However, this begs the question: Why do they go along? Most subjects say they just felt like it--that they could have acted differently if they had wanted to, but they didn't want to. This is not unlike our own response when we ask ourselves why we have just spent several hours in front of the TV set. It is because we wanted to. We could have turned the set off and returned to reality at any time. We watched because we wanted to, because we felt like it--just like the person under hypnosis.
The more an ad can immerse viewers (i.e. make the mediated experience momentarily more interesting, more involving, more immersing than what is going on around them), the more successful it will be. The best advertising does not remind viewers that they are viewers.
Immersion and identification are a matter of degree. The difference between reading a story written in the first person and reading a story written in the third person is that the former is like listening to somebody tell you directly about their own experiences, while the latter is like listening to somebody tell you about someone else's experiences. The action is more easily experienced in the first person because we project ourselves into the identity. The difference is in the degree to which we are reminded of our own identity or the external reality.
This is related to virtual reality. By decreasing the awareness of stimuli other than those coming from the cinema screen, TV or book, we increase the 'reality' of the mediated experience and lessen the sense of it as mediated. It is like the difference between listening to music on your stereo through headphones and through loudspeakers. With headphones we feel more immersed in the musical experience. The new technology of virtual reality is headphones for the eyes.
The more complete the experience of virtual reality becomes, the more we can let go temporarily of one reality and become immersed in another. This represents the ultimate in 'switching off'. So anything that lessens the salience of our own current 'reality' and helps to immerse us, the viewers, in the world of the ad makes the ad that much more powerful.
When we watch TV or sit in a cinema we are sitting in one reality and, at the same time, looking at another reality through an imaginary transparent
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer:What Works, What Doesn't, and Why. Edition: 2nd. Contributors: Max Sutherland - Author, Alice K. Sylvester - Author. Publisher: Allen & Unwin. Place of publication: St. Leonards, N.S.W.. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 83.
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