The secret ways that advertising works on you

The Secret Ways That Advertising Works on You
The Secret Ways That Advertising Works on You

Does advertising really work? US companies spend around $170 Billion on advertising yearly, so they seem to think it does.

Successful advertising uses a variety of tricks and techniques to influence the consumer. They evoke positive memories and emotions that affect our behavior over time and prompt us to buy something at a later date. Marketing needs to reach the subconscious levels of the brain in order for it to work, though many people don't like to think that they are easily influenced.

Humans instinctively look at something that someone else is looking at, so ads often include a model looking right at the main target or message. It's best to use happy faces in ads because we have mirror neurons that prompt us to mimic the expression of the person we are looking at. People find faces with dilated pupils more attractive, so most major advertisers increase the pupil size of their models in Photoshop.

If you position a product towards the viewer's dominant hand it heightens the imagined product use. Researchers experimenting with images of cups, bowls and sandwiches encountered the greatest success when appealing to the right-hand side.

Colors also have powerful associations in ads. Brands pick the colors of their logos based on what they're trying to convey. Red denotes action, excitement and youth. Green implies freshness, growth and health. Blue shows trust, confidence and security.

Brands often prime their consumers by naming a higher price beforehand so their price is not so bad by comparison. To persuade the consumer that their product is superior, advertisers also use techniques like "the weasel" claim. Its a claim that is vague and ambiguous, but still sounds true enough that consumers believe the claim. The "unfinished" claim, which claims that the product is better or has more of something but does not finish the comparison.

The "endorsement/testimonial," where celebrity or authority claims to use the product when they often don't, is another way to hook a viewer. In Miller Light commercials from the '70s, famous athletes were featured. That led the company's production to increase from 7 million barrels to 31 million barrels.

Lastly, brands employ the "rhetorical question," which demands a response that validates the products merits. After the launch of "Got Milk?," for instance, sales of milk in California rose 7 percent in just one year.

So what do you think? Got brainwash?