The Effect of the Advertisement on Individual Viewers
I watched the coca cola commercial on TV titled "Apply Taste Sensation." In the advertisement, a sweater goes to a convenience store and orders Coca Cola. The lady on the counter guides him without watching, but later uses the CCTV cameras to watch the man closely while drawing some joy. When the man arrives to pay for the beer, the lady proposes another drink on the condition that the man takes it in his presence. The commercial has been going on for several weeks in various channels, such as radio, magazines, newspapers, and internet. It has been a well-known clip among several viewers, and it is repeated many times a day on TV.
The micro-level effect of the advert is that of convincing the individual viewer on the need to have the drink. For this particular advert, the aim is the appeal to the emotions of the viewer. According to Kotler and Armstrong (2010), advertising appeals to the psychology of the audience through four key steps that include motivation, perception, learning, and memory. The visual or audio design of the advert attracts the attention of the audience who develops a particular perception. From the advert, it is possible to learn the benefits or advantage of the product and service and this is remembered when doing a purchase. Ultimately, the objective of the marketers is to increased sales by ensuring as many buyers as possible choose their products because of the positive memory they have due to the advert they saw or heard.
At the macro-effect, the advert targets the masses. The aim is to drive mass consumption of a product by enticing the psychology of the targeted population. Bartholomew (2013) argues that most adverts rely on the concept of "universality of human response" to play with the thoughts of the masses. Individuals like to conform to the behaviors of a society. Consequently, advertisements will endeavor to make a product or service look fashionable such that as many people as possible will purchase it. The same concept is described in the "bandwagon effect" of the media (Taylor, 2012). Nobody wants to be left out by the other people in the society. When a product is described as popular or fashionable, individuals will also tend to purchase it to become equal to the majority of the population. Coca cola has perfected the use of mass psychology to drive its sales across the world. It has often used the same adverts in different parts of the world to create the perception of a global product. Furthermore, when an advert is repeated several times in several mediums, it creates the impression that it is everywhere. Without a doubt, integrated marketing campaign is effective in reaching individuals using a variety of platforms and at the same time appealing to the mass audience.
The Market Response Theory
The advertisement of Coca Cola is one of the many from the company to entice the consumers. Taylor (2012) asserts that the success of Coca Cola in the soft drinks market is partly due to the aggressive advertising campaign conducted by the company. Thus, using the market response theory, it is possible to understand the effectiveness of the advertising campaign. According to Virvilaitė and Matulevičienė (2013), the market response theory postulates that advertising is positively correlated with brand choice, buyer behaviors, and market share of a product. People love to drink Coke partly because of the motivation they receive from the many adverts by the company. They use the strategy of an integrated marketing campaign that spreads a single advertising message across different media. Consequently, millions of people are reached by the adverts, and the product develops a sense of universality.
The advertisement also relies on the Affective response theory to persuade the audience. It is obvious that Coke is not a healthy product compared to other beverages such as fresh juice and milk. It is also not the best product to relieve thirst because medics advise people to drink pure water when thirsty. Hence, the advertiser relies on the feelings, emotions, and pleasure derived from the drink. The advert has little to do with cognitive appeal and more with affections as described by the Affective response theory (Nichifor, 2014). The relation between the man and the lady in the advert elicits emotions that help motivate the audience to remember and purchase the product. With emotions, it is often easy to convince the audience using advertisements as opposed to the use of logical and rational thoughts. Nichifor (2014) believes that emotive messages are easy to process and have a lasting effect on the memories of the audience.
Therefore, Coke is often perceived as a party or social drink. It is the drink people take when going out with friends or when having a good time with the family. The advert "Taste the feeling" also suggests an emotional attachment created by the individuals drinking the product. For individuals, there is a subtle sexual appeal emanating from the advert because the lady selling the product is sexually attracted to the man drinking Coke. In as such, the advert is likely to appeal to the young people, both men and women. The message of the advert is that drinking Coca Cola does not only quench thirst but also makes one attractive to the opposite sex. The sexual appeal is often effective in selling a product because it works with the emotions of the public. The drink is not only a social drink but also one that gives an advantage in attracting the opposite sex.
The Use of Sexual Content in Advertising
As described above, the Coca Cola "Taste the feeling" advert has some subtle sexual message. The girl on the counter displays some sexually appealing gestures when watching the masculine man drink the Coca Cola. Obviously, the clip shows that the girl is sexually attracted to the man, and that is why she offers another drink with the condition he drinks it within the store. The advert suggests that drinking Coca Cola is a way to create sexual appeal. It is erotic to drink a bottle of coke before a lady. Unlike other adverts that use sexual images, the Coca Cola advert was careful to engage a restrained tone that would allow the whole family to watch the advert without being uncomfortable.
Nonetheless, the use of sexual content is one of the favorite methods used by marketers to sell products. Reichert (2002) explains that sex sells a variety of products and services and does not have to be used for sexual products such as condoms and clothing. Sexual appeal in adverts is quite effective in grabbing the attention of the audience. When individuals come across sexual content in any of the media, they stop what they are doing and focus their attention on the advert. This is a sure way to ensure the targeted audience takes their time to view the entire advert. Even though the sexual content can distract the audience from the product being advertised, it has a way of engaging the emotions of the viewer.
Apart from attracting the audience to the advert message, the use of sexual content also associates the product with sexual appeal. Black, Organ, and Morton (2010) explain that human beings are intrinsically designed to seek sexual attractiveness with the opposite sex. It is through that attraction that living things reproduce after a sexual encounter. Therefore, when marketers suggest explicitly or implicitly that a product can help in improving the sexual appeal of people who use it, then it automatically sells. It becomes emotionally appealing, and individuals would readily purchase it as a way to boost their sexuality.
In this case, the Coca Cola advert indirectly suggests that people who drink Coca Cola are masculine and sexy. It is likely to convince young men to take the drink so that they appear masculine and sexy before ladies. On the other hand, it makes ladies believe watching a man drinking Coca Cola is a sensual feeling. They would readily buy the drink for their men and expect to achieve the same erotic satisfaction. Even if that would not happen, the sexual message of the advert would play a critical role in twisting the emotions of the audience and making them identify with the product when purchasing soft drinks.
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Reichert, T. (2002). Sex in advertising research: A review of content, effects, and functions of sexual information in consumer advertising. Annual review of sex research, 13(1), 241-273.
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Taylor, T. D. (2012). The sounds of capitalism: Advertising, music, and the conquest of culture. University of Chicago Press.
Virvilaitė, R., & Matulevičienė, M. (2013). The impact of shocking advertising on consumer buying behavior. Economics and Management, 18(1). DOI:10.5755/j01.em.18.1.3643