Television advertisements frequently use the model of storytelling refined by tradition over centuries to increase their impact, direct our attention, and firmly install their corresponding brand in our memory.
The basic story core of problem-transformation-solution is overtly or more subtly present in the majority of ads. Commercials also use fast movement, expressive high-contrast imagery, and appeal to all senses.
Traditional stories normally carry an ethical message. Similarly, armed with powerful storytelling tools, advertisements can transmit subconscious ideological messages along with the main brand they are trying to push.
Advertisers see people as target minds. Their main goal is to affect, influence, and impact them – although most advertisers would argue that they are simply trying to give people what they want. This is, of course, not mentioning the fact that the creation of wants is an intrinsic part of modern marketing. The specific techniques of manipulating people into wanting, following, or believing include:
- Playing upon inner emotional desires (envy, stability, curiosity, pride)
- Taking advantage of subconscious insecurities (fear, xenophobia, oedipal complex)
- Exploiting basic biological drives (lust, hunger)
- Manipulating language (estate tax => death tax)
And of the more sophisticated techniques:
- Triggering cultural archetypes that reside in the collective unconscious