Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Animal Advertising

"Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it." - Anonymous

This brings up some important questions about marketing and advertising - is it possible to sell without expecting people to 'lose their heads?'

The most obvious execution of this style of marketing is the infomercial (TV) and squeeze page (online). You know - those slick direct marketing campaigns that appeal to our animal instincts. They overwhelm us with clever copywriting, amazing testimonials and questionable statistics combined with a 100% guarantee to spur us into desperately needing something that only a few minutes ago we would never consider.

These campaigns are designed to suspend human intelligence and instead appeal to our animal intelligence - those deep-seated desires of needing to be part of the group, wanting bright, shiny objects, and making decisions from your gut, not your brain. These are decision-making skills that do have great value in our lives, especially when we are in danger, but they can also be easily exploited.

I have recently had some direct experiences in which intelligent, smart products and services that appeal directly to the working intelligence have failed miserably, while those that have almost no real value but appeal to the animal intelligence have flourished.

As marketers and as consumers, we must wonder sometimes who is really in charge: the sophisticated human, or the tribal animal.

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