3 Age-Old Advertising Tricks

In my last post I spoke about how advertising agencies fool consumers into making purchases and I will be carrying on the theme today. While the industry has become more glitzy and more money is spent on advertising than ever before, the same old tricks are used to separate you from your cash. I expect these methods will still be used half a century from now even though it may be robot ad men doing the dirty work of the corporations.


In an era of processed garbage masquerading as food, consumers are still lured into buying something if it is ‘homemade’. Hovis was one of the best known proponents of this form of advertising as its ads always espoused the homemade nature of its bread. In the video posted below, you can see the famous ad where a young boy in a flat cap pushes a bike up a hill in Northern England. The tagline is ‘As good today as it’s always been’.

Perhaps that was the case back in the 1970s but not any longer! Unless you count assembly line workers trapped in a world of monotony placing food laden with preservatives into plastic packaging as ‘homemade’, the concept is rapidly vanishing. A frightening 70% of the average American diet is made up of processed food so the homemade bread you now eat is probably filled with a dozen additives.


Humour is another powerful way to sell products and was once a tool designed solely for the benefit of young male consumers. The famous Yorkie ‘not for girls’ adverts may have been sexist in a jokey kind of way but they were quite successful. Snickers has ran a series of funny ads featuring Mr. T imploring you to ‘get some nuts’ while McCoys proudly called their product ‘Man Crisps’.

It would appear as if consumers trust companies that show a sense of humour and this strategy continues to pay dividends today. As an aside, it seems as if comedy works in politics too since UKIP are clearly a joke of a political party, their members are prone to embarrassing gaffes yet their right wing star continues to rise.

Sexual Innuendo

This is perhaps the most obvious trick of them all. Corporations fall over themselves to cast attractive men and women in their ads and if these people are celebrities, all the better. Apparently, seeing attractive individuals in ads stimulates the areas of the brain that act on impulse thus bypassing the areas of our brain in control of rational thought. Stimulating images are better at opening our wallets than facts.

Therefore, telling us the scientific research which proves a certain cream makes your skin softer is not as good as showing a scantily clad Katy Perry rubbing the cream seductively on her upper chest right above her semi-exposed cleavage (I’ve just given advertising agencies their next idea by the way). As I have mentioned many times before, we make purchases on emotion and try to justify our lavishness with logic.

Perhaps in future articles I will experiment; instead of offering facts and evidence, I will just add random words and include images and videos featuring members of TOWIE, Geordie Shore and other talentless dreck.