If you’ve ever encountered a viral tweet, odds are you’ve seen the same ads for the same products.
You know the ones:
These are general promotions, where people get paid by companies to advertise products on popular posts with a lot of visibility.
Other social media ads are tailored to individuals, and these are harder to resist. They are influenced by our likes, search histories, and past purchases. Companies have mastered the art of targeting consumers' weaknesses and tempting us with things they know we'll want.
For me, it's the BuzzFeed articles.
BuzzFeed routinely publishes lists of cheap Amazon trends. I'm pretty sure the fact that I clicked on one of these links while Christmas shopping one year is why they continue to pop up on my Facebook timeline. There's always something in them that calls to me, enticing me with its low price tag and irresistible appearance. Nine times out of ten, I don't need it. But boy, do they sure make me want to buy it.
Generally speaking, I'm pretty successful at avoiding these marketing traps. I attribute this to my tenacity, willpower, and $8.96 account balance.
Every so often, however, these "gotcha" tactics gotch me, and I find myself shelling out the money for some item it otherwise never would have occurred to me to buy.
Here are five products that broke me down and, for better or worse, were added to my cart:
1. Kitchen Safe Time Locking Container, $69.90
I came across this one in a BuzzFeed article, and I'm glad that I did.
As someone with impulse control issues and an addictive personality, this container is exactly what I need to resist my vices. Simply put, it's impenetrable. To get into it, you'd have to take a hammer to it. I'm serious; due to said impulse control issues, I literally took a hammer to one of these things. Because, as the instructions make clear, there is absolutely no way to get into one once it's locked. (They're a bit pricey, so that was an expensive lapse in self-control.) But I've since bought another, and it's been a godsend.
I imagine that this would be great for parents, as well. While time can't be taken away from the timer, it can be added on. Your kid can't nag you for their phone back if it's locked in a vault that even you can't open, and they won't want to if they know you can extend the time it's locked.
Basically, if you've got a bad habit you're trying to break and it can fit inside a little box, this is a great investment. It comes in different sizes and colors, and you can choose a clear or opaque bottom to show or hide whatever it is you're trying to resist. You can set the timer from one minute to ten days, and the battery lasts for six to twelve months. I highly recommend this product.
2. TubShroom Hair Catcher, $12.99
No idea where I saw the ad for this one. Probably BuzzFeed.
This thing works. It catches all the hair, sparing your drain the clog and you the hassle of unclogging it. I love this product.
3. Waist Belt Heating Pad, $32.98
Every month, I suffer through the agony of severe menstrual cramps. Heating pads are one of the few things that help alleviate this debilitating pain.
This Amirce belt is wonderful, because it applies heat and pressure to my abdomen without my having to hold it in place. I love that I can wear it discreetly under my clothes, and there's no cord attached, so it affords me mobility, as well.
I like my heating pads super hot, and I was worried that this thing wouldn't be up to the task, but it has three heat settings, and I often find myself using the medium, that's how wonderfully hot it gets. It has different vibration settings, as well, and it's rechargeable. On top of everything else, it comes in adorable packaging.
The one downside is that the battery doesn't last very long. If you keep it charged before you need it, though, this thing could be the solution to your terrible cramps.
4. Egg Cooker, $14.99
BuzzFeed got me again!
(Admittedly, this is not the brand that was advertised, but it was because of said advertisement that I decided I needed an egg cooker. Mine's $5 cheaper.)
My mom says this is one of the greatest inventions since sliced bread, and I have to agree—this egg cooker is amazing. With it, you can quickly and effortlessly boil, poach, and scramble eggs. It even makes omelets!
For me, it's the boiled eggs. You can cook up to seven in soft, medium, or hard firmness. They're done in minutes and come out perfect every time. Even better, the shells peel right off. This cooker is small and easy to use. Basically, if you love eggs, buy this.
5. Conair Hot Air Brush, $34.00
This is a product I wish I hadn't wasted my money on. I had hoped that this brush would enable me to finally shape my hair into the smooth, luscious waves I see on Hollywood stars. Maybe it's just me or my hair type, but this didn't work for me at all. It felt cheap (it kinda was), and it made my hair all frizzy. Would not recommend.
Most recently, an ad for some website I'd never heard of popped up in my Facebook feed offering me the chance to win $20,000 in a writing competition (for as few as 600 words!?). I signed up for Vocal+, and I've loved it ever since. If you're a Vocal user considering upgrading your subscription, I highly encourage you to do so; you'll have access to more challenges, and it's only $4.99 for the first three months. I submitted my first story two weeks ago and have already made that back.
BONUS: Sophia Petrillo "Picture It... Quarantine 2020" Face Mask
Finally, here's a product I was dissuaded from buying by a Vocal "Add to Cart" Challenge submission. I've been wanting this mask since the pandemic hit, and it's disappointing to hear that it's not all I'd hoped for. Luckily, it seems to be a common design, so it may be available in better quality elsewhere.
(If you're curious, I ended up going with a "Hannibal Lecter mask" mask. While I absolutely love it, I'm always afraid that it will freak people out, so I usually wear it inside out.)
I can't find the exact link, but a similar one is here: