Advertisers may not be psychologists or have studies in Psychology, but they sure do apply some psychological principles into crafting their adverts. I thought a lot about the immense thought that goes into creating ads and the science behind them so It kind of turned me off from walking that career path, unlike Tori Flower, who gave up her advertising career after many years of hard work.

Advertisers use Operant Conditioning and Classical Conditioning. Operant Conditioning is a theory of Human Behavior discovered by B.F. Skinner that talks about the changes in behavior that occur as a result of experiences after a response.  We know this from childhood, when our parents either used Punishment, Positive or Negative Reinforcement.

Positive reinforcement is when we as customers are rewarded for buying or using a product and it is used to make us loyal to that product. Coupons (small and large discounts), vouchers, free samples, discounts, 2 for 1 are examples of operant conditioning at work; I would add companies and influencers doing giveaways here as well.

Negative reinforcement happens when we get repetitive calls from a brand, company where they ask us the same thing in the calls, this is one behavior that I see from bank operators and debt collectors. Another example would be from salespeople who schedule their calls at what are inappropriate times for us, in order to get people to buy from them by putting them under pressure.

Smell the fresh pastry

Now onto Classical Conditioning. This was discovered by Ivan Pavlov in his experiment with dogs, where he would ring the bell before feeding them until the dogs associated the bell with food and salivated when hearing the bell even if they weren’t seeing any food presented to them. Advertisers use smell, music, to try and get consumers to associate a feeling or a response to their products so that it leads to lots of purchases. Very much like walking into ASDA and smelling the fresh bakes to get us to crave some donuts and buy some donuts, or a high-end store’s scent which over time in our memory will be associated with that brand. Radio stations might stick to our minds using jingles and a particular voice to get us to tune in every morning.  

Now I wonder, what makes an advertiser tick? Blogs like mine?

Thank you for reading, see you next time!


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