Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Scarcity Technique

Chapter 7 in Robert B. Cialdini’s book Influence (science and practice) covers a specific technique or tactic that is used in influencing an individual or a group, Scarcity. The book is quite revealing, as it is effective in outlining the various tactics used to affect people through influence and persuasion. Scarcity plays a major role in persuasion.

To read more about scarcity please visit.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Advertisers- Capitalist - Bottom Line

Most recently my views were challenged towards advertisers and the persuasive techniques used to get people to spend. I identify the "spending concept" as the main artery to the life and power of capitalism. Therefore advertising is a large part of the spine of capitalism.

After taking a closer look at the elements or components of how advertising works, I concluded that advertising is a psychological ill that is more recognizable today. The playing field is not fair. There is a need for educating society about the good and the bad of advertisings persuasive or influencing techniques and how capitalism fuels the need for persuasive techniques.

I believe that education of capitalist practices and its connection to advertisers can be a key element to help fortify an economy that is struggling. The education should included the principles of capitalism along with the process of advertising. I suggest that capitalism can and does create a landscape that influences advertising to target some groups more than others because of their studied spending habits. It is all about the bottom line for advertisers and capitalist. I have included some information I shared in a previous forum discussion thats describe the situation in regards to African American consumers.

African Americans are being targeted because of what advertiser have learned and continue to learn about spending habits. By 2013 African American spending will be 1.2 trillion. But, only 18% of American business are black owned and only make 135 billion in sales. There are an estimated 42 million African Americans who earn an average of 32,000 dollars a year. With these numbers we can determine that 1.3 trillion dollars are earned on the average by African Americans.

This information shows that African Americans spend more than 95% of their income. How could this be? Target Market News shared an article that says the top 25 advertisers are continuing to spend more advertising dollars in the African American demographic. I would like to challenge others to consider, what I suggest is the obvious, African Americans and their culture of spending is being targeted; not to help educate on healthy spending habits but to take advantage of the disparity.

There needs to be some priority on all people to be healthier consumers but especially with a group of people who spend as much as they make. Advertisers warn, inform and educate individuals of cancers, diabetes, heart disease and so on, but do not inform, warn or educate enough about the side affects of advertising and its relationship with capitalism.

If advertisers are going to continue to use persuasive techniques where there is no fair balance of knowledge in reference to these techniques, the disparity will continue. "Persuasion is most likely to occur in a responsible way and fair way if both sides have equal opportunity to persuade and if each has approximately equivalent ability and access to the media of communication" (Larson, 1995, p.11). So if a group is targeted, unless they have equal access as the advertisers to persuade, it is an unfair and unequal experience.

I hope to identify a campaign of advertising that educates people about advertising and capitalism. I think this can help us to reclaim control over our economy and add some new positive approaches to redeveloping Americas struggling education system.

I am optimistic about the opportunity for moral advertising therefore moral persuasion. What I have come to understand is that persuasive techniques can be used to educate as well, capitalism and advertising can work on a fair or fairer playing ground.


Larson, Charles U. (1995). Persuasion, Reception and Responsibility. Wadsworth Publishing Company Northern Illinois University.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Persuasion Techniques- Revised

Persuasion was discussed and reviewed this week. After researching The Media Literacy, I discovered that there were many persuasion techniques used by the media. Some of these basic techniques were obvious but the advanced techniques really opened my mind to the levels of persuasion applied to media content, particularly advertising. Media Literacy involves the awareness and the understanding of how the language of persuasion techniques works our conscious media consumption through affecting our subconscious.

This blog will describe the various persuasion techniques applied to a particular. The audience as well as the text and subtext meaning will be explored. This exercise explores an example of how advertising uses the persuasive techniques to create the present consumer landscape. We all persuade but the advertising world uses persuasion more often and more specifically. Media literacy is necessary in order to manage the pervasive landscape of advertising.

I am excited about the American car company’s recovery and enjoy the new "Imported from Detroit" campaigns. Attached is a link to an ad that I think demonstrates successful use of persuasion techniques. This particular ad is called John Varvatos-"Attitude".

The audience for this commercial is broad but obviously is more specific to American an adult who can afford a car or who is planning to afford a car. This commercial is timeless and will affect an audience for generations. The narrative associated with this Ad appeals to anyone who believes in America and the American Dream. The narrative is what separates this ad from others. There is textual and sub textual meaning associated with most ads and this ad use the text subtext to make a lasting connection with the audience.

When analyzing this ad it is important to consider the text vs. the subtext. This ad wants the audience to connect in a direct and realistic way. Individuals know America because you are American and so is Chrysler. The text of the Ad says, “Chrysler is back”. The text says that the car is imported but it is not. It was made in Detroit. The subtext of "imported", suggest a comparison of vehicles made in America to those that are imported. Americans do feel that imported vehicles are better than American made vehicles. The new Chrysler has the same imported appeal. The subtext allows the advertisers to say more than just what is obvious or literal. This commercial uses subtext to bring the audience closer to the essence of the product. The advertisers want the audience to have an essentialist experience or connection.

In this ad, the Chrysler 300 is imported to New York and driven by a popular New York fashion designer. He's out looking for inspiration. He stops at an old school record store to pick up a rare selection of vinyl. The designer finds what he's looking for and rides the streets of New York back to his studio. He displays a blue-collar attitude in a white-collar world.

Even though I didn't know who the designer was, he felt like a celebrity. Celebrity appeal is one of the basic persuasion techniques. The idea of the designer as an artist looking for inspiration is an example of association. I can relate to the artist and what appeals to the artist. But for those who are not artist, there is a testimonial connection with the ad reaching out to the plain folks.

The intensity of the American dream expressed through the narration comes across as a persuasive technique. The ad also uses symbols like the old record store, the vinyl album, the record player and even the New York landscape flowing twits the power and strength displayed through the music. This ad expresses American ingenuity and the voice of the blue-collar community.

Overall, this ad campaign demonstrates a feeling of nostalgia that allows the viewer to be less compelled to think of any negative resulting from the past. The persuasion techniques used reduces the feeling of persuasion and seems to empower the viewer because of the honesty within the ad. This is a successful ad and is an example of the kind of techniques I would use consistently to persuade.

This exercise validates reasons for pressing the importance of media literacy and the awareness and understanding of persuasion and how persuasion is used to move the masses through media. Having knowledge of the persuasion techniques empowers the viewer to be more conscious of media consumption. A smarter viewer makes smarter choices.

Here is the ad for your review.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Bias and Media Literacy- revised

This blog post will discuss media bias and how I am personally affected by media biases within the news. In order to take a closer look at my media biases it is important to know how media bias is defined. Also it is important to take inventory or asses my media consumption.

Wikipedia has a lot to say about media bias and defines the term media bias as "a pervasive or widespread bias contravening the standards of journalism, rather than the perspective of an individual journalist or article". This definition opened my mind as I began assessing my own bias. I am not a journalist but I am a producer of media that can affect individuals understanding and perception. Next is the personal assessment of my media bias.

The television was my babysitter as I was a latch key kid who's single mom worked two jobs in order to take care of me. My mom did not read nor did she read to me. As I took a deeper look I realized many of my family members were not readers. I believe that reading is the foundation to literacy.

As I became an adult it was apparent that I had some deficiencies to overcome if I were to be an effective producer of media. Not until I did a true assessment of my media consumption did I understand what my deficiencies were and how they have potentially affected my development as a media producer.

Based on my inventory I learned I had many biases. For instance, I prefer television over the newspaper, radio and computer for news and entertainment. But why such dependence and trust in television? I have come to realize that my culture, child hood and educational experiences or lack of, helped to form my biases.

News is important to me to but I find that you can not get away from the propaganda as well as the bias that pervade most news reporting. For example, when it comes to news I prefer CNN over Fox News. But why? In my opinion I believe FOX news is more biased than its competitor CNN. FOX news is less neutral on many political issues and makes it its political ties obvious it it's viewers. In my opinion CNN attempts to be more neutral but even they have their bias. I understand CNN and FOX are companies that are managed by people and people will apply their personal bias in the content they develop. Journalist are not alone in this process. Filmmakers like myself use documentaries as a platform to speak out against many issues that affect them personally as well as others.

Marshall McLuhan reminds us all "the medium is the message" not the content. I embrace this theory and use it as a way to maintain focus and to be aware of my biases as well as the biases others. It is crucial as a media psychologist to be a critical thinker and to find neutrality in the approach on analyzing and producing content as well as empowering others with media literacy. I will continue to apply personal assessment of my biases in order to be neutral and objective.