It’s no secret that the main persuasive tool of advertising is creating the idea that certain products will bring us happiness. Whether it is through making our homes feel like a home, or make-up to make us feel special, we are being sold the promise to happiness in little coloured boxes.
This is obviously nothing new. When watching adverts on TV, I no longer listen to what they’re trying to sell. Often I’m trying to think up a joke about it before my boyfriend can, so I can reclaim the crown of being the funny one in the relationship. Advertising is so apart of daily life that I don’t think about it consciously anymore.
What surprised me last year, when I first got into the blogging world, was how I could be swindled by advertising once again. It was like being ten again when I tried to aggressively persuade my Dad to buy us a Citreon Picasso because I really liked the advert. Suddenly I was losing sense of what looked good on the screen and what I actually needed.
I have never been one to wear a lot of make-up, or even to be vaguely interested in it. Until last summer, I still wore the foundation that my mum let me borrow at 15 and I hadn’t altered that look since.
Then I started watching YouTube and reading beauty blogs.
Suddenly money seemed to leave my account without a moments thought. These lovely people on the Internet, people that were sharing their lives, said I needed to have a particular product. It looked like it made them happy, and they were beautiful. Maybe it would make me happy and beautiful too?
The silly thing is, I was perfectly happy before I starting watching and reading these blogs. Yet, by engrossing myself in the lives of other people, I was now yearning after a lifestyle that was entirely unsustainable for a student.
It only really struck me a little while later that these people, as lovely as they were, were also doing a job. It was a form of advertising that had snuck under my radar. Thankfully the BBC had detected this too and guidelines around the issue may be changing very soon.
I knew in principle they were trying to help sell something, but in the beginning I didn’t think about its effect on me as a viewer.
With every new glitzy video and blog post, I felt like there was something new missing in my life that I had to go out and buy.
Since my original emergence onto the YouTube and blogging scene, I no longer watch hauls or read ‘Must buy’ blog posts, because let’s face it, I don’t have any disposable income.
I think for those that do, these outlets can be great places to shop for things that will genuinely feel like a treat, and make you happy.
The danger is not feeling like you can be happy until you have these things.
Read product reviews, watch what someone has recently bought, but don’t let that make you feel like you need to immediately pop down to the shops. Happiness doesn’t last long when you base it on commodities; at least not for me.
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