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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