What is it that you value? Is it something that respects and takes care of our environment; that does not cause others to suffer to make it; that does not damage or pollute; is both healthy and pure?
Well be aware that there is much out there to trick and persuade us that there is value where it is not really deserved. Words, labels, claims, pictures and just plain lies aim to highjack and trap us, so here you can find out how they do it and how to avoid being tricked into giving up on your values.
There’s a hell of a lot of advertising aimed at you as a teenager. It can seem like every other company is trying to get your money in return for the latest “must-have item”. They can make things seem like they’ll change your life forever, be the answer to all your prayers, or improve the world if you buy them. With all these attractive propositions being shown off to you every day, it makes sense to know how to sort the gold from the gravel.
There are lots of misleading statistics used on adverts, seemingly shocking “facts” can be used to make a product seem special or catch your attention. There’s big money in advertising and some companies will pull out all the stops to get to the top.
Luckily, teenagers already seems to have a healthy dose of cynicism about advertising – you see it all the time, so you know things often aren’t as great as they can seem to be. However, we all get taken in from time to time, and advertising campaigns can cause us to believe we need things that we don’t, or to think something is especially good or bad when this isn’t necessarily the case. A good example is the idea of needing to kill every germ inside the toilet bowl. “Kills 99.9% of germs!” the adverts proclaim proudly. But why would you need to do that? You poo into it for goodness sake! Yet the idea that you should sterilize the toilet has started to get into our culture, and is beginning to seem normal. Silly isn’t it?
A lot of advertising works by convincing you that you have a need which you hadn’t noticed, and then showing you a “perfect” way of fulfilling it that the advertiser just so happens to have come up with. It’s very useful to be able to spot these tactics so that you don’t end up spending money on stuff that, deep down, you don’t really need or even want. The other thing advertisers can do is make a product seem much better than it is, and gloss over the bits about it that are negative. As you can probably guess, it’s worth being able to spot this as well!
You can find out more about some dodgy marketing tactics in our articles on greenwashing and fearmongering, and there’s some practical advice on how to make informed decisions in ask the right questions and smoke and mirrors.