A TV Commercial’s Affect On A Young Boy
As a young boy, I watched hours of television, delighting in power rangers, teenage mutant ninja turtles, and the world of heroism. I'd watch in fascination, imagining myself as the warrior, fighting evil, winning the girl, and saving the day.
In between each of these fantasy-adventures came the marvel of the “then-modern” advertising: the TV Commercial.
As you can imagine, commercials had just as a profound and deep impact on me as the TV shows. I often imagined what my life would be like if I just had 'X', or could be 'X'.
I remember a specific commercial advertising a gum that, when chewed, made athletes faster, stronger - more accepted.
The commercial stuck. I convinced my mother to purchase me a pack of 'Juicy Fruit', with the hope that I'd run as fast as those athletes; as the other kids at recess. I remember the first time I placed that stick of 'hope' into my mouth: I ran like I had never run before.
Or rather, I ran like I had never believed myself capable of running before.
There is a backstory here, one that I'm sure the advertisers were, and are, well aware of: the outcast kid. The rejected one. The last picked in gym class. Desperate for attention and acceptance, I was open to anything that would lead others to accept 'me'.
Even at a young age, I believed the lie that something was wrong with me, and that some action, some other person's lifestyle, some article of clothing, a piece of gum - almost anything - would finally gain me the acceptance and love from others that I craved.
And thus, the Juicy Fruit ethic.
Responsibilities of Marketing
As advertisers, marketers, and business owners, our messaging has a direct impact and result on those listening, watching and engaging. Social Media presents a tremendous opportunity to connect with others.
Each interaction, whether Facebook picture quote, Instagram image, Youtube video, or Tweet, leaves an impression on the user; an impression with a message and a message with a consequence, if followed and believed.
Social Media also presents us with tremendous responsibility. And while we cannot directly control what users do with our messaging, we are responsible for our motivations behind the messages we present.
Manipulation or Empowerment?
We can choose the ethic that drives our marketing - whether manipulating the broken and hurting for a profit, or empowering the troubled and those with deep longing, to seek healing and find well-being.
May we seek to be the kind of business owners, advertisers, marketers, and people who seek to grow, encourage, and embolden others, while also sharing our messages and growing our businesses.