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How Marketing Campaigns Can Impact Our Sense of Self

Patrycja M. Pietras

Have you ever felt jealous when watching a marketing campaign with 'perfect' people? Did you want to change the way you look?

If yes, you were probably a victim of media, like most of us. According to Marketing Experts, we are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads in a day. As our attention span is getting shorter and shorter each year, we may consume more visual information than we even realise and as harmless as it seems, what we consume, is essential. There is no doubt that one of the marketing techniques is to use subliminal messages to boost sales, so what happens to the subconscious messages we receive overtime? Indeed, part of it stays with us and can disrupt how we see ourselves.

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The main goal of marketing is to evoke feelings and emotions that will lead the recipients to buy a particular product or lifestyle. However, the current way of doing it causes more harm to society than we can imagine. Surprisingly, it's not only the fashion industry that creates unrealistic beauty standards for women and men but everyday campaigns, posters, and billboards we can see on the street or on TV.

If we look close enough, we can start seeing a specific pattern and type of look on people in advertisements. The lack of representation of different people in terms of beauty or body type and lifestyles also creates a wall between the brand and its audience. Evoke the feeling of lack that can be fulfilled only by buying the product. The toxic way of advertising and sexualising, usually women, is dangerous enough to make us blind and accept it as our normality. But can we say that there is a positive change on the horizon, and soon we'll see more representation on the screens and in print?

Among traditional modelling and talent agencies, we can find one like Zebedee which puts diversity and representation as to the main goal and focus of their attention. They are the proof that times are finally changing. Apart from jobs, they can give models across various industries, and they provide information, support, and webinars that can put a light on disability, sexuality, and inclusion. Their partners and clients say everything from high street fashion to luxurious brands like Hugo Boss, Burberry and Gucci.

We can see more positive changes, they might be slow, but they are happening.

Another example might be Zalando and their campaigns with models representing different ages, gender and looks. They are supporting the LGBTQIA+ community and actively showing it through their marketing.

As Gen Z comes across new ideas for advertisement and enters the work fields, we might expect the profound changes we all need. A fresh look and willingness to fight for tolerance and diversity will be the main focus for brands.

We all need to understand that as an audience, we have a voice, and we can choose whether to buy into the fantasy brands are trying to sell and agree with everything we see or stand out from the crowd and represent new values and ideas. There might be a lot of slow changes in marketing and how brands build bridges with different audiences, so let's hope that soon enough, we will see new, diverse work fields and representation in their campaigns.

Because isn't it what should be essential for them too? Creating a more extensive consumer base can be done successfully by showing real people who can become clients.


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