Researchers have argued for decades how TV influences kids – their health, their habits, weight, grades…But a few of us know that television can have quite negative effects on adults, as well. Advertisements are just one part of the equation; marketers have found even more complex and innovative ways to make us buy their product. Before sitting in front of the screen tonight, you should know how TV affects your spending habits.
Living beyond your real needs
When watching your favourite TV show, you see families living in large houses, having two or three cars, beautiful furniture, and the latest kitchen appliances. Their way of life suddenly becomes your ideal – your 3-member family now needs a house with five bedrooms, a master suite and at least four bathrooms, right? In reality, do you really need a loan for new countertops and a sports car? Or the hundreds of shoes in Carry Bradshaw’s closet? Well, her famous “woman’s right to shoes” can eat up all your savings.
Watching live events
You have probably watched the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the Oscars, or the FIFA World Cup. While live events usually are not being interrupted by advertisements, marketers still have a way of reaching you. You probably remember Ellen DeGeneres taking the celebrity selfie with a Samsung device at the 86th Academy Awards. It became viral and everyone knew exactly the model of the phone. And here comes the role of social media – it is a remarkably powerful platform for advertising, even without advertisers’ direct involvement. And when you watch shows online, your browser history will give companies a hint to what they can sell you.
Reality TV has become very popular type of entertainment, whether it is “Keeping with the Kardashians”, “American Idol”, “The Bachelorette” or “American Restoration”. Half of these shows are displaying the life of super-rich people, while others make you believe that you can succeed in areas you have never even heard before. For example, some will teach you how to sell a house for profit; others will convince you how easy it is to start your own business or to become a rock star. Of course, then you’ll want to buy things you can’t really afford.
Most of us know very well that TV shows have contracts with companies, requiring them to promote this product or that service. Still, many of us get fooled – somehow on a subconscious level you want to have a Coke just like the judges on American Idol, walk in a pair of Manolo Blahnik just like Carry Bradshaw, and just half of fictional characters on TV, to get the latest edition of Microsoft’s Windows.
Marketing companies and execs know that TV has this great quality – to make us want to look and live like celebrities and fictional characters. Although we, or most of us, realize this little truth, we just tend to give in. After all the temptation is so great and we always have some extra cash, saved for emergencies. Whether you will spend it on a pretty $500 Dior dress, or prefer a modest piece for $30, the decision is all yours. There are several ways to avoid bankruptcy, but here’s our advice – avoid impulse shopping. And most of all, beware of what you are watching.