Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Se7en & Sins of Advertising

The movie Se7en is one of my all time favorites. Rated 8.7/10 on imdb,which means its one of the movies you cannot afford to miss. Its about two detectives (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) hunting down a serial killer (Kevin Spacey). The psychotic killer believes that he is ridding the world of bad people, by killing those who have committed the Seven Sins (Pride, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, etc).

I enjoyed this movie not only because of the gripping storyline, great acting and the suspense that holds you till the last minute, but also because I find some relationship to modern day advertising and human nature. Let me try to explain.

Back in 2007, my hostel buddy Akhil and I had a discussion on how advertising/marketing tried to actually exploit human nature. You see, many of these products sold in the market cater to one or the other of human wants and desires, not necessary human needs.

You will understand what I mean if you recall the "Neighbors envy, owners pride" ads by Onida some years back. The Devil himself was selling you the TV/VCR, saying that it will bring you pride(satisfaction) and to your neighbor, envy(jealousy). Nothing can be so much more tempting to buy. Don't you think?

Sex sells. From chewing-gum to cement to cars, you will find that a barely clad woman/ man is posing next to or promoting the product. Its flabbergasting sometimes to see what was the connection between pencils and a lady in hot-pants? Lust in all its deceptive charms.

Food, glorious food is being paraded in front of our eyes in all its mouthwatering form. If you actually go to buy them then you will be sorely dissapointed. Because the food they have shown you on TV/Print-ads looks way much better than the real one which is served to you. Also, when you eat it, it does not feel as yummy as it is claimed to be. Every bite stimulating the instinct of Gluttony.

Based on these ads I have seen, and its effects, it seems to me that advertisers will find more innovative ways of appealing to our wants and desires. They have the primitive instincts of lust, gluttony, envy, pride, etc to play around with. And it seems that they never fails, at least most of the time.

So, here I am planning to include a study on how advertising can exploit the Seven Sins. Maybe put it up as a course in Consumer Behavior. And if you happen to do that, don't forget to acknowledge the source of the idea - yours truly ;)

Enjoy watching Se7en.