Businesses utilize new media to advertise

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Trisha Chaudhary

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The area on a woman’s thigh between her knee socks and mini skirt is known as the “absolute territory” in Japan and has become a common ground for advertising, according to the Content Marketing News and Industry Insights website.
Art by Alex Carranza
If one were to walk the streets of Tokyo, it would not be uncommon to see stickers advertising various Japanese companies decorating the “absolute territory” of many women.
A similar marketing campaign emerged in London in January 2009 when people agreed to use temporary tattoos and advertise http://www.feelunique.com on their eyelids and wink at passersby, according to The New York Times.
But this method of advertising is not just one that occupies foreign countries; in fact, it is present in California.
Approximately 30 people in Los Angeles in early 2009 agreed to shave their heads and advertise Air New Zealand on the backs of their heads using henna, according to the New York Times. The “cranial billboards” learned of the opportunity through e-mail updates from the airline; however, sites such as leaseyourbody.com also provide people with the chance to ‘create a profile’ and connect with businesses to advertise on their body parts.
Though this type of advertising may not be extremely common yet, there is no denying its potential effectiveness. Ninety percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, according to the latest Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey of over 25,000 Internet consumers from 50 countries. These recommendations among other things make advertisements effective; however, Pete Eichholz, the marketing teacher at the Columbia Area Career Center (CACC) thinks appealing to viewers’ emotions is the most powerful.
“A good ad that tugs at the emotions of the consumer is the most effective,” Eichholz said in an e-mail interview. “It is also the hardest to create. You must know your target market very well in order to be successful.”
Using knowledge provided by labs, advertisers use a plethora of new techniques to attempt new ways of reaching out to their customers. One of the labs advertisers use is located in the School of Journalism in the University of Missouri — Columbia, and is called the PRIME lab, which stands for Psychological Research on Information and Media Effects. The lab conducts research on the psychological and emotional reactions that a person has to different features of media, according to their website.
“Emotional responses have become a huge thing,” senior Chandler Randol said.
Randol was in Marketing and Entrepreneurship last year at the CACC and is currently taking Sports Marketing. He went to internationals for the Distributive Educational Clubs of America (DECA).
“I know sex appeal and hunger and all these other things are things that they try and drive you to,” Randol said, “because it stimulates your brain and you remember them.”
The PRIME lab has published several papers with topics ranging from “Changing Student’s Attitudes Towards Palestinians and Israelis Through Video Games” to “The Effects of Graphic Health Promotion Messages to Third-Person Effects of Idealized Body Image in Magazine Advertisements.”
The lab conducts this research by placing participants into a room with a television and a recliner with wires connected to it. The wires attach to a person and they monitor heart rate and skin conductance to see how much attention the individual is paying to the commercial, and facial electromyography measures whether he or she is smiling or frowning in reaction. This allows the researchers to understand the connection, or lack of one, that the subject made with the advertisement and their reaction to it.
Senior Campbell Thompson took Marketing last year at the CACC and this year is in Advertising. She takes part in DECA activities and plans on attending a communications school for college. Thompson thinks in today’s market humor and guilt are strong emotions appealing to consumers. This paired with aesthetic appeal is what draws people in, she believes.
“Ads don’t typically appeal to people in an emotional sense these days,” Thompson said. “Mainly it’s about showing how a product will improve your lifestyle, but sometimes emotion needs to be pulled in to get people to listen.”
This kind of science, known as psychophysiology, is a growing phenomenon. Labs similar to PRIME exists in several universities around the country, including Texas Tech University, Ohio State University, Stanford University, Tufts University and others. In fact, a survey conducted by the association for psychological science shows 27 percent of empirical articles about psychology used psychophysiology methods in 2009.
With companies able to study the emotional connections behind advertising their ability to manipulate and appeal to the general public will increase, Randol said.
“I think the emotion will become a big piece of marketing and advertising specifically,” Randol said. “I think that you’re going to see more and more of that, whether that’s a good thing or not I don’t know that one person can really answer that, but I also don’t know if it’s necessarily a bad thing because it’s just human nature.”
In addition to studying and utilizing emotional responses, Eichholz sees the future of advertising connecting even more so with technology. Companies already use facial recognition, location finders, interest inventories and physical response tracking software in appealing to customers, Eiccholz said, and it will only continue this way.
“The future of advertising is all about personalization,” Eichholz said. “Advertisers want to be as efficient with their money as possible. What better way to do that than to appeal directly to people that they know use a product? Technology will change advertising significantly in the next couple decades.”
By Trisha Chaudhary