Wow! I experienced something interesting today. While sitting at the Phoenix airport on a connection to Kansas City, I glanced up at the TV that was playing in the waiting area at the gate. I could scarcely hear much of what was playing, but I could make out the news story if I listened closely. I glanced away for a few seconds, until a commercial promoting travel to India began.
Now, I have never had any interest in anything India. I’ve never cared to go there. I don’t particularly care to pursue business there. I certainly have nothing against the place or any of the people I have met from that region (including India, Nepal, Pakistan, etc.)—and I have more associations with people from these diverse cultures than most people I know. But I just haven’t had the desire to visit the area.
Yet, when this commercial played, I was mesmerized. It literally changed my desires. The music, the art, the colors, the activities portrayed—everything about the commercial spoke to me. The thing could have only been 30 seconds long, yet the impact it made on me—in a busy convoluted setting, mind you—was powerful. I finished watching the commercial thinking: Man, That would be kinda cool to go to India sometime. Upon realizing where my thoughts had gone (namely, “I wonder what kind of business success would justify a trip out that way”) I paused to think about why it was that I suddenly felt differently than I did a moment ago. It was the commercial. In 30 seconds, I went from not caring if I ever see that region of the world to really wanting to go there. AMAZING is the power of effective advertising!
Post Script: Upon recognizing this 30 second advertisement as the source of my motivation for trying to formulate a plan to find my way to India, I actually dropped the line of thinking to focus on more important objectives. But it’s worthwhile to note how effective good advertising can be at helping actually mold desires among its targets.
Application: How much of our hope in a new presidential administration (or other change we pursue as a nation or individual) is based on effectively designed and placed public messages? (Note: this is not a criticism—merely an observation of how we come to see what we see and want what we want.) I wonder how much of what my children come to want, do, and achieve in life is based on messages I don’t even realize they’re receiving. How subtle are the moments that take us to where we ultimately go in life. I wonder how much of where I am (what I have, do, and think) right now was by the calculated design of some or another marketer in one form or another.
Food for thought. . .
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