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Secrets that the most successful marketing companies don’t want you to know… (Part 2)


Writing with emotion, for emotion.

The best example I know of is Ernest Hemmingway’s –

‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’

These six simple, short words evoke powerful emotions within us.  It is a work of genius, and a model for a great exercise that each of us can try.  (What can you write in six simple words?)

Successful marketers understand the power of emotion, and will exploit it unmercifully. Who remembers the Stella Artois advertising slogan “Reassuringly Expensive”?  It successfully boosted the sales of an overpriced lager by evoking an image of quality.  How can this be understood and explained?

Scientists at Stanford University recently did an experiment that involved subjects sampling cheap, inferior wine. The subjects had been told that that this glass contains a cheap wine, and that glass has the very expensive wine (They were the same wine).  Then they were asked to make a qualitative analysis - which one tasted better? The brain scans confirmed that people don't just say the more expensive (but identical) wine tasted better; it did taste better (indicated by brain scans that showed their pleasure centres firing up). This phenomenon is called the 'price-placebo effect', and is driven by the power of expectations.  (For my fellow psychologists – Cognitive dissonance may also be in play here, but I will write about that another time.)

But a word of caution – ‘Strand’ was a brand of cigarettes launched in the UK in 1959 but withdrawn in the early 1960s. The launch was accompanied by a huge television advertising campaign, "You're never alone with a Strand."
The advert depicted a dark, wet, deserted London street scene in which a rain coated man lit a cigarette and puffed reflectively. This was accompanied by an instrumental, "The Lonely Man Theme" by Cliff Adams, playing in the background and a voice-over declared "You're never alone with a Strand. The cigarette of the moment."

However, sales of the brand were poor and it was soon taken off the market. The public associated smoking Strand cigarettes with being lonely and were put off from buying them. It is regarded as one of the most disastrous tobacco advertising campaigns of all time. (See Wikipedia for citations)

Never underestimate the power of emotions. They can make your sale, or kill it dead.

Have you ever asked yourself – what are emotions, why do we have emotions?  Think about it. In Part 3, I will discuss emotions in more detail, and explain why, at a personal level,  there are no ‘bad’ emotions.

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