Marketing Strategies

Make a person think something, and they’ll know what to do. Make a person feel something, and they’ll do without thinking.

Emotions are some of the strongest forces in nature. I’m sure Newton wasn’t considering them when defining his Law of Inertia, but it works in the same way with people. A mind at rest can be compelled to great action by a surge of adrenaline, and a mind in action can be shut down by deep sadness. Often this force overcomes even the strongest logical reasoning. Think about it. How many times have you heard, “Love is irrational”?

The Visa commercials during the Olympics are always fantastic examples of emotional appeals. Watch this one again:

The first thing I noticed is how the advertisement really isn’t about Visa. In my first post, I mentioned how Axe uses the same strategy in many of it’s commercials. This commercial promotes Michael Phelps and has the company logo at the very end. So why is it compelling? If the commercial makes you proud to be an American, you’ll look favorably upon Visa.

Note: This isn’t just an American phenomenon. Visa actually ran different commercials of a similar nature in many countries.  You can check out their Youtube page to see others.

The content of the ad creates this emotional reaction. It shows a video from a time when most Americans who were watching felt anxious, excited, nervous, etc. Every time you watch that commercial, you relive that moment and the emotions that came with it.

It also adds Morgan Freeman’s voice. A large part of nonverbal communication is known as paralinguistic, or vocalics. This is everything that happens when we talk aside from the words we say, things like voice quality, volume and pitch. Morgan Freeman’s deep voice and slow rate of speech mirror techniques used by hypnotists to put people in trances. Trances leave people open to suggestions, especially emotional ones. This article from a hypnosis expert explains how you can create that effect yourself.

Finally, the commercial has some nice, inspirational music playing softly in the background. People tend to agree that music communicates emotion, and Visa uses it for that purpose. These elements work together for an effective appeal.

Thanks for reading another exciting post on Prescribing Reality! Stay tuned for more adventures. Don’t know how? Well, if you go to my home page, you’ll find a button on the right side that let’s you follow my blog. You can also follow me on Twitter @IllusionofMatt. My feed updates every time I post new content. If you have any questions or comments, I love hearing from you. Just post them below.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite. – Matt



Hypnosis works with the power of suggestion. Suggestion, in this context, occurs when someone is unable to consciously process their environment and messages leak in subconsciously.

Above is my favorite commercial from the 2005 Superbowl. It’s the perfect example of a great marketing tactic. Everything is completely random. You become confused and/or engrossed in the action. Then they slip in the product message (even jokingly calling it optional). The commercial keeps attention long enough to suggest using FedEx.

“The good is the beautiful.” -Plato

Brochures. They still exist. Businesses started using print advertising around 1910 when printing became more efficient and economical. In the 50s and 60s, companies added more color as the cost for ink dropped. 50 years later, we still have brochures, and they come in all colors and designs.

Are brochures outdated? Can they still grab attention, make a sale?

I think they can, but it depends on the design. If you want me to read the writing on the piece of paper (and I’m not an avid reader), it’s going to take a lot of work. As soon as I see that brochure I need to be interested, and words aren’t going to cut it.

The triangular-folding pamphlet probably grabbed your attention. You wanted to read it without knowing what was being sold. That’s the power of a good design.

When it all comes together, there are a few key elements that need to be involved:

  1. Colors. Bright colors. – If I don’t think, “Ooooohhh, shiny…” I don’t want your piece of paper. I have too much other junk to throw away.
  2. Interesting architecture. – Unless it’s a topic I know and care about, it’s hard to change my mind with words. Let me play with the brochure. Be new, innovative and intriguing. If I’m in a positive mood, the product or service or whatever will be more appealing.
  3. Minimal words. – When do you receive a brochure? It’s probably at the entrance to a store, walking on the street or heading toward some other activity. You don’t have time (or the ability, necessarily) to read what’s in your hand. Tell a story with the pictures, supplement it with the information.

If a business does these things, I (or anybody, really) am more likely to read their brochure. I don’t think print advertising is dead at all. With the right material, it can be a powerful persuasive tool.

I’d like to hear your opinion, though. Do you think brochures and pamphlets are a waste of money? Leave a comment below. If you haven’t yet followed me on Twitter @IllusionofMatt, you can now save a starving child on Mars by doing so. If you like reading my blog, check out some other awesome posts that are soon to come. And you can follow my blog via email. There’s a button on the right of the home page. That’s all for now.

Peace. -Matt

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