Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Psychology of Marketing

In my was down here I see pictures on ads all over the place. I started to wonder how I'd feel if I had a business and had my picture plastered on a 20 x 40 foot billboard for every damn Floridian to see.  You may not believe it but I'm not Hollywood handsome, and frankly, neither are these folks.  They aren't ugly, but just not the kind of drop-dead beauty one might think enhances that much board space.  I then asked what it would take for me to put my picture up there and I said, a great deal of ego.  And then I started thinking about the psychology of marketing.  Psychology of things is fun.  I recall taking a course in college called the Psychology of Religion.  We studied why people have a need or think they have a need for an attachment to religion.  It was a fun course - we do things for all kinds of reasons.   

Is this attorney thinking that his mug will draw people to his business.  If so, why?  It's a rather pedestrian mug.  Eyes are where they should be, nice healthy smile, if a little chrome-dome.  So when the good attorney, Mr. Cavonis, Esquire, decided to rent out this space, why did someone say, put your face on it - it's better advertising?  Is this the face that would send you to his office?  Maybe.   

And ole Alice here, a pretty attractive lady with a bit of a forced smile decided to plant herself all over this bus bench.  Is the "I Get Results" enhanced by having her picture on it?  Realtors seem to like their pictures out there.  If you had to sell or buy property would be influenced by what they looked like?  

Apparently a lot of advertisers like they pictures early seen.  When I look at the above billboard if I think of out at all I probably pass over the guy quickly and start sizing up the ladies.  Does that make me shallow?  Does it make me a philogynist?  

Having had two vasectomies I think my experience in that area qualifies me to comment on this billboard high atop Route 19 that I drive by quite often.  In fact its been there a long time, as it was one of the first things that I thought weird when I first visited this very weird state.  If one was interested in a vasectomy the no-needle, no-scalpel aspects would certainly appeal.  But then we have that leering picture of Dr. Stein with that come-hither look and it tends to make the whole presentation rather cheesy.  Naturally I would have preferred the no scalpel and no needle version, but then again I would have also preferred the first one be successful, too.   

When we see folks for the first time we tend to do a little judging based on looks in absence of other data.  As time goes on and we have other ways to judge we then let go of our initial data.  That's a good thing.  Looks by no means tell the tale.  Now notice that billboard above with no picture.  Just a straight-on billboard with the pertinent info.  Would a picture of Mike add to the presentation, or detract?  

If you are looking for answers you find them here today.  I don't have a clue.  However, picture advertising must work or marketing gurus wouldn't recommend them.  And then again we all have egos, some have outsized egos and cherish the prospect of planting their faces all over roadways.  As for me, if I ever had anything to peddle or a service to impart, the last thing I'd ever want is my picture plastered on a billboard, bench, business card or bus.  Just outside Knoxville over by the fairgrounds is a billboard for a guy who sells insurance.  His picture is so comical as to engender nightmares.  It's been there a couple years and here I am after all that time talking about it, so there you go, it works. 

Marketing psychology is all around us.  Those horrible commercials we have to sit through when watching TV, endless ads on talk radio, and junk mail all attack us consciously and unconsciously everyday.  Might I suggest as a new routine when sitting through commercials, take a moment to dissect the ad and determine its actual selling points.  many ads today go after the Boomers by using classic 60's-70's music.  Sometimes ads use the word "NEW" as a hook.  Sometimes they do it subtly, and sometimes they do it heavily, like that stupid "grandpappy's hammer" bit on that GE's new series of ads.    

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