Dakarai Turner

“Advertising Doesn’t Work On Me” – The Lie Detector Determined That Was a Lie

May 31, 2016

“Advertising doesn’t work”

“I’m not going to buy that just because of a commercial”

Words we’ve all said or heard, usually in the spur of the moment, after seeing a new Coca-Cola ad, and wondering why they even bother. They are at the top, everyone knows who they are, why do you need to still advertise?

I’m just going to leave that unanswered for now. After a recent conversation with a friend of mine, I quickly learned that he is quite the “advertising aficionado”, when he told me that he blocks ads online with AdBlock (so do I, that’s another story…or better yet a previous article), watches TV online, and intentionally ignores billboards (quite the rebel). This is one of those situations where you just have to stay clear of the argument, because they are anchored in their thoughts. I replied with a “that’s nice”, and proceeded to write this article.

So what is the point of advertising? Does McDonald’s want you to run out immediately after seeing their new commercial and purchase a burger? Sure, that would be the best case scenario, but it’s not the intent. Advertising is all about building awareness. When you’re on the corner of Queen and Spadina and starving, the McDonald’s might start to look pretty attractive to you, and their latest burger from the commercial that you can’t believe you remembered starts to look like an option. Ever heard of effective frequency? It’s an advertisers best friend. The more you hear a message, the quicker you remember it, and that’s simply a fact.

The way we perceive brands is all due to effective advertising. Should I have asked my friend what made him want to purchase his flashy gold watch, or wear the expensive basketball shoes he had on? Probably, but I’m not in the business of embarrassing people. We rate brands, we perceive some as better than others, we stick to the ones we trust. These perceptions are instilled in us, because of the brands advertising and marketing efforts, whether direct or not. I mean, what Pattison-imagemade you choose the iPhone in your hand, if we’re being completely honest with each other here?

One thing to always remember when talking about the effectiveness of advertising is whether or not you’re the target audience. If I’m seeing a Revlon ad on the bus, chances are it will mean nothing to me. That’s because a 21-year-old man is not their intended target audience. Now if I’m seeing an ad for *insert something manly*, it may resonate with me a little better. One thing I will personally admit is I am highly susceptible to ads.

Advertising is meant to create awareness for a brand, product, or service. The intent can be to remind, inspire action, or simply inform. Whatever the purpose, if done right, it’s working on somebody.

Oh yeah, and to get back to Coca-Cola. Sometimes when you’re at the top you just need to remind people why you’re there, and show face.


Dakarai Turner is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing. Armed with strategic thinking, people skills, and a cheeky smile, he is ready to get his career started in client relations for an advertising agency in Toronto. In his free time he will most likely be eating, browsing AdWeek, or studying Donald Draper. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and connect on LinkedIn to learn more about him.

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  • Reply Anonymous June 5, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I enjoyed reading your article on whether or not people are influenced by advertising. I don’t believe anyone is immune to advertising. In fact, I believe people want to see themselves reflected in advertisements – in a positive way – not in a stereotypical way. (Who’s not tired of the old notion of men being the only beer consumers or car buyers, or women are the only ones using cleaning products or the ones capable of caring for their sick children – Dr. Mom? Please! Today’s fathers are more involved in caring for their children than ever before.). I understand there are target audiences but advertisers need to keep in mind the diversity of the consumer population rather than stick to the outdated ideas of who buys what. I recently saw a video of a little girl breaking down when she received a doll with a prosthetic leg – just like her. It got me thinking of how advertisers need to reflect that in product promotion – people want to see themselves in advertising. I think that’s why Coke ads are very effective – they are inclusive rather than exclusive (I must admit Coke is obviously targeting a young market, but their ads are universally appealing).

    I enjoy your insights into the interesting world of advertising.

    • Reply dakturner June 6, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Thank you very much for taking the time to not only read our article, but leaving a comment as well. I couldn’t agree more, I think the most effective ads are the ones where the brand knows their target extremely well, and are able to reflect their audience in the ads. Whether that’s through a physical or emotional sense. Ads should move along with the times, and be a reflection of the era. Seeing traditional roles being changed in ads is simply a result of paying attention, and I do agree we still have ways to go!


    Let us know what you think!