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Unpopularity Of Advertising

Decent Essays
Unpopularity: The Psychological Aspects of Advertising With consumer spending increasing in the 1950’s, many companies saw this as an opportunity to create a culture, and encourage purchases that the average person did not necessarily need. One company that took advantage of the situation that was Listerine. With their ad, “Halitosis makes you unpopular” (Handwerk), Listerine was able to manipulate the fears of being isolated and standing out using appeals to human need and emotions.
Manipulation of perception and emotion has existed for a long time. For example, sleight of hand has existed for multiple centuries, “magicians” would manipulate small objects to make them “disappear” and then later “reappear” (Sternz). This form of
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The play called “The Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller shows signs of this too. The main character makes several references to things, more in reference to the classic American dream, that everyone should have, such as: a white picket fence with a green grass lawn, a nice family home, and a car for the family. This play was written in the 1940’s, but the themes discussed could also be applicable to the 1950’s. Hollywood created the image of a perfect woman at the time: tall, thin, blonde hair, perfect submission to their husbands, a housewife, and most importantly a trophy to the men. Most girls that were younger at this time strived to fit this image, and when an advertisement came out that talked about how they would be unpopular if they didn’t use a certain product, they would probably be enticed to buy it so they could fit in with everyone else.
In advertising, the most popular tactic is to appeal to a person’s emotions. Listerine used the slogan, “Halitosis makes you unpopular” (Handwerk) to promote their product. “What is Halitosis?... that is the medical term for bad breath” (Handwerk). To most, Halitosis probably looks like a “big, fancy word,” but really it isn’t as complicated as it looks. However, the common public at this time most likely didn’t know what it meant, and with a company claiming they had the cure for what could possibly be a dangerous disease, it became
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