By ahoodedfigure 0 Comments
When you see that word "now", stop. Don't click on the ad, don't read the rest of the link text. Stop and remember that the word now is probably the single most abused word in in marketing, and it gets traction exactly because we assume there is some sort of urgency assigned to the word. Most of the time, there fucking isn't.
"Now" is a pet word of marketers precisely because we're trained since we're kids to respond to it. It's a danger word, something that flicks our senses on and makes us ready for fight or flight. But for someone whose job it is to bring in the numbers, "now" gets those numbers. Never mind the exhaustion, never mind the banality of seeing a ton of Facebook updates with the same words over and over. Now gets results, so it continues to be used.
I'm not stopping you from clicking on that link, I'm just asking you to remember, once you do click on that link, to ask yourself what got you there. Did it warrant that immediate click? I'm betting, a good amount of the time, especially for straight up ads, it didn't.
Words like "now" are used to push us around, and they're so commonly used that you are pretty much forced to use that word when you're in marketing, otherwise your boss will tell you it's missing, like it was punctuation or proper spelling. I've become hyper-aware of these things of late, and as such I have an adverse negative reaction to them. That's not necessarily helpful either; I know advertisers are sometimes trying to talk about products that are genuinely worth my time, and are just competing against the noise of a bunch of others doing the same thing, but still... it does feel like an assault.
I'm probably not the only one who, at least on my old, slow computer, used to block ads. Man, was it a relief. And I wound up avoiding on that computer some rather serious threats to security that sneak in through some malicious ads. But even the legitimate ads, all the distractions, are like being hit in the face with the city of Las Vegas every time you try to go to the bathroom. Foreign language websites are a huge relief to me because the words are gibberish to my uneducated mind. I can look at the leering billboard and wonder about what's going through the model's head, rather than figuring out if that's too much yuan to pay for hand lotion.
Not sure if that's ever occurred to you. I know some people who get annoyed when I criticize ads, and I've learned the frustration of trying to sell a game idea to a cynical public, at least indirectly, so I don't think of advertising as a monolithic evil as I used to. But I also know there are some really creepy people who are attracted to that line of work who are convinced of their own superpowers in molding the minds of the hapless public. It doesn't often pay off, but they think it does, even when someone may fully recognize what they're being asked to do, rather than being tricked. There's a bit of magic in all of this, or at least magical thinking, of the 3. ??? 4. Profit! variety. We don't quite know what goes through the heads of millions of people who click on a link, but we have a pretty good idea what goes through our own heads when we do. Just take note of that, before you move on. If we build up some immunity to tricks like "now", maybe they'll have to work harder to relay some actual information, at least until we get lazy again :)