Scientific Advertising – Psychology in Advertising (part 1)

The competent advertising man must understand psychology. The more he knows about if the better. He must learn that certain effects lead to certain reactions, and use that knowledge to increase results and avoid mistakes.

Human nature is perpetual. In most respects it is the same today as in the time of Caesar. So the principles of psychology are fixed and enduring. You will never need to unlearn what you learn about them.

We learn, for instance, that curiosity is one of the strongest human incentives. We employ it when ever we can. Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice were made successful largely through curiosity. “Grains Puffed To 8 Times The Normal Size.” “Foods Shot From Guns.” “125 Millions Steam Explosions Caused In Every Kernel.” These foods were failures before that factor was discovered.

We learn that cheapness is not a strong appeal. Americans are extravagant. They want bargains but not cheapness. They want to feel that they can afford to eat and have and wear the best. Treat them as if they could not and they resent your attitude.

We learn that people judge largely by price. They are not experts. In the British National Gallery is a painting which is announced in a catalog to have cost $750,000. Most people at first pass it by at a glance. Then later they get farther on in the catalog and learn what the painting cost. They return then and surround it.

A department store advertised at one Easter time a $1,000 hat, and the floor could not hold the women who came to see it.

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