Psychology in Advertising

Being a psychology major has provided me with significant insight into human behavior and what makes us tick.  I know why we can't see well in the dark, why sense of smell is most strongly linked to memory, and I know why certain words, or lack thereof, trigger different reactions from consumers.

We can get into the fun science of things later…  Or set up an appointment, I used to teach neuro-science.  What I'm here to talk about is the latter of my examples.  Writing and placing commercials is not as simple as stating the latest price figure or buying time during the “most watched” shows.  There is MUCH more to it than that!  Having the knowledge of what the consumer wants to hear, and having an awareness of what they are already saturated on, provides insight into what they no longer believe.

What are the three things every business tries to enforce with their marketing plan?  Price, Service and Selection.  “We have the lowest Prices guaranteed!” – “Our Service is second to none!” – “We have the largest Selection in town!”- Ring a bell?  Our minds have only so much information we can store at any given time, and if we've already heard something one hundred plus times before… chances are, we are going to disregard it at some point.  Now, there is something to be said about repetition and frequency, but that is for a NEW message you want introduce to the market, like a new brand or product.  But, when it comes to the same old sayings and tricks, we become numb to them.

A great example of this from a sensory perspective would be when you put on a Band-Aid or wear a watch.  Something you put on and keep on, in the same position, for a long period of time.  You notice its presence at first, but after a while, as long as the object doesn't move, the sensors in your skin begin to disregard the item's presence as important information for the brain to register, so your nerve endings cease to deliver the message to your brain that the item is still there.  Therefore, you no longer feel the Band-Aid on your finger or the watch on your wrist… at least, not until you take it off.  Then it feels like something is missing, doesn't it?  As though your arm is lighter, or your finger less protected?

So, what do we do with this information?  We put it into practice. To be effective, we need to change the message (watch).  Change it just enough, so that you don't get used to it being there, but we leave it long enough so that you notice when it's gone.  This way, you leave a lasting impression without rendering yourself “unimportant” to the mind.

Want more? Stay tuned, and I will continue to share on psychology in advertising – or like I said before, give us a call and I'll be happy to “teach” you more.