Manipulation in ads.
Some commercials, like the one for pickup trucks shown at the top of this page, push the limits of moral and social acceptability in order to win the attention of target audiences. In this case, the marketer is trying to attract “western” males, so it shows a handgun.
Sure, ads look glamorous and fun. But hidden below the surface is something much more sinister.
CBC Radio’s Ad Guy, Bruce Chambers, has been exposing the manipulation behind the ads since 2003. Each week, Bruce deconstructs current advertising campaigns, explains how they modify our behaviour, and uncovers the hypocrisy and half-truths.
By seeing ads for what they really are, you can become less susceptible, make better choices, save money, gain self-esteem and live more sustainably.
In addition to listening to The Ad Guy on radio, use the resources on this site as thought starters and discussion topics with friends, family or students:
- Watch video of the ads discussed on radio (click Video).
- Subscribe to the free weekly podcast (click Deconstructing Advertising Podcast).
- Listen to past episodes (click Archive).
- Learn how to “ad-proof” yourself (click 101 Ad-Proofing Tips).
Resource for Teachers.
McGraw-Hill's non-fiction anthology iLit: Truth Perceived includes an article by Bruce Chambers. "Behind the Mask" explains how marketers manipulate teens' behaviour and self-esteem.
iLit lets you create your own print or digital collection with content and cover customized for your school or classroom. Choose from over 300 articles including "Behind the Mask”, or have iLit build a collection for you based on your criteria.
To order "Behind the Mask” including learning activities, or to customize your own collection, visit iLit.ca