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January 31, 2020 - 

Under The Influence is not a show about advertising.  It's a show about life through the lens of advertising.   —CBC Website

We see and hear thousands of advertisements each day. We ignore many of these images and sounds, yet advertising still significantly impacts how we live as Christians. As we seek to partner with God in redeeming creation, we must understand how advertising works and learn its proper place within creation. We then can become more discerning consumers who make informed decisions and steward resources wisely.

Under The Influence is an entertaining podcast that takes the listener behind the curtain of advertising, revealing the incredible human creativity used to influence consumer behavior. The focus of this podcast is to explain how advertising works rather than to argue its overall benefit or cost to society.

Episodes explore such questions as the following:

Why do realtors use photos of themselves when marketing? (S8E19) How does the weather affect marketing? (S3E12) How packaging persuades you to buy (S4E19)

Other episodes walk through the sociology and history of marketing:

Monastic Merchandise: Products Made by Monks (S8E05) Now Splinter Free: How Marketing Broke Taboos (S6E23) Guys and Dolls: Gender Marketing (S6E15-16)

Host Terry O’Reilly is an ad man himself who found his way onto a TV commercial at the age of 4. He worked for several top ad agencies in Toronto before founding his own agency in 1990. Throughout his career, he’s worked on advertisements with many top actors including Alec Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, Alan Arkin, and Bob Newhart. His experience is invaluable, and his humble teaching style helps translate this knowledge to the common listener.

Under the Influence is also a radio show, so each podcast episode is less than 30 minutes long. Behind the scenes is an excellent research team who scripts the episode to follow a strict structure. Terry O’Reilly ends each section with a pun that sometimes feels forced. Yet like the thousands of ads Terry O’Reilly has written himself, these hooks help the listener remember key information.

Christians can benefit from learning from advertising expert Terry O’Reilly. We interact with many of the products and services that Terry O’Reilly discusses, and learning more about how they are marketed will help us be more discerning consumers in the future. Under the Influence is a podcast that educates, entertains, and leaves us eager to hear next week’s episode. 

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