What Makes Us Buy What We Buy?

I’ve decided to take a turn with this post. I have recently read a book by Paco Underhill called “Why We Buy—The Science of Shopping.” Although a little dated, this book is interesting in that it contains research of what make consumers do what they do. Do we buy certain items just because our friends recommend them to us? Well according to Underhill, there are a number of reasons why “demand” is the way it is for certain products. Some of the main reasons he described for why we buy were item positioning, the butt brush, internet use by businesses, and, of course, ADVERTISING. Item positioning describes placing different products around the store according to the guidelines researchers and “trackers” (the shopper-watchers) make. For instance, stores should place toys and dog food on the middle and bottom shelves so they can be accessed by the dominant consumers (older people and children). You may think children have no power since they have no money, but if you read the book, you would see the evidence that the power of the toddlers amazing. Needless to say, I suggest that all future advertisers read this book for further information. It’s not a bad read. It’s actually like 15% data and 85% Underhill talking about his experiences with watching consumers react to small changes that make a big difference with business. The other topics seem to stray away from The ADdict’s theme, but the you can’t talk about shopping without talking about what I, as an advertising major, will set out to do in the future: make a difference in people’s opinions about products.

Underhill talks about how advertising is a very effective phenomenon. The right advertising in the right spot of a store or online will get consumers to do just about anything you want them to (at least to an extent). I’m not saying that people do not have their own minds; they can just easily be altered by the hundreds of thousands of advertising messages they view each week, consciously or subconsciously.

For all you future advertisers out there, you will want to know about the two main ways advertising works.

The first way is what many may think is the dominant tactic companies you when they want you to buy something. This is push advertising. You know that feeling of insecurity and violation you may have at the end of watching a commercial that is PUSHING you to do something? Well although it may see obnoxious, it is rather effective. Here is a popular example:

Here is moderate, and humorous, example:

Now you have probably guessed the second method advertisers use to get your attention and get you to buy something. This is pull advertising. It’s when the ads try to get you to get their product by appealing to your emotions, morals, rationality, values, etc. Here is a great example from advertisers for Orlando, FL.

There’s a saying that advertising either PUSHES you to buy something or PULLS at your heart strings. Underhill reviews the topic of advertising placement and how it helps products get sold. Before an ad can be placed, we have to work to make the advertisement be scene, analyzed, and effective. We have got to use the right methods to get our ideas across. Although this may be my final post for the course I’m taking (that made me start The ADdict), I plan on posting a lot more in the future. Pick up Underhill’s book (PUSH). All your future audiences will want to know that their favorite advertisers care about why they buy (PULL).

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment below. I’ll be back with more advertising commentary, news, and information

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Refined Advertising: Turning ads into artwork

Credit: La Curacao

As I have stated before, I admire the ability of AdsoftheWorld to constantly produce monthly advertising showcases that display the ability of advertisers to effectively utilize a medium (print, video, etc.) to convey their respective messages. To pay homage to them and their talent, I am posting a series of advertisements that I believe effectively use art to make a simple ad concept more appealing. The above advertisement is for a hispanic department store chain that is headquartered in Los Angeles. They sell many different items, including this blender. The name of the image is “Naranja con Zanahoria” which means “Orange with Carrot”(representing a couple of things that can be blended to make a shake or smoothie in one of their blenders) in Spanish. The tagline of the advertisement is “Mezcla es un arte” which means “mixture is an art”. I agree with this statement, and the mixture of advertising with art is a skill that can make for a very effective tool of persuasion.



BFW Badminton: This advertisement for the Badminton World Federation makes great use of action lines to bring life to a sport that some people may look at as casual and not very competitive. People actually put forth as much effort, if not more, than a volleyball player would in a professional match. This ad helps show that the sport can be much more exciting than it may seem.



Purell Hand Sanitizer: This advertisement surprisingly doesn’t draw a completely grotesque image that scares consumers into using their product. Instead, the creators of this ad decided to go in another direction and went with a simple portrait of awareness. The hand depicted in this ad contains various images of all of the things you may come in contact with in the course of a day. Some of the things, as people may not be aware, have germs on them and can potentially harm them




Invaders Pest Control: The simplistic artwork used in this advertisement drives the point what the business is trying to accomplish. The mosquito is being disintegrated and basically removed completely. When the image of disintegration comes to mind, you think about Marvin the Martian with a ray gun leaving only a pile of dust. I believe that was the message that they were trying to convey: When you enlist the services of Invaders, they set out to completely remove any pest you may have in your house/office/other space.




Anthropomorphism, or the appearance of human traits or emotions in a non-human entity, is used in this commercial for Maynards wine gums. Maynards is a candy manufacturer based in the United Kingdom and Canada. Their main candy is wine gums, so it makes sense to portray their candy in the way that they do in the commercial. The mouth and the gummies are given human bodies, and the mouth exhibits an unrelenting desire to eat the candies. He chases them around any location the candies may be; whether it may be in a tennis court like they are in this commercial, a park, a fishing hole, or anywhere else. The gummies show fear and run off every time one of them may spot their hungry pursuer. I think this is an interesting way to show consumers that their candies are both delicious and in high demand. It’s goofy, but effective.

For reference, here’s the link again to the page that inspired this post: www.adsoftheworld.com