisements are presented has increased remarkably when compared to today. Modern advertising in America has caused men, women, and children to believe they are expected to look a certain way in order to be accepted into society.
Advertisers manipulate the minds of men, women, and children using fifteen different appeals relating to emotions. The most significant are need for sex, need to dominate, and need to escape. Jib Fowles' provides a list of appeals in “Advertising's Fifteen Basic Appeals,” all contributing to the effects advertisements have on consumers. Fowles says, “Thus most advertisements...can be understood as having two orders of content...the appeal to deep-running drives in the minds of consumers...information regarding the goods or objective attributes...” (Fowles 541). For every advertisement an advertiser has to keep in mind the type of audience he or she wants to attract as well as how he or she can subliminally engrave the need to purchase a product. Moreover, advertisers use men and women's need for sex to appeal to induce the sexual drive of many. In “A Portfolio of Print Advertisements” there is a cigarette commercial by Philip Morris involving a man in beach bottoms and a woman in a strapless bathing suit, the position and expression provided by the two suggests comfort, gentleness, and happiness. The woman is advertising a pack of cigarettes that provides “gentle pleasure” (“A Portfolio…” 567). The ad harmlessly informs the audience of cigarettes while showing a happy couple. The clothes that both are wearing provide a sexual appeal to the audience, allowing the audience to think cigarettes will provide this sort of appearance.
Also, Americans have always been fascinated with succeeding and dominating. Most advertisements use aspects of everyday life that will be encouraging to consumers so they may be able to feel the need to conquer anything. Since Columbus discovered America, most Americans have been fascinated with conquering and ruling. Advertisers provide a scene where an individual who may be shy or lazy, to virtually dominate. An example of this is the World of Warcraft that shows gamers that may not be able to control everything in reality, but they have the ability to conquer other gamers and exceed use intellectual abilities against other gamers from all around the world. Most advertisements want consumers to feel as if they are in control even when they may not be.
Furthermore, people are constantly trying to find an escape from the realm of reality due to the constant pressures of daily life and advertisers take advantage of that. Because of the stress of reality, most Americans sleep to escape or watch television to forget the events of the day. An example of this is the York candy commercials that show a woman eating a piece of the candy and then being transported to the top of a mountain because it has the same sensation of cool that the candy has. The mountain is depicted with beautiful scenery of bright green grass peeking out from under the snow. Since so many Americans are constantly busy with work or…