Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why

By Max Sutherland; Alice K. Sylvester | Go to book overview
undergoing psychiatric therapy have been helped to 'recover' genuine memories or whether the memories have been accidentally created or altered in some way by the psychiatrist's questions.)The general point is that expectations can be set up by the syntax or by other means that can significantly influence the focus of our processing.
Silent signals
Our minds receive signals from communications indicating to us what we should presume to be new and what we should take as given. When we listen to a radio ad, the amount of vocal stress in each part of the sentence helps signal to us what is new and what is given.In written material and print advertising, it is the syntax and the graphics that provide the cues. For example, the position of an adjective can direct the focus of processing by signalling new information. Consider the statement 'Total clean Fab is gentler'. What is being signaled as new is that it is gentler than other washing powders.Placing the adjective before the noun (Fab) signals 'given'. Consider the statement 'Gentler Fab gives total clean'. What is now being signaled as new is that Fab gives total clean. The attribute of 'gentler' is still being communicated but this time as given information.In the last chapter we saw how our minds mentally process image ads and visual experiences quite differently from information ads. We can now see that information in ads can be processed by our minds in different ways depending on how directly or obliquely the information is asserted. What is involved here is a shift in our 'focus of processing' away from the information as new, to a focus on enjoyment, entertaining reminders or something else in the communication.Oblique, less heralding ways have the effect of not inviting the same degree of annoyance when the information is repeated nor the same degree of counter-arguing. Wrapping up old information in fresh ways is just one form of rendering the information oblique and less heralding.
Summary
In at least five ways ads can minimize how likely we are to counter-argue with their messages, hence influencing how we react to the ad overall.
1. By not making assertions;
2. By toning down the assertions;

-97-

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