Some of the most iconic TV ads of all time have used the Super Bowl as the event they use to break through to the masses. Advertisers covet these spots because they know they’ll never get a better chance each year to leave an impression with millions of people that are tuned into watch the big game.
However, there happens to be one problem – most of us can’t remember any of the Super Bowl ads! But, maybe forgetting the message of a Super Bowl commercial isn’t such a bad thing. Instead, brands that advertise during the Super Bowl are signalling to consumers a different kind of message.
Celebrities are commonly used as voice-over talent in advertising. The common thinking is that celebrities can transfer their positive attributes (e.g. trustworthiness, familiarity, likeable) over to a brand. This approach is no different when it is just the celebrity’s voice that is used in commercial. Depending on whether brands want to come off as likeable, fun, authoritative, or manly, that can dictate the type of celebrity they will use as their brand’s voice. Depending on the celebrity, their voice is instantly recognizable, such as Morgan Freeman in the VISA commercials, but often the celebrity lending their voice goes unrecognized.
It is comforting to think that we know how we think and understand how we come to the decisions we make. We are very good at rationalizing our decisions to ourselves, especially when the decisions we are making is a big one. But what if there are forces completely unbeknownst to us that deftly guiding each decision we make? This sounds like some kind of Jedi mind trick, but it is not magical sleight of mind. The fact of the matter is that we often fool ourselves into thinking that we know how we think. In reality, when we introspect on our choices after the fact, we are often left to rationalize our decisions in a way that is completely different from the actual thought process that led us to our choice.
Over the past 20 years, behavioural economists have found evidence in support of a human insight that story-tellers have known for countless generations – people love a happy ending. However, the particularly curious part of this insights is that all else being equal, an experience that starts off as happy/positive is not remembered as favourably as an experience that ends off as happy/positive. That is, it is not just the case that people love happy endings, but that they love them much more than happy beginnings.
A recent article called “Please, Not Another Bias! The Problem with Behavioural Economics” published by Evonomics presented an interesting, but contrarian, view on how we think about behavioural economics. According to the article, the problem with behavioural economics is that the field continues to look for cognitive biases, treat each bias separately, and not come up with a unifying theory. Essentially, the article acknowledges the problem of how the field of behavioural economics is only adding to its complexity without finding a parsimonious way of explaining why these cognitive biases exist in the first place.
Unless you have been living under a rock, the hype surrounding upcoming elections for both Canada and the United States has reached its fever pitch. Every possible topic has been analyzed and scrutinized to death by political pundits. We really can’t get away from all the election coverage, which means as voters, we have access to all this information - both good and bad - to help us make the most informed decision possible. And having all the information is a good thing right? Regardless of one’s political leaning, we are all trying to use all of this information to rationally decide who would make the best leader for our country.
Recently in Ontario, stiffer penalties were put in place to prevent drivers from using their phone while on the road. Distracted driving is already a major problem for Ontario, as it is for almost every province or state where smartphones are commonplace. In order to battle this problem, Ontario passed legislation that allows for stricter fines and penalties to be given to drivers who use their phone while driving. However, increasing the punishment isn’t always the most effective way at changing behaviour, especially when we are trying to get people to separate themselves from their phones.
Counter to the well-entrenched view that “more is better” is a finding from human behaviour research that actually “less is more”, at least when it comes to how me make decisions. This counterintuitive finding is known among behavioural economists as the Paradox of Choice, and commonly used as an example of how behavioural economics is better equipped at explaining consumer behaviour than traditional economic theory.
Psychologists have long known that our memory and performance are strengthened when we are faced with obstacles while we are trying to learn. A few examples of obstacles that actually help us learn are: 1) TESTING (e.g. repeatedly testing your memory on what you’ve learnt instead of only studying); 2) DISFLUENCY (e.g. using study material that is difficult to perceive); and 3) CONTEXT (e.g. changing up the location where people learn).
Regardless of whether your customers only interact with you in the digital world, physical world, or some combination of both, one fact remains true – building up loyalty among your customers/readers/users will always give you a competitive advantage.
Online advertising is coming up at an impasse. A revolution has already started to kill online advertising as we know it, and it is actually being led by some major players – Google, Apple, Netflix, Spotify, to name a few. Those companies are leading a revolution to remove advertising or at least offer consumers the choice to remove advertising from their online experience. They are empowering consumers to raise their expectations of what they want to experience online. Imagine, no more banner ads, pop ups, promoted posts, sponsored segments cluttering up your newsfeeds, websites, and playlists. Sounds like a no-brainer, but is it too good to be true?