August 1, 2007

"Hamburger advertisements are a major reason why the internet appeals to you and me."

Have you ever seen an advertisement for a hamburger or similar food product and thought to yourself "That looks good, I think I'll get that"? Have you gone and bought the hamburger after looking at the advertisement? Have you then realized that, despite what you originally believed, the actual hamburger looks nothing like the hamburger being advertised? Hamburger advertisements are a major reason why the internet appeals to you and me.

Let me explain.

Advertisers know that, in order to sell their product, they have to make their product appeal to the masses. For the example of a hamburger: advertisers hire professional photographers, who use professional lighting to take shots from special angles. The advertisers spend hours putting together a simple hamburger - though, in the real world, it would take 35 seconds to slop together. They create the perfect product to be advertised.

It's not cheating, but it's not quite the truth. The surprising thing is that you and I don't care. We see the ads, we buy the products, we only complain for a short period of time, and then we buy the products again and again.

The internet allows people to become their own advertisers. Teenagers are setting up Myspace accounts, web masters build personal websites, and businesses build corporate websites, to advertise themselves. But, in a way, they are misleading those who come across their web pages - just like a hamburger advertiser. They're advertising the perfect, almost artificial, version of themselves, when the actual product may be nothing like what is being advertised.

That's not to say that everybody and every company is advertising false information. It's just that, they have the ability to advertise whatever they want about themselves - to make themselves look great. The ability to make others perceive you however you want is why teenagers have jumped on the web in the last five years. They can sell themselves however they want. There's nothing wrong with it, you can't walk down the street without seeing businesses advertising themselves in the best way they can.

But that's what draws a lot of attention to the internet. It's the appeal of advertising yourself or your business however you want. Understanding that fact can lead to huge changes in the web, as we've seen with sites such as Myspace and YouTube.

So remember, the next time you're walking down the street and pass a McDonalds or BurgerKing and you see that big poster of a juicy hamburger, you're advertising yourself on the web every time you post to your blog or update your website. Are you advertising yourself as you really are? Or are you advertising yourself to be the best that you want to be?