by Melinda Gordon, M.Ed, Making S.E.N.S.E. Media

Advertisers go to great lengths to have you relate to the people in their ads. Much of what looks like “reality” on TV is carefully planned, scripted, and edited. There was an old saying, “Don’t believe everything you read.” That has to extend to so many other types of media now.  When Chevy prefaces their car ads with:

“Real People, Not Actors”

and then they show you a “real” focus group, ask yourself these types of questions:

  1. How is it that the sound is perfectly clear and the camera work gets all these “real people” at all the perfect angles and well-lit in this commercial?
  2. If you were in a real focus group wouldn’t you want to know it would turn into a commercial so you could look your best?
  3. If you have ever been in a focus group, didn’t it go longer than 30 seconds?
  4. Are most people stepping back and asking these questions or do they always just accept what they see/hear?

Any marketer paying big bucks for airtime and production value is also unlikely to put in any but  a very select few people who probably auditioned.   It’s good to keep in mind that whatever you are seeing in an ad is less real and more of an act to get you to love their product.

About the Author:

Melinda Gordon is a media producer, project manager and educator, based in Boston. .
See more posts by Melinda Gordon.

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