Saturday, May 21, 2011

How Advertisers "Trick" Consumers

I've been skeptical about the benefits of advertising, but I've never bought the idea of how they fool us. Yet our memory can fool our brains. I never could articulate the connection, until now:
One way advertisers convince us to buy something is to remind us that we’ve enjoyed their product before. Unfortunately, we can have fond memories of a product that we’ve never even had. Or that doesn’t even exist.

A hundred volunteers looked at print ads for Orville Redenbacher's "Gourmet Fresh" popcorn—a variety that researchers made up. Some subjects saw an ad with a vivid description of the brand's “big white fluffy kernels." Others saw a less evocative ad.

A week later, subjects who saw the vivid ad were twice as likely to believe they'd tried this fictional product as were subjects who saw the plain ad. In fact, the believers were as confident that they had tried the popcorn as were people who actually ate popcorn after seeing the fake ads.
Add this to my battle against self-verification.

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