Selling Products or Selling Lifestyle?

One trend that is becoming more and more common practice in advertising is to appeal to the emotions rather than the features or functionalities of the product. Rather than talk about why you should buy some product and discuss some of the practical features, many ads go about painting a lifestyle that you would want to have and placing their product as part of that wonderful exciting lifestyle.

Take a look at some of the advertisements below and ask yourself, what are they selling? What did I learn about the product? Did I learn something ABOUT the product? How do I feel looking at the ad? There are so many examples out there but below are a few.

New Luxury Acura Advertisement
New Luxury Acura Advertisement

Tagline: Old luxury has a glass of warm milk and turns in early. Modern luxury goes out all night and still makes it into the office by eight. A new generation has arrived

The focus of this ad has to do with the young, glamorous pull of nightlife excitement. Immediately many are drawn to this ad and wish to be part of this type of living. Once the person is left wanting and emotionally attached, the car is presented as part of that lifestyle. The brand has now associated themselves with something good and something we want. We desire the car because we desire the image that is presented in front of us. It is a well done ad, but in the same time it really sells the car for something other than what it is because it is being sold as a package deal.

Apple Ipod Advertisment
Apple Ipod Advertisment

Everyone has seen one of these. What can you learn about the ipod here? Did we learn anything about the product’s features or usability? Nope. What we learned is, these silhouettes are having a blast listening to their music and dancing. They are having fun. I like having fun. That’s it. But somehow someway you again associate the product to the painted lifestyle. It works, though more subtle than the previous example. To apple’s credit though this is only one slice of the different kinds of ads they run and many of their other ads focus on features.

Remember this guy?

Marlboro Man Advertisement

The old school marlboro man. These ads caused so many people to get hooked on smoking not because they heard smoking feels good or tastes good or because of some benefits of smoking. It was all about the cool and in this case, manly image, first established and connected to smoking by these type of ads. It continues to be further reinforced today through TV shows and movies. The cool bad guys have to smoke. The cool slightly rebellious heroes have to smoke. Who knew such a simple image could lead to such a change in the way we think about what we need to present the cool image?

I was going to post a few more examples especially ads related to alcohol because those ads are notorious for painting party scenes and sex to package that image with it’s product. However the ads are just too inappropriate.

Do you have other examples? Please comment!

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  1. Hi Paul! Thanks so much for constantly updating this blog. I read it as much as I can. Here’s a Porsche commercial that we saw during Bible study last semester. Through the music and cinematography it really does a good job of selling the idea that getting a car could be fulfilling…to an almost spiritual level even!

    1. thanks for the kind words. Always encouraging to know when people are regularly checking in…

      i sudden feel like i need a porsche.. it’s the purest expression of who i am…

  2. Hey i was just wondering which magazine did you grab the New Luxury Acura Advertisement from?

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