Work for My Attention

Everywhere I look, there are advertisements being thrown in my face. I see ads when I’m scrolling through Facebook or Intagram. I see them when I read the daily SnapChat magazines. I see them when I flip through actual paper magazines. I glance at marketing ploys when I am driving down the road and huge billboards creep into my peripheral vision. They are on the television, on the sides of buses, in the train station…they are everywhere! Advertisements are inescapable because they constantly bombard us on a daily basis. But, just because these advertisements are visible to me, does that mean that I am truly paying attention to them?

Half of the time when I see an advertisement, I just continue scrolling past it without being phased at all by its content. If someone were to ask me what the ad was marketing, I would not be able to answer without tapping deep into my subconscious, slightly photographic memory. So what does an advertisement have to do to grab my attention and get me to scroll back and really look at it?

First of all, visual intake, I believe, is one of the most important aspects of marketing and advertising. Let’s compare this to picking which slice of pizza to get at the pizza shop. Here I am, at the pizzeria looking at all the pizzas, trying to figure out which one will taste the best. Since I can’t try a sample of each pizza before I pick one, I use my sight to pick the best one. Which one looks like it’ll taste good? Now let’s assume that I’ve never had a slice of pizza before and I have no taste-bud memories to go off. I have to pick the pizza slice that simply looks the most appealing. I also pick the biggest slice because I’m feeling gluttonous.

Original collage

In that same realm, people are drawn in to what is aesthetically pleasing to them and from what they will get the most enjoyment. The use of pictures and visuals in advertisements helps a person to visualize the product in their possession. A description of something without the visual aspect is not always enough to convince someone to engage in this advertisement. Even the use of color schemes and designs can help to attract someone’s attention if there is no picture. For instance, if I saw two advertisements that were essentially marketing the same idea or product, but one was just black text with a white background and the other had interesting font and a simple design with cool color schemes, I would be more drawn to the latter.

Next, the advertisement must be marketing something that I am personally interested in. With the advancement of social media and its growing hand in the marketing industry, it is easier for advertisers to target specific people. For example, I really needed a new pair of shoes for my birthday this summer and I was looking through every shoe website I could find. Then when I logged into Facebook, I noticed that a bunch of the ads on the side of the webpage were for websites like Aldo and Steve Madden, both very popular shoe companies. I actually experimented with this phenomenon while writing this entry. I visited about five different shoe websites and searched “shoe websites” on Google in a matter of about three minutes. I immediately logged into my Facebook account and, there it was, a shoe advertisement. At first I felt a bit weird about this, as if there were little robots spying on me through my computer and tracking my Internet whereabouts. Eventually I came to understand that this marketing strategy is actually pretty brilliant, even though it may freak me out. By keeping tabs on a person’s online activity, marketers can directly cater to his or her specific interests, which will almost guarantee that the advertisement will get attention.

Original screenshot from personal computer

Another way that advertisers get my attention is through representation. If I see an advertisement featuring someone who looks like me or if something that aligns with my identities is being marketed, then I will be more intrigued. For example, advertisements featuring women or people of color will often get my attention because I identify with both of those social groups and what is being marketed may be beneficial or important to me. Marketers can do this on a larger scale by analyzing who uses or engages in what platforms of media in a specific place and at a certain time. These marketers then have a better way of targeting specific groups of people that may benefit from what they are advertising.


Another way in which marketers receive attention is by appealing to the general public. Marketers who place their ads on websites, magazines, or Internet articles that have (or will have) high engagement will most likely gain more attention. One example is Time magazine’s reporting on Facebook’s new addition, the “dislike” button. The dislike button has always been a feature that many people wanted on Facebook but was constantly deemed a “no-go” by its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t think the marketers of this article had to try very hard to make this article get attention. The words “dislike button” were definitely enough to grab mine. I think the marketers that chose to place their ads on this page were very smart to do so because so many people are going to be clicking on that article and will see and maybe lend their attention to a few of the several ads on the webpage.

Original screenshot from personal computer

Ultimately, advertisers and marketers have to fight their hardest to get people’s attention. They must try to appeal to people as individuals and as a unit. They must also stay current in order to know what people will be interested in enough to actually pay attention to it. With our ever-evolving culture, advertisers and marketers really have to stay on top of their game to make people stop what their doing and truly look at what they have to offer.

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Conan, Geico, and Companion

Late-night television has been a classic North American pastime since Johnny Carson popularized the genre in the early 1960s. As a child and teen told to be quietly in my room before 11PM, I never understood why when it came to talk shows, late was seen as better. Now, for the first time in my […]

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Attention Grabbing 101

Marketers and advertisers get my attention in many ways, I’d like to break it down to several parts. The parts are broken down by how the marketer or advertiser promotes, where exactly they promote, promoting in a new and creative way, promoting in a simple and not complicated matter, and last but not least making […]

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If You Hear Me Clap Once

The average amount of advertisements the average person is exposed to every day is around 5,000 (Johnson). That would be 11.52 ads per second, making it harder and harder for companies to obtain and maintain our attention. The ways through which they can achieve this is constantly changing, along with media and social media, and […]

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#digitalmedia #winning

How do you gain the attention of millions of people?  That, is the question that advertisers and marketers face every single day.


Being an advertising major, I am very open to seeing ads.  I enjoy watching new commercials and observing what different brands are doing to be creative and stay in touch with their target demographics.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing a creative and clever campaign.


Take Coke:


While this is a more traditional advertisement, it is so clever because it is make an awkward situation – meeting people on the first day of college a fun one.  Honestly, it upsets me that I wasn’t able to come to college on my first day and share a Coke with another student.  To me, this grabs my attention because it is relatable and created by a brand I know and love.  This advertisement also catches my attention because it is found on YouTube, which makes the advertisement highly sharable. The first time I viewed this ad was actually through someone’s Facebook page who shared it from YouTube.  However, this advertisement stands out to me – not necessarily the average consumer.


In this digital age, it is even more difficult to grab people’s attention.  I get annoyed when I see content that blocks me from what I want to see, especially on the web.  I want to listen to a YouTube video when I want to.  I don’t want to have to sit and watch a minute ad in order to view my content.  I want to be able to go to a homepage and not have an annoying homepage takeover blocking what I need to do or get done.  While banner ads are fine, I am not receptive to them because I mentally block them out.  Why would I pay attention to an ad when I know where they are and how to avoid them?



One of my favorite ways that advertisers have gained my attention is through Instagram.  I love being able to scroll through photos of my friends and celebrities that I follow to see one photo that captures their day or week. Advertisers have gotten creative by placing promoted ads in my feed that I often don’t think about.  I am not the type of person that looks at an Instagram account name until I see the photo.  With that, I also do not notice the promoted notification on the upper right hand side of the post.  By having these Instagram ads in my feed, I am able to like the post and be interactive with a brand or product.  I enjoy being able to see new products, and eventually when the shop button gets implemented it will be a great way to make purchasing products found on Instagram easier.




In this example, you can see that this Target ad is promoting the clothing being worn by the model.  To me, I can tell it is an advertisement because of the pose and clothing that is being worn.  I enjoy this Instagram advertisement because I can look at the post and just scroll through it.  This ad is also relevant to me because I enjoy Lilly Pulitzer and I ended up going to that event.  While this post can be seen as intrusive by some people, I enjoy the simplicity and ability to just scroll through the remainder of my feed if I want to.



Advertisers also are able to gain my attention by using Snapchat stories.  When I go through a Snapchat Live story, I see sponsored advertisements.  Since this technology is new, I enjoy seeing the content that is relevant to me.  Most of the ads are similar to my lifestyle and brands that I know of, use, and wear so I enjoy them sometimes.  Snapchat also has been a good way to reach millennials and show trailer videos to which I personally enjoy because I don’t watch enough TV to view movie trailers.


The only issue with these Snapchat ads is that you can tell they are advertisements because it says “Sponsored” on the very bottom of the screen and the time circle also goes away during the duration of the ad.  I personally think that these snapchat ads could be more effective if it was content that was clearly recorded with a phone and thus looked more authentic.  I think this would help consumers feel like we are not being directly advertised to. This would also prevent people from clicking through the advertisements.


We Are Your Friends


An example of a trailer that was promoted using Snapchat was the Zac Efron movie We Are Your Friends.  I could not find the specific Snapchat trailer, but I did find this Tweet which is promoting people to add the movie on snapchat to get updates about the movie. I knew from social media (ie. Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and bloggers) that Zac Efron was having a movie come out, but I had no background on the storyline because I am a busy college student.  My first priority is not to look at movie trailers but rather to finish my homework and catch up on Twitter.  But, one day when I was looking through my Snapchat stories I noticed the movie trailer.  Not only was I able to watch the trailer, but the movie resonated with me weeks after the movie’s release date.  While I have not yet seen the movie, I enjoy Zac Efron and I know I want to see the movie in the future.


Trying to spark conversation in this digital age is becoming harder and harder.  It’s a new medium which has no limits.  However, even though there are no limits, it can be challenging to make consumers notice your advertisement and create conversation.  I personally think that digital advertisements is the new way to advertise to millennials because of the receptivity of my generation.

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Let’s get Engaged

The skip button, the little x at the top left and the mute button; all of these things are ways people ignore ads. But a few brands and advertisers are figuring out how to make an impression and engage with consumers. In the social media world it’s hard to stay relevant to your consumer, there […]

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