While the nation’s top pro football teams square off Sunday, the best minds in advertising will also pitch products from potato chips to computer chips. Joel Geske, a professor of advertising at Iowa State University, says our free market economy is based on our gleaning information on products and services through ads — on T-V and radio, billboards and in print.If you didn’t have any information about various products, Geske says you wouldn’t prefer one brand over another and would just buy the generic yellow box with black type on it. Reports say a 30-second ad in Sunday’s Superbowl will cost a record two-point-four million dollars. Geske says the cost may be ridiculous, but a lot of effort goes into those commercials. Some of the best creative work and almost mini-movies are found in the Superbowl ads and Geske says they’re very entertaining and make people want to watch. It’s ironic, as some V-C-Rs have a feature that allows you to skip commercials, yet some people watch the Superbowl just to see the ads, not caring so much about the game. Geske says there’s a lot of psychology involved as advertising execs try to figure out ways to make us watch the ads. Geske says commercials are more effective when they can appeal to us on an emotional level. Humor works well too, he says, as “people like to laugh, feel good and get a little reward for watching. If the product message is embedded in this, the ad will work.” Although that can backfire, he says, as sometimes, the message gets lost and only the entertainment is remembered.
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