Advertisers Psychology 101

When people hear or talk about psychology they often assume that it is related to mental health or therapy or an explanation for your emotions and train of thought (choo-choo!). But psychology, in reality, is much more than that. It’s in your everyday life, every decision, every move and every single process that you carry out it has a direct psychological explanation. Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour.

In psychology, we have different “schools of thought”. No. not SCHOOLS — (Your thoughts don’t learn history or math here). Schools of thought are the “intellectual traditions of a group of people who share the same outlook on a philosophy”.

Behaviourism: which observes and explains the behaviour of people based on environmental factors rather than internal factors. Theories of learning including classical conditioning and operant conditioning were the focus of a great deal of research.

Psychoanalysis: this emphasizes the influence of the subconscious mind on behaviour. Sigmund Freud believed that the human mind was composed of three elements: the id, the ego, and the superego.

Cognitive Psychology: one of the most important branches of psychology where mental processes; perception, learning, memory, are studied. This branch is more of cognitive science which looks into neuroscience, and philosophy among others.

Gestalt Psychology: This explains how we experience things as “unified wholes”. Rather than breaking it down to small details, it has a more holistic approach.

Humanistic Psychology: This type of thought mainly focuses on the person as an individual, their will, their self-actualization and personal growth.

Similar to these schools of thoughts, there is much more to psychology than just therapy and assuming that I can read your mind (trust me, if I could, I would), It is a multifaceted subject that studies human and environmental mannerisms in a myriad of ways that you will be astonished at really how much psychology plays a part in our lives.

  1. Buzz Words

Studies prove that when companies advertise their products with words affect readers and viewers emotionally, making them more likely to want to buy a product. These words include phrases that imply getting a good deal (10% off or limited time offer) this may create a sense of urgency to buy the product,  this also created “FOMO” the fear of missing out

2. Positive Feelings                    

Most ADs look to make you feel good or more positive towards a product after seeing it, in some cases, they use reverse-psychology or rhetoric questions such as “don’t you want what’s best for your family”. This technique is called affective conditioning, like the air freshener ads, they make it seem as if people wake up happy because of their product.

3.  Mentally engaging images

Above are two images of a white mug. Although it is the same mug, the one on
 the right may appeal more to an audience because the handle in on the right,
 this is because for most people the right side is the more dominant hand

4. Colours

If you notice most fast-food chains have the colours of red and yellow on their logo, this is because the colour red promotes “hunger” even though you’ve already eaten. These red logoed restaurants will lure you into hunger feeling emotions and stimulations. The yellow, add a hint of happiness and joy. Do you know what else red and yellow together come across as? Ketchup and mustard, therefore, making the person viewing it feel even more hungry.

5. Psychological Pricing

A simple business strategy, where businesses set prices lower than the whole number (eg: DHS 4.99 instead of DHS 5.00) this simplifies the purchasing process for the consumer as they assume that 4.99 is lesser than 5.00. People are influenced into thinking it is a cheaper alternative when in reality it is essentially one and the same.

These are merely a handful out of the multitudes of methods psychology is used as a manipulating factor in our lives. Companies who use psychology as an active part of their promotional strategy are highly influential in convincing purchases.

2 thoughts on “Advertisers Psychology 101

  1. Athina Pereira

    Great post, Mehek! Very well-written! Great use of examples to demonstrate your ideas.
    A must-read for those interested in pursuing marketing, advertising.


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