Are You Under the Influence?
Who or what has had the most significant and sustained influence over you than anything else?
Take a moment to think about what type of a phone you buy, the fast-food joint you frequent, or brand of athletic shoe you are willing to sink money into. Sometimes, the choices you make are choices that you may think are yours but, in reality, were really a suggestion made to you by industry advertising through media. How would your choices be different if you had not been influenced by the image of that hot, juicy hamburger that just drove by you on Highway 400 on the side of a food truck?
In the ideal world, individuals would make consumption choices based on whether an item supported the consumers’ value(s). In reality, choices are often based on what a product appears to represent – thanks to the creative geniuses in the media and advertising industries. Where consumers believe they are making a choice – they are not. Understanding media and advertising gives consumers back the right to freedom of choice… to empower the consumer to understand the power of thoughtful purchase.
Media is often confused with message. To keep things straight, remember that media is the car in which the message is the passenger. The more places the car can travel, the more the message can be communicated. The faster the car, the faster the message can be communicated.
Why is it important to study media? “To study the media is to understand the world around us: how it adapts to meet our needs, how it persuades through manipulating and gratifying our wants, and how it crafts different concepts to influence the public.
The power of the media is phenomenal, influencing every single person who becomes part of its readership. From ambient marketing (cigarette packets, beer mats, pens, pencils), to billboards and posters, all the way up to television and internet advertising campaigns, each segment of the media is crafted to trigger certain responses. The influence of media can be understood by analysing the media and understanding why decisions are made, how audiences are targeted, and how needs are met.
If individuals do not study media, they risk becoming blind to that which has had the greatest influence on society. It is essential to follow and understand the media as it evolves and adapts to meet society’s needs, not only to master the art of influence for ourselves, but also to avoid the traps that such vast proportions of the public fall into through being influenced by what the media produces. (Yahoo Answers, 2010).