Raise your hand if you've never stood around the water cooler discussing Super Bowl ads with your colleagues. The truth is that the advertising bar has been raised to the level of entertainment to such a degree that commercials themselves are becoming superstars.
It's no secret that advertising targets your innermost desires and insecurities, but it might surprise you to know that the positive benefits of advertising are plentiful, which is why you might not want to hit the fridge so fast next time you're watching TV and there's a break in the broadcast.
Keeps Prices Stable
Open newspaper inserts if you need a ham for an upcoming holiday, and you'll see plenty of grocers beckoning your attention. Browse the Internet to find comparative costs for the exact brand of wine glasses you seek and choose the one that best fits your budget. Drive to a corner with three gas stations.
Stores and brands continually compete for your dollars. One of the main benefits of advertising is that it uses this competition to keep your budget in line.
Helps People Find Jobs
Sure, networking is great, and nothing can substitute for referrals, but imagine a world that's devoid of newspapers, Monster.com, CareerBuilder and employment sites on cable TV. In this shrinking world, it's possible to land a job in France via your laptop in Charlotte, North Carolina, making this one of the most positive benefits of consumer advertising.
Keeps the Economy Dynamic
When an advertising campaign drives consumers to stores, colleges, doctors, lawyers and more, the economy receives a boost. Healthy monetary gains, measured at year's end when holiday sales are evaluated by government and financial watchdogs, assure consumers that discretionary spending is high, a terrific confidence booster that originated with newspaper, Internet and broadcast advertising.
Communicates Important Issues
Elections fraught with controversy tend to pump up candidate advertising, which means consumers can grab capsules of platforms and issues in quick and understandable bites. Savvy candidates coordinate campaigns so postcard messages mimic print ads, TV and radio spots, so even if you're rushed for time, you can ascertain enough to make a voting decision.
Warns Consumers of Danger
Recalls have become a way of life — you learn about malfunctioning cars, risky baby cribs and dangerous pharmaceuticals when warnings ads, required by law, are published to advise consumers about the risks they face if they continue to use them. Advertising is also a major player in the search for missing and exploited kids. Once upon a time, milk cartons did nothing but store beverages; these days, they save lives.
Brings Consumers Together
Bar hookups, getting fixed up by friends and other matchmaking efforts are regularly being replaced by Match.com, eHarmony and a plethora of other dating sites. People meet via Craigslist and newspaper ads every day. Some services specialize in targeting specific demographics to bring like-minded people together – even if one lives in Seattle and the other in Atlanta.
Helps Consumers Affirm their Values
Good, bad or ugly, consumers can count on advertising to reflect their beliefs and make them feel powerful, in control and righteous. Ads affirm everything from picking a church to attend to making the right eating choices. Values drive everything from fashion to image, so it's easy to see how powerful advertising can be in this day and age where appearances can be everything.