Advertising affects habits, prices, preferences, and even perceptions of reality

Advertising affects habits, prices, preferences, and even perceptions of reality


Despite the normality of advertising, marketing strategies have had to adjust to keep up with rapidly evolving digital technologies.

People encounter advertising in almost every aspect of their lives: as they read the news, as they shop for groceries, as they chat with friends on Facebook, and as they entertain themselves with music, movies, and on the Internet.

Digital marketing has the potential to reach millions of people with just one advertisement. Companies no longer need to disperse physical advertisements to thousands of geographical locations. Although the average consumer has grown to expect advertising on and off screen, bigger questions (and answers) about the effects of advertising on people’s opinions and behaviors are not as common. 

How can advertising affect people’s daily lives?

Online marketing gives companies the potential to target specific consumers and reach them almost constantly. In fact, successful digital marketing often means people might not need to leave their homes to learn about, decide on, and, eventually, purchase a product. The most successful advertising should affect people’s daily lives by making them simpler. Content marketing has created the expectation that marketing can be informative, specific, and result in increased knowledge and awareness. The more accurate and informational marketing is, the less research consumers have to do on their own.

Do we change our perception of reality due to the publicity that brands make?

It is often said that perception is reality. When an advertisement gives a consumer new information, or alters their opinion even slightly, the brand behind that advertisement is altering that consumer’s perception of reality. Take corn syrup: as health concerns became prevalent in the U.S., the Corn Refiners Association sponsored a campaign to show corn syrup in a positive light; people who encountered those advertisements may have shifted their perceptions of the health risks of high-fructose corn syrup after watching one of those advertisements. Content marketing has enormous potential to influence the way people perceive something. Sophisticated content marketing is informative, relevant, and applicable to consumers’ specific needs and lives. More knowledge about a specific topic always has the potential to change perceptions.

Does advertising alter our likes and preferences?

Effective advertising may convince its audience that its product is stronger, simpler, of higher quality, or cheaper than the alternatives. Although advertising alone may not alter our likes and preferences, successful advertising has the potential to shape our preferences less directly. If an advertisement convinces a consumer to purchase a new product, that product may become a personal favorite or household item for years to come. If a successful marketing campaign convinces a skeptic to give a new reality television show a chance, they may find themselves with a new hobby.

Does advertising affect prices?

It is common for marketing strategies to target not only the consumer, but the competition as well. Consumers have come to expect, and then reward, transparency about prices from advertisements. If Brand A, for example, advertises its product for $99, and Brand B advertises its product without mentioning a price, potential buyers may simply assume that Brand B’s product must be more expensive—why wouldn’t they publicize their price if it wasn’t? Additionally, price transparency in advertisements may lower prices simply by alerting the competition to the details of the market. When Brand B learns that Brand A is selling their product for $99, Brand B may feel pressure to lower their prices to remain competitive.

Because advertising is everywhere, it has the potential to affect our daily habits, our tastes and preferences, and even the way we perceive the world around us. Whether by convincing a person to change brands, inspiring a new interest or hobby, or spreading information consumers might not otherwise have, advertising wields enormous power.