‘Real’ ads better for buyer

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    In today’s society, advertising is ubiquitous.Every day we see ads in the newspaper, on television, on the radio, on billboards, on the Internet, at the beginning of movies, on T-shirts, on race cars and drivers’ uniforms, tacked to walls or chalked on sidewalks.

    And many of these are endorsed by paid models, actors or celebrities.

    In our day and age, we take it for granted that models and actors, as well as various other celebrities, sell us stuff. But why?

    Why do we really need a child – that we know is acting – taking a bite of cereal and smiling? Why do we need an athlete to endorse an insurance policy? Why do we need a singer to sell us pizza?

    Do these things really help our understanding of a product and why we should buy it, or are they a way of throwing in the red herring, getting us to buy things for reasons that have nothing to do with the products themselves?

    Now I am not saying we should do away with models and actors. After all, they do have their places.

    Models are walking clothes hangers. They are far more convenient and mobile than clothing racks, and they can show us how clothing looks on a living person.

    But they have a fatal flaw – they look nothing like the average person. Few people can attend a runway show, watch the models walk around on stage and think, “So that’s how that outfit would look on me.”

    Actors also have their place in society. It is very interesting to watch an actor on television, in the movies or on stage. But I don’t want an actor selling me a product.

    If an actor gets paid to tell me, “I like this, therefore you should buy it,” I cannot help but question his or her motivations. Does that kid on the Life commercial really like the cereal? Does anyone?

    And even if I am convinced that the product Jessica Simpson used on her face really did clear up her skin, what the hell does her singing in a pizza commercial really have to do with the taste of the pizza?

    Actors and models only belong in certain types of commercials. They should be there to demonstrate how something works – the fit of clothing, how to make use of exercise gear, etc.

    In the same vein, celebrities should stick to their respective fields and not endorse products or events that have nothing to do with themselves (beyond the money they are being paid).

    I know that real-people commercials are hokey and that these same people are generally getting paid, but don’t they make a better statement than professional actors and models? “I did this (or tried this), and it turned out well for me” should be far more convincing than a child taking a bite out of something and smiling.

    Likewise, a business owner, inventor or whatnot should be able to stand up next to his or her product or service and say, “I made this; I use this, and I believe in this.”

    Would you buy a product its owner won’t even use?

    For me, having the official for Hair Club for Men and Women saying, “I’m also a client,” is a very powerful thing.

    Buying products from models and actors distracts us from the real reasons we should be buying the products: quality, price and need. It is a form of coercion.

    Stop paying close attention to commercials featuring recognizable or attractive people.

    Instead, make sure you are buying things you need at prices you can afford, not just because catchy celebrity-endorsed advertising slogans keep repeating in your head.

    Opinion editor Stephanie Weaver is a senior English, philosophy and French major from Westwood, Kan.