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

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

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

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


By the time we die, we will have spent an estimated one and a half years just watching TV commercials. Advertising is an established and ever-present force and yet, as we move into the new century, just how it works continues to be something of a mystery.

In this 3rd international edition of Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer, renowned market researcher and psychologist Max Sutherland reveals the secrets of successful campaigns over a wide range of media, including the web and new media. Using many well-known international ads as examples, this book takes us into the mind of the consumer to explain how advertising messages work - or misfire - and why.

Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer is not just a 'how to' book of tricks for advertisers, it is a book for everyone who wants to know how advertising works and why it influences us-for people in business with products and services to sell, for advertising agents, marketers, as well as for students of advertising and consumer behaviour.

"Essential reading for all practitioners and everyone interested in how advertising works ..." - John Zeigler, DDB Worldwide.

"Finally, a book that evades the 'magic' of advertising and pins down the psychological factors that make an ad succesful or not. It will change the way you advertise and see ads." - Ignacio Oreamuno, President,

"... reveals the secrets of effective advertising gleamed from years of sophisticated advertising research. It should be on every manager's bookshelf." - Lawrence Ang, Senior Lecturer in Management, Macquarie Graduate School of Management

"Breakthrough thinking. I have been consulting in the advertising business and have taught graduate level advertising courses for over 20 years. I have never found a book that brought so much insight to the advertising issues associated with effective selling." - Professor Larry Chiagouris, Pace University

"Puts the psyche of advertising on the analyst's couch to reveal the sometimes surprising mind of commercial persuasion." - Jim Spaeth, Former President, Advertising Research Foundation


The subject of advertising seems to be riddled with mystique and apparent contradictions. This book resolves some of those contradictions. It had its beginnings in regular columns for various trade publications and journals.

This book is not just aimed at advertisers and their ad agencies but also at the people to whom they advertise. As David Ogilvy, a leading advertising expert, said (in the chauvinistic 1960s): 'The consumer is not a moron. She is your wife!' Our wives, our husbands, our partners, our children are all consumers. The consumer is not an idiot. The consumer is you and me.

Many years ago the advertiser's dilemma was expressed in this way: 'I know that half my advertising is wasted—but I don't know which half!' But developments in market research are beginning to change all that by better enabling advertisers to identify what works and what doesn't. This book draws on the experience of tracking week by week the effects of hundreds of advertising campaigns over a period of more than fifteen years.

Almost everybody is interested in advertising. The average consumer is exposed to hundreds of ads every day. By the time we die we will have spent an estimated one and a half years watching TV commercials. Yet advertising continues to be something of a mystery.

The response 'Gee, I didn't know that' to an advertisement tends to be the exception. A round trip special price to New York for $400 is news. Ads that announce the release of new products like iPhone, the Segway, self cleaning windows or voice-operated com puters are news. And if we are someone who is compulsive about germs maybe Mr Clean with a new disinfectant that kills germs 50 per cent better than the old Mr Clean might also be news. With news advertising we can easily recognize the potential of the advertising to affect us.

But most advertising is not 'news' advertising. Much of the advertising we encounter doesn't impart news and it is difficult for us to see how it works on us. As consumers we generally believe it does not really affect us personally. Despite this, advertisers keep on advertising. So something must be working—but on whom, and exactly how?

This book demystifies the effects of advertising and describes some of the psychological mechanisms underlying them. It is written primarily for those who foot the bill for advertising and those who produce advertising. In other words, for those many organizations involved with advertising—the marketing directors, marketing managers, product managers, advertising managers, account execs, media people and creatives. However, in the various editions it has also been read by many interested consumers who wonder how advertising works and why advertisers keep on advertising. Understanding the mechanisms and their limitations tends to lessen the anxieties we may have about wholesale, unconscious manipulation by advertising.

It may come as a surprise to many consumers that those who foot the bill for advertising are often frustrated by knowing little more than the consumers themselves about how, why or when their advertising works. Advertising agencies, the makers of advertising, also know less about these things than we might think. They are seen as wizards at . . .

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