The Psychology of Advertising

By on December 28, 2013

What is the psychology of advertising? How to advertisers influence the consumer through the clever use of psychological principles? These are some of the questions every serious student of advertising needs to understand to create and deliver ads that work.

According to the infographic below from,

Each of us is subjected to 3000 to 10,000 brand exposures every day through TV commercials, outdoor billboard, website banners, even neighbors’ T-shirts or coworkers’ coffee mugs.  Because we are inundated with ads, marketers draw on the latest psychological research and employ a variety of tricks to catch our attention and gain our confidence.

Behavioral psychology has become popular in the recent decades and so has been the need for discovering clever ways of attracting attention from consumers and convincing them to buy products.

But the use of psychology in advertising isn’t a new trend. John B. Watson, who is generally considered to be the founder of behaviorism in America, was a pioneer in using psychological principles in advertising. Watson said that Advertising need to evoke the three emotions of love, fear and rage for it to be effective. Watson also believed in using objective, scientific approaches in advertising.

But before Watson, three other psychologists influenced advertising:

Harlow Gale – The first psychologist to work in advertising, Gale was interested in learning how people respond to ads from the time they are first exposed to it till they buy the product.

Walter D Scott – He published a book on advertising in 1903 called Theory and Practice of Advertising and believed that people were highly suggestible and obedient to prompts.

Harry Hollingworth – Hollingworth believed that advertising had to accomplish four things to be effective – attract the consumer’s attention, focus the attention onto the message, make the consumer remember the message and finally, make the consumer take the desired action.

So what are some of these psychological techniques advertisers use to influence you? Check out the infographic to find out.

Click on the image to expand it to it’s full size.

The Psychology of Advertising

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