Do (EDIT: Internet) advertisements work?

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EDIT: Apparently the original post didn't really convey what I really wanted to ask so before anyone else smugly decides that I'm a clueless consumer zombie who buys what the tv tells me to because I'm gullible and don't understand the mystic ways of brand recognition, well let me say that that couldn't be more wrong.

Lets use this site as an example. Right now on this page I'm viewing an ad for Onken fat free yoghurt's and ClearAccount money management tool. Yes I am now aware of these two brands so it's money well spent then? Well no, I will never purchase either of these things. I will never pass on word of mouth to my friends. I will never buy a shirt with their logo.

So why exactly did The Escapist get paid to deliver these ads to me while I post on their forums? THAT is what I'm questioning.

Lets limit this to just ads on the internet like here on The Escapist. I can not think of ONE singular example of a time an advert on a website, be it a banner ad or a video ad or anything like that which influenced me to purchase something. Can you really tell me that these work?

Original post:I see adverts all the time. When I'm watching TV, When I'm outside there are billboards and even right now there are advert banners surrounding this post, it seems like everything is covered in ads.

And yet I'm struggling to think of the last time I actually bought something directly because an Ad made me want it.

Now for some things like movies and games, trailers count as advertising but quite often I already knew about those before I saw the trailer because I keep up with sites like this where they're talked about a lot. Quite often trailers make me LESS likely to be interested in a game or movie because of the way they're marketed.

I get that advertising is absolutely vital for smaller brands to get recognition but then you have companies like Coke and Mcdonalds who spent millions upon millions every year when everyone knows they exist.

So really what I'm asking is when was the last time an advert convinced you to part with your cash and do you feel that advertising actually works for you?

Here's one that actually worked on me, and got a fair chunk of change for its trouble: Raven guitar amps. I saw an ad in a Guitar Center ad, and it sounded interesting. I now knew of an amp that, at least on the surface, ticked every box for what I was looking for (mid-sized combo, loud enough to gig with but controllable enough to practice with, inexpensive, good cleans, decent distortion, warm tone), but importantly, it wasn't the ad itself that convinced me. The ad just let me know to keep my eye out for it when I went to buy an amp. What convinced me was how much better it sounded than anything else in the price range. I could find a better amp, but not for less than half again what it cost me. If I hadn't seen the ad, I very well might have walked right past it and only looked at the offerings from companies like Roland, Line 6, Peavey[1], and Marshall. Well established brands that have a huge reputation for their low (and in some cases, high) end amps among guitarists.

So that's what advertising mainly does: it increases brand awareness. Even with Coke and Pepsi, I'm pretty sure, say, RC cola would be the leader if taste were all that mattered. But a lot less people know about it than the big two, even though they're all big, old, and well known brands. Same thing with beer -- Budweiser is a terrible beer, it absolutely sucks. But it sells incredibly well, because people know about it, and they know what to expect when they buy a bottle. That's what advertising does for a company.

[1] Which, actually, if my budget had been a bit higher, I probably still would have gone with a Peavey Bandit. That is a nice sounding amp for a solid state combo. None of the other brands had anything better in that area, though. Except Roland, whose low end amps are the most expensive of the lot.

Well, as a rule, if you knew you were being influenced by advertising, you'd resist it.

IIRC, one of the things they do is promote brand name awareness. People are more likely to buy from a familiar brand they know about than something they've never seen before.

1. Ads don't usually make you want to run out and immediately buy a product. They work in much more subtle ways (such as giving brand recognition).

2. If ads didn't work, companies wouldn't spend millions of dollars on them. Businesses, believe it or not, really aren't that stupid.

I know the idea behind advertisements, so I usually end up hating the product, or the company behind it, for no other reason than because the idea of advertising annoys me.
Also because they appeal to the gullible and sheep-following part of the human mind.

I guess it works, though.
Just look at apple and mcdonalds.

thaluikhain:
Well, as a rule, if you knew you were being influenced by advertising, you'd resist it.

IIRC, one of the things they do is promote brand name awareness. People are more likely to buy from a familiar brand they know about than something they've never seen before.

not in every case i have a freezer full of dumbstick ice creams because of a comercial

Do advertisements work?

Unfortunately, they do. They make people aware of the product, no matter whether the product is actually good. If I had a cent for every time I heard "I'm not sure I actually need this, but it's 50% off" I'd be a very rich man.

Me, I'm old-fashioned like that...if I was supreme overlord, I'd ban all advertising save for word of mouth - if your produce/service is good, word of mouth will get the advertising done for you.

yes it works.

and people are far more susceptible than they will ever admit.

let me give you a notable and rather frightening example of how manipulatable people are :

before the second gulf war 70% of people in the US believed Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11
(here's a source http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm )
a "fact" which is a completely removed from reality and yet that belief lent public support for the war.

you want another to ponder ? why do you buy a game when it comes out ?
i mean why do people treat it as if its a transient thing that must be experienced straight away ?
WM2 cost 40-50 million to make but Activision spent 4 times that telling people they had to go buy it.
( http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96227-How-Much-Did-Modern-Warfare-2-Cost-to-Make )

there is no real reason to stand in line for a game "at launch", far less than there is for say a movie which at least has a limited time period "in theatres", and yet thousands of people do and the vast majority act like the release of "the next big game" is the cusp of a wave they must ride.

but why don't you treat it like a book ? something you'll casually pick up in passing...something you'll perhaps just casually browse your way to in a store...something you'll pick up when you're done with the one you have atm...because Activision spends 200 million telling people to buy it that's why.

modern marketing/advertising was basically "invented" by people like Edward Bernays a nephew Sigmund Freud using the work of his uncle and others in the field of psychology as a basis and a lot of theories surrounding it are statically measured and tested and it measurably works within percentages...however virtually everyone will fervently deny they can be externally manipulated.

psychologists...and con men of all hues...know otherwise.

hell, over 80% of people will even "blindly" follow an instruction to kill someone in the right circumstances.
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment )

Eh... they might for a lot of people. But most ads do nothing but serve to piss me off and if I see an ad I really dislike, I make it a point to avoid that product.

I'm petty like that.

Sleekit:
yes it works.

and people are far more susceptible that they will ever admit.

let me give you a single notable and rather frightening example of how manipulatable people are :

before the second gulf war 70% of people in the US believed Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11
(here's a source http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm )
a "fact" which is a completely removed from reality and yet that belief is what lent public support for the war.

While I agree that in principle advertising works, this isn't really an example of advertising. This is more propaganda, which also works but for different reasons.

you want another to ponder ? who do you buy a game when it comes out ?
i mean why do people treat it as if its a transient thing that must be experienced straight away ?
WM2 cost 40-50 million to make but Activision spent 4 times that telling people they had to go buy it.
( http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/96227-How-Much-Did-Modern-Warfare-2-Cost-to-Make )

Now this, this is a much better example. And it neatly illustrates that advertising definitely can work, but also everything that's wrong with advertising.

My thinking goes more in line with S.R. Hadden from Carl Sagan's "Contact". Advertising may be effective but it's inherently wasteful. Imagine what quality of game Activision would have made if they had devoted most of the money spent on advertising to hire the best talent in the industry to make the best game they could. They could well have come out with a game that we wouldn't be referring to as "spunkgargleweewee" for a start. And people would buy the game because they would hear from their friends that it is good.

Maybe it's a result of growing older, but I tend to be reflexively suspicious of advertising blitzes. Whenever The Escapist splashes ad banners all over the sidebars of this site, whenever they have those pop-up banners at the top or bottom of the page that interfere with my forum reading, whenever I have to sit through the same 30-second ad at the front of every Escapist video, I reflexively grow to hate the game. I instantly suspect that I am being told how great the game is because it's actually mediocre and the company wants to trick me into blowing my money on the game before the public realizes it's kinda shit. Thus far I have only purchased one game that was advertised on The Escapist in such a way, and that's Skyrim, and that's only because word of mouth after the advertising blitz died down was so good. And because it was heavily discounted in a Steam Sale.

They do work, both ways, at least for me. If I see an ad that really annoys me, I make a decision to not buy the product. If the ad is funny I almost feel like I must buy the product to congratulate the creators for it.

I really am not a friend of ads and I never understood why huge companies have to advertise so often. Like the example of OP, McDonalds. I see ads daily for one burger or another. Why? I'm fully aware of them and if I feel like having a burger, I might actually pop in. Brand recognition is hardly the case here.

I wish it was mandatory for ads to be funny...

ohnoitsabear:
1. Ads don't usually make you want to run out and immediately buy a product. They work in much more subtle ways (such as giving brand recognition).

2. If ads didn't work, companies wouldn't spend millions of dollars on them. Businesses, believe it or not, really aren't that stupid.

Agreed. I'd like to say they don't work on me, but, they have and without me knowing.

I think supermarket ones work the best on me, if they advertise a deal on something I actually need I'll go and buy that and end up buying more crap while there. Supermarket wins.

Like many people say, it works, but not in the way that most people are used to. I personally reserve judgement on a product until I use it, so advertising gets the word out for me to do a little research.

if someone didn't think they worked then there wouldn't be such a dependency on ad revenue in the media industry.

They actually do, though not only in the way one might think.

There's a reason why big companies spend millions upon millions on ads; Branding. Companies makes sure that you see their logo and their product as often as humanly possible, at all times, everywhere. It's works really subtly and you probably don't think about it at all.

Let's say for example that you're in a 7/11, you're thirsty, and that you don't really care what you drink. I am willing to bet that, unless you don't like coca cola, or, you have an urge to drink something else, you will buy a coca cola. You know cola, it is safe, it is everywhere, you know that it does the trick. Cola is branded, it is branded really fucking well.

Now I'm not saying that all ads and branding work for every product for every single human. but I am saying that it's a real thing with a very real effect. And even though the ads are glaringly obvious, the effect is far, far, more subtle.

Ilikemilkshake:

And yet I'm struggling to think of the last time I actually bought something directly because an Ad made me want it.

This is the thing. Directly, I don't think it does work that much (although it probably does more than you think), but when you're bombarded with this imagery, these logos and slogans all the time, they stick in your subconscious, you become more and more aware of them. So when you need something in that area or you pass something you've seen elsewhere in a shop, you're more likely to be drawn to it and buy it.

Advertising was probably directly more effective when it was less prevalent. Now advertising is a necessity because without it you lose brand-name recognition. In other words, people need to be periodically remind that your product exists. So advertising may be less about getting an edge and more about staying on par with everyone else.

It works subtly most of the time. Although I personally I have been directly influenced on occasion. Mostly in regards to food or restaurants, especially new ones that are opening locally.

Game wise? I know trailers effect me. I had only a passing interest in Metal Gear Rising until saw the Metal Gear Ray game play trailer, now I want it so bad.

ohnoitsabear:
1. Ads don't usually make you want to run out and immediately buy a product. They work in much more subtle ways (such as giving brand recognition).

2. If ads didn't work, companies wouldn't spend millions of dollars on them. Businesses, believe it or not, really aren't that stupid.

Pretty much what ohnoitsabear says.

They don't consciously make you think "I need that".

It's subtle. You will unconsciously prefer to buy the products that you recognize, and adverts do just this.

Depends really.

The last an advertisement work on me was the last two FKC limited meals like the Nacho stacker and the Galdiator box meals. They simply look appealing to me and wanted to try them out however the newest limited meal does not appeal to me at all(it's likea chicken wrap) which I guess is more of what sort of food appeal to me.

A Smooth Criminal:

ohnoitsabear:
1. Ads don't usually make you want to run out and immediately buy a product. They work in much more subtle ways (such as giving brand recognition).

2. If ads didn't work, companies wouldn't spend millions of dollars on them. Businesses, believe it or not, really aren't that stupid.

Pretty much what ohnoitsabear says.

They don't consciously make you think "I need that".

It's subtle. You will unconsciously prefer to buy the products that you recognize, and adverts do just this.

It depends on the product to some degree. I have seen some commercials that immediately made me want the product because it seemed practical. Though when I am directly made aware of a product through advertisement I usually know I probably don't need it.

However for most common products this is the case. You're going to get something at the store, you find yourself picking up things you know, often you know about them because of the advertisement. Having a good ad is all about having one that make you remember the product. There have been ads that I love, but I can't remember the product, that's a bad one.

I don't think it's necessarily to make you want it. It's more to just make you know it exists in the hope that next time you need that thing, that brand will be the first to come to mind. For instance, I know I need trash bags right now and as I'm thinking about that, the Force Flex ones come to mind first because I saw a commercial for that recently.

It never works for me.
I think I may be a tad busted in that regard, because if someone says "you have to have this!" I will subconsciously invest extra effort into avoiding it.

I do remember most of the products that Billy Mays and that Vince guy have advertised though, but mostly due to the humor that the web has been able to dole out from 'em.

Ads are not designed to MAKE you want something. That would be illegal (I think they tried in the 60s in America with subliminal messages or something). Ads are there to INFORM you of said product's existence. See, most (smart, non-spoiled-teenager-y) people buy things usually of necessity. Now, I'm not gonna argue whether necessity can also mean sheer desire, or actual necessity, that's a whole other thread; so given that you do in fact need stuff, it's not a question of 'will you', but rather a question of 'when will you' and 'which will you'. I.e. When will you need that 50 dollar professional yoga mattress, and which 50 dollar professional yoga mattress are you going to buy? So the ad's job is to inform you that 'yes, we do have those mattresses, and yes they're perfectly capable of fulfilling your yoga needs in a safe, satisfying manner; and (most importantly) you can buy them at your local yoga-mattress-selling, CONVENIENT store (the key word here being convenient)' That being said, some ads (the ones that use celebrities for instance) do in fact actively try to sell you on a certain, maybe pricier product. And it usually works, because of course you're going to buy that 50 dollar mattress that David Beckham and his hot, sexy wife What's-her-face use because it's everywhere, and it's guaranteed to work, as opposed to that cheap-o 5 dollar yoga mattress that sits at the back of some .99$ store you went buy once, that doesn't advertise at all. Necessity and availability/convenience are the key factors in most ads and advertisers are usually well-aware that not EVERYONE is going to buy their product (unless they're Coca Cola of course); but their job is to reassure their targeted demographic that they ARE the best (regardless of whether they truly are). So next time you buy your gillette razor/shaving foam think for a second why exactly your spending slightly more to buy exactly that one, in stead of buying the slightly cheaper one that, however, you haven't heard of.

If anything ads usually make me hate the product in question, and I try to get by without it.

If it's something I desperately need, then I just buy the competing brand, or if their ad pissed me off too then I just get the value stuff.

No one tells me what to buy.

Ads work on me but only in the sense that they make me aware of something I want.
I don't care how they portray a product, if I want it, I'm getting it.

I tend to avoid things if I dislike their advert... and if you saw my reaction to lots of adverts, you'd know that was alot. I do however like adverts for games/films/TV series that I am looking forward to anyway, as it definately raises my hype.
Captcha was 'hard lines' and it didn't let me get away with '-----' ? :(

If it didn't work, then it wouldn't be so valuable. It's RIDICULOUSLY valuable, like, youtube's almost constant streaming of HD video is subsidized by advertising, and video hosting and streaming of that caliber and magnitude is not cheap at all. But they still pay out their big names because the money coming in from advertisers is so big.

It works, but it doesn't work in the way that you think. Very few advertisements will effect an actual sale on any one person, but when you multiply that tiny number by millions or billions of people, and suddenly that number spikes up. It also keeps your brand relevant. People are more likely, when given two options - the one they've heard about vs the one they haven't - they're more likely to take the first, and that's what advertising does. And it's really valuable. our eyeballs and monkey brains are worth a fortune to these people.

Do they work on me?
No, because I generally don't like the product and/or the means of advertisement, i.e usually a pop song, scantily clad woman or both.

Do they work in general?

ohnoitsabear:

2. If ads didn't work, companies wouldn't spend millions of dollars on them. Businesses, believe it or not, really aren't that stupid.

This.

It's not the 1950s anymore. Marketers and advertisers aren't trying to sell one product to absolutely everyone anymore. Some cash cows like P&G's Tide detergent make ridiculous amounts of money, even though they're barely advertized, because everyone already knows about it and it's what their mom used.

No one is telling anyone to buy things. In fact, I can't think of a single commercial on the air today that tells viewers to buy their product or service. Instead, they're intended to either describe the product and what it does or, if it's already well-known, remind everyone that it exists and then add something amusing like a talking dog or some shit. Someone mentioned trash bags, and that's a good point. I can't think of any brand except Glad because they're the only company for which I've seen ads.

EDIT: Also I'm laughing to myself at all you scrubs who think you're above the system.

I'd say they definitely have affected me in the subtle ways mentioned in the thread, however, due to ad-block and the fact that I no longer watch television, it is very rare that I ever encounter an ad anymore. It would be very jarring for me if I were to see a Youtube ad and I would probably have no idea what the hell is going on and then eat some cinnamon toast crunch and marry a dolphin, in Haiti.

Ilikemilkshake:
So really what I'm asking is when was the last time an advert convinced you to part with your cash and do you feel that advertising actually works for you?

Convinced me, personally...I'm not entirely sure. I do go for the cheapest thing in stores or otherwise things I personally know of (have seen/used at some other time). Also, I don't even have a TV or a radio, so I don't get most commercials at all. I have, however, bought Coca Cola but not by my choice (I don't really like it as much as other drinks) but because a friend said to pick a bottle up and come by and similar. So in a way, yeah, that's me being affected by ads.

However, I wanted to do a case study about how exactly ads do work directly. And let's pick up an extreme example of ads - spam. No, not the spambots that swing by the forums - they are actually not trying to sell you anything (directly anyway), so let's exclude them. Just normal boring spam you get for, say, viagra, rolexes, online pharmacies, etc.

Pretty much everybody and their dog knows about stuff. It's computers 101 - knowledge of spam comes just after "how to mouse" and "how to keyboard". Reaction to spam is overwhelmingly negative, too. All in all, it seems that spam...doesn't justify it's own existence here - people are aware of it and try to stay away.

So why is it that we get more spam? Yeah, the actual spam distribution costs very, very little - close enough to zero, in fact, but why send it still? Because it does make a profit. There are people who are opening those emails and clicking those links. There is a sucker born every moment and all of them use emails. Spammers can easily get from few hundred to few thousand dollars per month from people falling for spam alone (there are other revenues to be made - as an example, a spammer can be paid by a company to try to sell their product). Sure, it's not as much money as taking even a part time job might yield, but it takes very little effort and you can still do that part time job, if you wish.

So, extremely unlikely and downright obnoxious ads, in the face of spam, can and do get people to fall from them. They work. Work well enough to justify their existence and well enough for some spammers to be able to live off them. Now imagine how well the other ads would do, given that people are not inherently opposing them and they actually get way more exposure.

i'm not much of a consumer and apart from movie trailers that key me into movies that i would eventually find out about i'd say the only ads that get me to buy stuff are fast food ads and that is only when there is a product that i like that i can not get every day (like when hot and spicy is promoted for KFC)

capcha: sausages
brb need to buy some sausages

Only on the weak minded.
image
"This is the product you're looking for."

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