“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Romans 12:2 (The Message)
“Oh, I need that!”
Advertising is ubiquitous! Indeed, it’s everywhere! The average American sees 3000-5000 ads per day. Think about it! That doesn’t mean just TV commercials… it counts every form, including signs as you are driving down the street, pop-up ads on the computer, brand names on clothing, notices on buses, upcoming event reminders in bathroom stalls, etc. Every day we’re bombarded with messages that intend to direct our buying, thinking, and actions.
And so are our children and teens.
Our culture today is overrun with ever more invasive means of getting messages to us. Technology is being utilized in new ways that impact our daily lives and attract our eyeballs to messages. Perhaps you have been a “victim” of clickbait.
“Clickbait consists of attention-grabbing headlines used for Web content to lure readers into clicking on normally uninteresting content. Many websites use clickbait as a mechanism to gain popularity via higher click-through rates. Clickbait is characterized by a highly enticing headline with a hyperlink that, when clicked, reveals a website that has content that is not nearly as interesting as the headline. Clickbait is therefore considered to be a strategy to increase the number of views to a particular Web page.” (Techopedia.com)
Have you read clickbait headlines such as,
“Lose 20 pounds in 20 days! New miracle pill!”
“Which Hollywood couple is giving away millions?”
“Seniors: stop paying property tax! Learn this easy strategy now!”
Buzzfeed alone regularly attracts more than 10 million unique users in a single day.
Our children need to be introduced to this marketing strategy so they are aware of the intentionality and purpose of these alluring headlines.
And then there’s location-based marketing. Have you received a text message from a store just as you were driving near it?
“Location-based marketing (LBM) typically takes advantage of the geolocation of a customer (usually via a GPS-enabled device) and uses these techniques… to send personalized and relevant messages at the right place, at the right time to the right person.” (www.martechadvisor.com/articles/geolocation/how-location-based-marketing-will-disrupt-marketing-in-2019)
Does this CEO’s statement bother you? “Augmenting location with data about user behavior patterns enables a brand to create more timely, customized user engagement.” (Laetitia Gazel Anthoine, CEO, Connecthings)
More technology, more knowledge about each person’s consumer habits and personal preferences, more desire to sway your thinking, buying, and actions, and lo and behold! GPS-based marketing!
We all need to raise our awareness of “Peeping Tom” marketers and interfering corporations. If you recently looked at e-bikes on Amazon for a possible purchase, and then you were suddenly accosted by pop-up ads for e-bikes on Facebook, websites, and online games… it wasn’t a coincidence!
Advertising has come a long way, baby! No doubt there are more intrusive techniques being created right now, with the ultimate goal of saturating your life with appealing hard-to-ignore ads.
God has told us to be ever vigilant. We need to be dealing with life with “eyes wide open”.
So how can we help teens become media-savvy about the culture that surrounds them?
Discussion is crucial. Talk with them about why advertising is part of our daily lives. Ask, “Where do you see ads?”
Discuss both the benefits and the downside of advertising. Ask, “Why do you think advertising works?”
Ask, “Is the accumulation of possessions enough as the purpose of a life?”
The world says you are what you own. Our treasures (material possessions) can own us. Matthew 6:21 states: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NIV)
Philippians 3:14 is a bold statement: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
Stay on top of this situation and help young people keep their eyes on the prize!