This is a little late, but I need to get this thought out there before I lose it.
So the Superbowl . . . did you watch it? I bet you had a great time. I heard the Broncos lost.
Confession: I have never watched the Superbowl, ever. Well, I did see about 1.5 minutes of the game when serving as a missionary in Southern California but that hardly counts.
One thing that caught my attention on social media during Superbowl Sunday that was the unique posts tied to emotion and the commercials that played. I have seen most of the commercials by keeping my eye out, but none of them affected me like what I was seeing online.
I will be the first to admit that I have a general aversion to advertising in general. I am not sure why. Perhaps it is the idea of pushing your product on to someone and trying to convince them on many levels why they NEED it, when in my mind human beings actually need very little. Maybe it has something to do with my moral compass. For example, seeing billboards from beer companies that say "drive responsibly" strikes me as a rude joke.
Ironically, I am a member of a marketing department. I make videos that are supposed to bring people into the company I work for. Hypocrite?
Well, obviously to go forward on a daily basis and feel good about myself I have had to frame what I am doing in a way that I am happy (or at least satisfied) with what I am doing. In my mind, the core values of the company I work with are actually aligned with my personal ones. I admire my coworkers, and I have deep respect for the founder and CEO. What we offer as an organization, I believe, genuinely helps people. So making videos in order to help others really isn't bad, it is actually quite enjoyable.
Is there a difference between me and Bud's marketers when we aim to use emotion to connect with potential costumers? I would say "yes" of course, because I feel I am basing that decision on the high moral grounds of what my organization stands for. Bud employees may argue that their products bring joy or fun to their consumers, but I just can't see that argument panning out when Bud products also contribute to psychological damage, physical agony, death, and societal erosion.
Advertising in the digital age has become much more complicated both in technology and ethics. Superbowl Beer ads are ancient compared to the micro-targeted algorithms which mine your big data profile- knowing when to show you pictures of things you recently deleted on your Amazon wish list - and when to feed you posts from friends that will spark your interest and reward you with a few drops of dopamine.
It sickens me.
What does real emotion even mean when it is controlled and pushed by people who merely want to exploit it to increase sales? How relative are our moral compasses? Just because I feel that my work is ethical, is it?
I am a graduate student in Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University. I enjoy writing, hiking, and spending time with my family.