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How Do TV Commercials Affect People’s Decisions?

Advertising has long been the subject of many debates about how it shapes the viewer’s psyche as well as the ethics of presenting information to potential customers. While the advent of technology ushered the growth of more discerning customers, the persistence of TV commercials still says something about its lingering effects on a customer’s decision making. If anything, the additional information it presents can contribute to decision fatigue.

The question is how?

Presents Problems or New Decision-Making Opportunities

Advertisements are designed to make a customer realize a need or want that is previously unrealized. And when a person needs or wants something, it becomes a situation that requires a decision. Faced with a new situation, the person is forced to think about the importance of the situation, the urgency to make a decision, the necessity of the item, and so on.

A person with greater self-control will most likely be able to resist the pull of a good advertisement, but whether the TV commercial actually leads to a product purchase, its creation of a decision-making opportunity still contributes to the decision fatigue that many of us suffer. It adds another decision to be made, on top the many others we face on the daily.

Commercials Presents New Options

Commercials, to its core, is a source of information. But while the veracity of facts is a different subject, the way it presents information is meant to persuade the viewer that what it offers is the best item versus the others in the market. And that can be a dilemma especially when a customer is already set on a product, and is forced to reconsider their preferences because of the persuasive claims of a TV commercial.  

The information in the TV commercial may be new, especially if it is a new product, thus adding to the options available for the customer to consider. This makes it even more difficult for the person to arrive at a decision— purchase a tried-and-tested brand or try a new product that screams of innovation and promises astounding results?

For a discerning customer, it can cause decision fatigue because it becomes another area to put energy into instead of other more important tasks.

Persuades you to reconsider your priorities

Much like how a TV commercial can sway you to realize a previously unrealized want, it also persuades you to reconsider your priorities. You may think this to be an exaggeration, but all decisions can lead to a snowball effect ,which makes even the smallest of decisions worthy of pouring effort into.

Imagine seeing a TV commercial for a new set of pans. You badly want to replace your current set with its peeled coating and various scuffs but you are on a budget. But the ad shows a good discount for a limited time only which makes for a very compelling offer. However, purchasing the items at a discounted price will still require you to deprioritize other items, so you can reallocate your budget to this unplanned purchase.

Think about it. Looking at the bigger picture might help you decide better.

What To Do About TV Commercials?

If you are finding it hard to resist the temptation of a compelling TV commercial, then force yourself out of a situation where you may encounter them. Turn off the TV during a commercial segment, or turn it on mute. Better yet, when persuaded by a good offer, always look at the bigger picture beyond instant gratification.

If you’re finding it difficult to set things straight, you might want to check out our tips on how to get through your decision fatigue. You might just find yourself immune to these TV offers after following our recommendations.