Successful advertisement is based on killing the self-esteem of the targeted audience. The goal of every commercial out there is to become a symbol of something that the potential viewers will want obtain at a high cost. That's why you only see beautiful people and idyllic images in the ads on TV or in the newspapers. When a single person that is unhappy sees a fairytale family advertising juice or whatever, the self-esteem of that person will be hurt because he/she does not have what's presented on the screen. Therefor, he/she may try to over-compensate by purchasing the advertised product.
In general, the bigger the damage to the self-esteem, the more effective the advertisement. One of the most famous and successful advertisement campaigns of all time is the one of the cigarette brand Marlboro by Philip Morris – one of the largest producers of cigarettes and other tobacco related products in the world. Initially, the goal of the Marlboro ad campaign was to sell a product to a new audience. The product of choice were cigarettes with filters. Before the advertisement campaign cigarettes with filters were considered a good orientated more towards women. In order to overcome that problem and sell to men the advertising agency came out with a “brilliant” idea to use a symbol of a manly figure for the advertisement. This is how the Marlboro Man was born. When you looked at him remember that you are observing one of the greatest self-esteem killers on the universe.
|Image credit: http://www.gla.msstate.edu/|
The Marlboro Man is meant to represent a real man that even money can't buy. The advertisement was so successful that the profit of Philip Morris reported stunning growths – 300% increase of the sales from USD 5 B to USD 20 B in just two years. Why? Obviously, the image of the Marlboro Man has become one of the ultimate symbols of manhood – men need it badly and women want to get a piece of it as well. Which woman does not want a real man protecting her from the bad guys? Only the non-existent ones.
Every time you feel inferior and question whether you possess the qualities associated with being a man the image of the Marlboro Man just pops in your head and on a second note you are reminded that the cowboy in the ad is smoking on regular basis. The clients are tricked to believe that by smoking cigarettes they will become, at least partially, true men because if you do what a real man does you will look like one. And if you look like one there is a chance others will see you as one. And if others see you as one someway along the way you may see yourself as one too, provided that you don't die from lung cancer before that. S-E-X-Y.
When you kill the self-esteem of someone you immediately make him/her/them curious. If you approach a person and say: “You are ugly as fuck!” that person will have some sort of a negative reaction towards you. However, the more important phenomenon, for the sake of this article, is the fact that the one who is insulted will without a doubt analyze the aggressor – is he/she beautiful enough to call me ugly? If he/she is better than me how can I become more like him/her? Does he/she have something that I don't have? Can I buy it? It works every single time and will continue to do so.
It's quite interesting that the same principle is observed in human relationships. There is a reason why “the bitch” always gets the boys while “the nerdy girl” receives no attention. The bitch represents something that the boys can't have. The bitch is in every movie. The bitch is cat woman while the nerdy girl is Alice who lives next door and occasionally goes out to throw the garbage in between her piano lessons and English classes. The boys don't care about Alice because she is too easy to get and having her does not elevate the self-esteem. On the other hand, having the mythical girl that everybody wants attacks the ego directly and makes one feel somewhat on the next level. The bitch is the commercial while Alice next door is real life. Who wants real life when you can have something larger than that by buying a product?