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Give the People What They Want

What do you want? I’m not being belligerent—that question was rhetorical. But let’s consider it.

The goal of advertising is to sell you what you want. Here’s a secret, though: that usually isn’t the product in the ad. You see, people don’t spend money to buy things they want. They spend money to buy things that will give them what they want.

A simpler way to say that is nobody buys a hammer to have a hammer. You buy a hammer to drive nails. Or to look like a handyman. Or because you’re confused about how to work on your car. The job of advertising is to convince you that a particular hammer will give you that thing. Convince us that a product will give us what we want, and we will sleep in a box like a hobo outside the Apple Store to get it.

So what do you want? I’m serious this time…answer the question. What is it that you want? Happiness? More money? Friends? To open a can of beans? Whatever it is, I believe it falls into one of three categories. These are the “wants” that advertising sells you so that you will buy “stuff.”