Happiness Literacy

by florence.delage on November 6, 2017 - 7:58pm



1. How is the product associated with happiness (product name, smiling people, images of a “good” life or success, uplifting song, etc.)?

Nike is selling, in this advertisement, its own brand, including the shoes and the sport equipment seen in the video. These products are associated with happiness because they are seen on people that are clearly successful: Olympic athletes wear them, paralympic athletes, etc. These make the viewer easily associate the product with happiness because these people are known to be successful and are physically successful in the sense that they have ideal, powerful bodies. Furthermore, the athletes in this commercial are either seen smiling or seen doing something that is associated with success (like being able to run with a leg missing). The song in the background is a known song called Pursuit of Happiness and the lyrics also mention ‘i'm gonna pursuit happiness…’.  This song was clearly chosen because it mentions happiness in a very obvious way and mentions the quest for happiness., therefore reinforcing the fact that the products sold will lead to happiness.


2. What type of happiness is portrayed?

The people in the commercial wearing Nike seem to be experiencing, flow : a psychological state seen in a highly engaging activity. The fact they they are wearing Nike and are able to perform really well in sports can be a higher pleasure, the sensation of accomplishment. Therefore, according to the commercial, the path to happiness resides in Nike products. By wearing them, the person will be accomplished and will be happy.

3. How does the message illustrate conspicuous consumption, materialism and affluenza?

The message does not really illustrate conspicuous consumption nor affluenza, but it does portray materialism because it gives the message that you need specific clothes, and probably a lot of them, to be able to perform well in sports. By associating the Nike brand with success (by showing known athletes), the message illustrates materialism.

4. What values are articulated by the advertisements?

The values of health hard work are articulated. It encourages healthy activities and a good mentality to keep doing sports to achieve a good health. A good health is the essence of success in this commercial. The Nike brand shows very healthy people wearing the products they are selling and are linking their products with health, and therefore success.

5. Is the message “successful”? (i.e. does it influence your perception of the product?)

No, I do not think that Nike products are better because of the commercial. On the other hand, it is true that the fact that successful female athletes are shown in the commercial has a slight impact on me. Of course, as a woman I am more likely to appreciate the add and feel connected to the women in it, and therefore to the brand and its products.


6. Is it possible to be attracted to the advertisement and not be influenced by it?

Yes, one can admire the visual quality and the creativity of a commercial, for example, without wanting to buy the product.


7. How do you feel about ads that are marketing happiness?

They often portray materialistic values which I do not like.


Ads that market happiness are quite common because happiness is a common goal for most people. It is an easy target for marketers and easy to portray. I do not believe that they are successful most of the time. Personally I think they are usually over-simplifying things and therefore the ads look superficial. This could also be what a lot of people think about these ads. For example, the coca-cola ads that market happiness are often seen as ridiculous. These ads rarely portray higher pleasures, like intellectual pleasures of feeling good after helping someone. They usually sell bodily pleasures, pleasures that fade rapidly like eating a chocolate bar.



The text is well written.One thing I find less good is that you should describe better and give better reasons why the message did not work on you.