Advertising is about two things: attention and decision-making. This post will be more about how arousal - the ideal reaction to sexual ads - influences our decision-making. And, as it’s interesting and demonstrative and important to know, we’ll step back from buying behavior and go back to the research on other types of behavior. In this case, sex-related.
As psychologists and anthropologists suggested long time ago, we live in two different worlds simultaneously: a world of social norms and a world of market norms.The first ones includes doing something good for its own sake. You help your neighbour move in because it’s a nice thing to do and you make a dinner for your family on Thanksgiving without expecting your sister-in-law to pay you back the cost of a restaurant meal. In fact, you’d probably be outraged if she did so.
“The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost”, said Gilbert K. Chesterton, an English poet and writer. He probably never thought this beautiful but cynical phrase will be quoted by psychologists and economists of our time. And yet it is, for a simple fact: it’s true. This is exactly how our mind values things - in a nutshell.
The rise of social media marketing, the phenomenon of fake users, the unprecedented success of influencer marketing - all have been attributed to the power of social proof. So let’s not stay behind, and talk about the phenomenon of social proof.
When predicting the future, we heavily overestimate the probability of positive events happening to us and underestimate the probability of negative events. The bias is self-serving: we’re quite realistic when predicting events for other people. They might get divorced, get into a car accident, suffer from cancer. We, most likely, won’t, no matter what statistics say. We’ll live longer than national average, earn more money, and don’t even get me started on our children. They are special - much more talented than all other children.
Intrinsic social norms, such as reciprocation, are not that obvious. Here, someone does you a favor: for example, they buy you lunch. You haven’t asked for it, they just did it out of their good heart. Sometimes, you’ll feel a conscious need to reciprocate. Sometimes, you’ll reciprocate unconsciously. Find out how marketers and other professionals use this for their benefit.