Words are powerful things, and some of the highest-paid wordsmiths aim to use them to influence our spending. There is no denying they can be incredibly efffective, too - I can still remember sales and marketing slogans from my youth. Slogans like 'Beanz meanz Heinz', 'Bring out the Branston' and 'Go to work on an egg'.
Nowadays you might think that advertising would be more effective than ever before. Advances in technology, a deeper understanding of the psychology of buying and greater disposable income should surely combine to create massive opportunties for 'savvy' sales and marketing people.
However, I'm not sure that's the case. In the past, television adverts were beamed into my living room and, even if I didn't actively listen to them, they played out in the background. These days, when the adverts come on - and there are more of them than ever before, it seems - I more often than not hit the 'mute' button. Not because I hate the adverts, necessarily, but because they are so loud, they become intrusive. I use an adblocker programme to avoid adverts on the Internet. I rarely buy a newspaper, becuse I use online news sites. I buy magazines, but generally skip past the ad pages without reading them.
Then, of course, there are the adverts I actively avoid. Should a BT ad, featuring the truly appalling Adam and Jane, or any Halifax ad, appear on my television, I risk injury with the speed at which I reach for the remote to either mute the sound or change channel. I will not entertain them. BT still have an element of monopoly about their services, so I have no choice but to be a customer - although I buy no more from them than I must - and the Halifax will never have my business. As a direct result of their advertising, I choose to avoid them.
In fact, I have trouble thinking of anything I have bought as the result of advertising, yet none whatsoever thinking of things I would not buy. Perhaps those cunning sales and marketing people aren't so clever after all!