Pressure to Look Good and Cool Affects Children Too

We might think that the pressure to be cool and to look good does not affect children. Recent research from the University of Sussex psychologists suggests that the pressure to be cool and look good does affect children and is actually bad for them.The world we live in is a world of having more, looking good by wearing the right clothes and having the right gadgets. Social media is chug full with pictures of people having fun and looking flawless. The Internet and media are full of new products launched and tagged as the must have new gadget. Adults are affected by this “more, more, more” culture and it is definitely trickling down to our youth and children.According to the researchers, while talking to young people aged 8 – 14 they found out that this age group thought that the way to be liked included having cool stuff and looking good. The alarming thing is that children who grow up with this mentality will always feel that they are judged by what they have and not by who they are. If not managed properly this leads to a sense of insecurity. This can ultimately lead to an attitude of always looking for more things and seeking approval from all the wrong places and people.This consumer culture is wide spread and is focused on selling goods to the consumer and encouraging the consumers to spend money.From very young, children are targeted by advertising and media with messages about who is ‘cool’ and what is beautiful. According to these messages, having the ‘right’ things and looking the ‘right’ way are linked with a positive identity, relationships, and high social status. In reality when children focus on this, it leads to materialism.How can Parents help?Since it is widespread, parents need to be aware and help their children from being swept away by the consumer culture and materialism. One of the most effective ways is by avoiding the trap of rewarding children with material goods.Raising Materialistic ChildrenResearch shows that there are some parenting strategies that can lead to a child being materialistic:1) rewarding a child’s accomplishment by giving her a gift (excessively)2) showing affection by giving material items (replacing other forms of affection such as spending time)3) punishing a child by taking away one of her possessions, like a favourite toy (this in itself is not discipline)Children who receive excessive material rewards from their parents will likely continue rewarding themselves with material goods when they become adults. Where parents replace spending time with providing material goods, the children grow up placing more value on material goods than is healthy.There is nothing wrong with giving your children material goods, but the key is that they realise that they are just things. More important is that children are taught to have an attitude of gratitude. They should also be grateful for the things they do have. Materialistic people many times are not truly grateful for the things in their lives, they simply want more and are busy focused on how they measure up.The pressure from the world and media to have more and to keep amassing is not going anywhere in a hurry. The job of raising children who are not swept away by the consumer culture lies with the parents (and the adults in their lives). If we teach them that there are more important things in life than material goods, they will grow up with this mindset.However it starts with us at home – do not celebrate people for what they have over what good they do.

The Elements of a Good Advertisement

Advertisements are all around us. Whether we’re watching television, driving down the freeway, flipping through a magazine, or listening to the radio, we are bombarded on every side by messages trying to get us to buy a product or service. And although there have been countless debates over whether or not advertising is effective and whether it really does influence people to purchase products, the fact is many companies will spend billions of dollars on a single advertisement in the hopes that it will increase their profits.

Good advertisements have the power to make people stop and take notice. You have to have been living under a rock not to notice the success of Geico’s caveman series or the iPod’s silhouette series of commercials and advertisements. And as a result of those advertisements, sales went up significantly for those two companies.

Advertising creates awareness of the product and can convey messages, attitudes, and emotions to entice and intrigue audiences. At least those are the desired effects of an advertisement. Needless to say, some advertisements fail miserably in their purpose.

So, what makes the difference between a successful advertisement and an unsuccessful one? It’s all in the design. Typically, larger organizations produce more effective advertisements, while newer and smaller companies are the ones that produce the duds. This is largely because bigger organizations have the money to hire professionals while smaller companies do not.

The advantage of hiring an in-house advertising developer or hiring an advertising agency is that you get the skills of people who have been trained in creating effective advertisements. Many have spent years and years going to school, studying past effective advertisements, looking at elements of design, and learning how to create their own effective advertising campaigns.

Learning how to create effective advertisements does not happen overnight, but there are a few simple rules that many workers for professional advertising agencies follow to create effective advertisements that will appeal to audiences and hopefully increase the company’s revenue. The following paragraphs list a few advertising principles that companies and advertisers follow when creating their own advertising campaigns.

Perhaps the most important quality of an advertisement is its uniqueness. In a world where people often see hundreds of advertisements a day, an advertisement must be unique and different in order to capture audiences’ attention. Going back to the iPod example, the single block of color with an image of a black silhouette was extremely effective at the time because it was unlike anything else around it. The simplicity of the advertisement stood out against posters and billboards that had busier images and much more text. Also, the use of bright, bold colors made people stop and look at the image. Even though the advertisement had little text on it, people got the message that this product was new, fun, and bold.

Of course, there are a variety of ways to make your advertisement stand out. Look around your area and write down descriptions of advertisements you see. What are the trends? Are they text heavy? Do they use similar colors? What kinds of images are on the advertisements? Once you start noticing trends, try to think of ways your advertisement can go against those trends and be something different–something that will make people stop and look.

One word of caution: Once you’ve made people stop and look at your advertisement, they need to be able to understand what you’re selling. You may have the most eye-catching image on your advertisement, but if it is completely unrelated to your product or service, then viewers won’t understand what you want them to buy. So, be sure that when you are selecting your images and text for your advertisement, people will understand what you’re trying to sell.

A well-designed advertisement will also communicate well to audiences. In order to figure out how to make your advertisement effective, you need to identify your audience. Who are you trying to target? Teenagers? The Elderly? Business people? Parents? There are a variety of different audiences, and the more specifically you can identify the audience for your product, the better chance you have of designing an ad that will effectively influence your audience.

For instance, if your audience consists of young teenage girls, you might choose to use bright and bold colors, but for business people you may want to create an advertisement that uses more professional blues and blacks (but don’t be afraid to be a little bolder if you’re trying to stand out).

The key is to think of the general traits of your specific audience and try to reflect those traits in your advertisement. What do they value? What do they fear? What motivates them? Once you’ve answered those questions, it should be easier to come up with a few solid ideas for an advertising campaign.

Once you’ve developed some ideas for an eye-catching advertisement and identified how you want to communicate with your specific audience, some good, solid design principles need to come into play. The advertisement needs to be legible. Viewers shouldn’t have to work to get what you’re trying to say. The advertisement needs balance. One side shouldn’t feel heavier than the other. The advertisement should also make good use of contrast, repetition, color, and pattern. When these design elements are implemented well into an advertisement, the result is a fabulous ad that will appeal aesthetically to viewers.

The above is just a brief overview of what advertisers have to think about when designing an ad. You can see why many people find it helpful to hire an advertising agency to help them develop ideas and create effective advertisements. And whether you’re looking for a Seattle or a Miami advertising agency, you shouldn’t have a problem finding an organization in your area to help you create the perfect advertisement campaign for your company.

So, if you’re thinking of creating a new ad or ad campaign for your company, by following the above guidelines and suggestions, you can create the most effect advertisements as possible, convey the message you want to convey, and be one your way to increasing revenue.