The world is full of advertisements. They’re on television and radio, in newspapers and magazines. Advertisements catch our attention as we follow a bus, as we wait at the traffic lights, as we enter a mall. Even the packaging of products is an advertisement, designed with you—and your wallet—in mind.
The advertising industry uses several simple ploys to encourage you to say yes. When you understand how each one works, you can identify your area of susceptibility and perhaps learn to stand strong against persuasion.
Give and take
The basis of “give and take” relies on the understanding that if someone does you a favour, you’ll want to do a favour in return. One of the simplest examples of “give and take” is seen in the supermarket.
A product demonstrator will invite you to sample her wares—and, after you accept, will suggest you buy the product. Sometimes this comes with a further hook in the form of a discount voucher for a product. People generally don’t want to be thought of as free loaders, so will attempt to repay their “debts.”
Truths are us
We decide what is correct by noticing what other people think is correct. If everyone is behaving a certain way, most assume it is the right thing to do.
The implication is that others just like you believe in this product or service and are willing to use it, so you should too.
When knee-length pants worn with long boots became popular among her friends, Lana laughed and said she’d never wear them. But …
Within four weeks, Lana had succumbed and purchased a pair of pants and boots for herself. Her friends said the pants were the best thing ever and, despite herself, Lana concurred.
I like you, you like me
There’s nothing like a bit of flattery. Even when you know it’s not true, it’s still easy to get sucked in to buying the product or using the service, because you’ve been made, however temporarily, to feel good. A sales assistant tells you a garment looks like it was made for you; a make-up consultant insists you look like a different person after she’s “made you over”; a door-to-door salesman convinces you that you look great and will look even greater after you’ve bought the gym concession card he’s offering you at a never-to-be-repeated price. More likely, you’ll lie awake in the dark of night wishing you’d not been so gullible.
Used by a celebrity!
Once upon a time, endorsement of a product carried some weight. The person endorsing the product was familiar with, and often an authority on, the use of the product. These days, a high-profile “celebrity” figure is more likely to endorse a product. The funny thing is, they probably don’t even use it.
Companies compete to have their products endorsed by the hippest musicians and singers, the biggest movie stars, the hottest supermodels, and the latest TV and sports personalities. Product endorsements abound, all with the end goal in mind of making the consumer believe the product is more credible as a result of the endorsement.
There’s only one left
For some reason, opportunities seem more valuable when they are less available.
Hard-to-get things are perceived as better than easy-to-get things.
Lisa phoned several bookstores looking for a specific book for her daughter.
She wasn’t entirely certain she wanted to buy the book but she did discover in her search that it retailed for $19.99. When she finally found a store with the book in stock, she decided she’d invested so much time in the project that she may as well buy it.
Upon arriving at the bookstore, Lisa discovered the book was no longer $19.99, but a mere $2.50. The sales assistant told her the book was out-ofprint and expressed sorrow that so many little girls would miss out on the thrills contained within its pages. There were seven copies left. Lisa bought them all.
Before the transaction was completed, Lisa regretted her decision.
So there you have it: the five most common ploys used to entice you to part with your money. Which tactics are you most likely to succumb to? And now you know the tricks, perhaps you’ll be able to make smarter decisions when next you are tempted with a bargain.
With a bit of thought, you might even be able to say no more often!