Advertising Principles - Evidence-based principles

New section added on “Essays”

New section added on Essays added to Contributions page: Includes Wanamaker Letter, Advice to 2014 Super Bowl Advertisers, and this new essay on distraction.

Distraction in Advertising

Distraction is a popular advertising tactic that, when used properly, can be effective.  It should be avoided if people might be deceived into making poor decisions. To use distraction to deceive would be unethical and, if used by a business, would also likely harm long-run profitability. In my opinion, the primary value of distraction is to delight people who are making hedonic decisions. It is like the enjoyment one gets when magicians use distraction to deceive them, as described in “A Pickpocket’s Tale”.

In some cases it can lead people to make decisions that are good for them by distracting them from thinking about their objections. But it has also be used inappropriately some organizations, For example, some firms advertise their support of popular social causes so as to divert attention from their irresponsible behavior in other areas (Kotchen & Moon 2011). In addition, some advertisers use distraction in such a way that it distracts people from an important message in the advertisement.

For more on distraction, see Persuasive Advertising (pages 106-110).

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