Monday, July 21, 2008

The Mall Is Going to Get a Lot Busier

The June 2008 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research apparently suggests that we're influenced by all those garish ads and loud noises. The implications are kind of scary.

Sure, we know enough not to fall for things like the word "HAPPY" superimposed over a product. When we're not distracted. However, when something else is demanding our attention, like a ringing cell phone or a crying baby, we're more likely to make impulse purchases and fall for basic advertising tricks that tell you a product will Make Your Life Better(TM).

This gives marketers absolutely no incentive to tone things down. The louder their ads, the more distracted you'll be, and the easier time they'll have selling things. No one will want to quietly represent their product's strengths at the point of sale, because evidence shows that they will lose out to their louder, pushier rivals who are just screaming "GOOD!"

However, the study did show that people who developed a preference beforehand weren't influenced more easily when distracted. This means that you can avoid getting suckered into purchasing something you don't want or need by doing your research first. Decide what you're going to buy only after you've researched all your options and are able to make a logical decision in an area that's free from distractions.

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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