Posts tagged ‘psychology’

Why Every Cheeseburger Ad Is Also An Ad for Twinkies

A new study published  in Health Psychology by Jennifer Harris, John Bargh and Kelly Brownell of Yale says in so many words that whether we realize it or not every food ad we see on television (or in any other medium) is actually an ad for whatever food we have in the pantry at the moment:

“Children consumed 45% more when exposed to food advertising. Adults consumed more of both healthy and unhealthy snack foods following exposure to snack food advertising compared to the other conditions. In both experiments, food advertising increased consumption of products not in the presented advertisements, and these effects were not related to reported hunger or other conscious influences.”

What’s interesting about this is that the basic idea of food appears to be stronger than any specific suggestion made by advertising. The authors conclude:

“These experiments demonstrate the power of food advertising to prime automatic eating behaviors and thus influence far more than brand preference alone.”

In other words, much as we want our ads to be rifles, they are shotguns. Let those who claim otherwise be condemned to eat nothing but Milk Duds for all eternity.


November 9, 2009 at 9:42 pm Leave a comment

Fear, desire and coaxing dead presidents from the pockets of consumers.

Every advertising professional’s first obligation is to understand the human animal. It’s the only way we can hope to get at the fears and desires that ultimately motivate behavior–specifically the type of behavior that coaxes dead presidents out of consumers’ pockets. To that end, here’s a link to a handy batch of  stories on Psyblog. The subject is the psychology of the everyday. 

Stay in this business long enough and you’ll need to know what the most depressing day of the week is, how loud music can increase purchases, how hesitant we are to ask for help, and all sorts of other odd quirks of our fragile brains. Check it out, then stun and amaze your clients, your colleagues and random strangers on the street.

April 7, 2009 at 12:42 am Leave a comment


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