Just like Chuck Klosterman writes about his passionate dislike for laugh tracks in “Ha ha,” he said. “Ha ha,” I write about my dislike for persuasive advertisements with testimonials that sometimes aren’t true. Klosterman made me think more about how TV audiences can be easily controlled and why. The way he criticizes the forced and fake laughter relates to the way I think about how customers can be ridiculously persuaded into purchasing products because of fake testimonials and the person giving it.
Klosterman had a structure of a scene from the series Friends without dialogue to prove how laugh tracks were overused. If testimonial TV commercials had a structure like his, they’d be like this:
NATALIE: INTRODUCES THE CRAPPY PRODUCT. GIVES A TESTIMONIAL OF HOW THE PRODUCT WORKS FOR HER AND THEN EXPLAINS HOW THE VIEWER WILL GET HER LEGS IF THE PRODUCT IS USED TOO.
Testimonials are a great manipulative advertisement technique. Having a celebrity or someone respectable behind the screen telling people what to do because they do it too can be effective. It’s like receiving the secret advise of smoking hot celebrities on what exercise equipment to use in order to gain their body figure. It’s also like TV commercials selling the magic lotion that will finally make your ass and abs as perfect as your favorite movie star and you MUST believe it because she said so.
Using a figure that people admire or follow will quickly get the client’s interest. A celebrity that has a matching personality with the product will make it. The fact that this one person whom people love uses the product will make followers want the product. One actual example is on the radio station MIX96.1 where Russell Rush repeatedly says that he trusts his body to Ideal Image and therefore so should you.
What about having an expert doctor on skin care talking about the miraculous lotion that will vanish your wrinkles? Once again, an admired figure and most important, someone with lots of credibility will persuade the customer to get the product. In Mexico there’s this ad for some flu pills. Their technique is having a doctor saying that this brand is the one that the doctor himself uses. If he is the expert, and he uses it, you should use it too.
Testimonials sometimes persuade people by touching their feelings, by giving comments of “normal people like you” switched from this brand to this brand because it’s better, “just like it’ll be for you.”
These techniques don’t always work because many times it’s known that people giving the testimonials get paid to say this testimonials that aren’t necessarily true. If people don’t know this already, by knowing so, the chances of getting trapped and pushed to buy the advertised product reduce. Being able to separate the product from the person giving the testimonial in order to analyze the value of the product will help to independently decide whether it’s worth it or not.