Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Today I was thinking about advertising. You have a product or service, and you want to sell the product or service to willing customers. By letting those customers know of your product through advertising (i.e. at no direct cost to them) it is a win-win situation if you have a reasonable product the customers want, selling at a fair price they are willing to pay. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Scott Adams wrote a great piece called Today I Will Improve Your Sex Life. In it, he reports on some research findings stating "researchers asked people to write essays in support of a random point of view they did not hold. Months later, when surveyed, the majority held the opinion they wrote about, regardless of the topic. Once a person commits an opinion to writing – even an opinion he does not hold – it soon becomes his actual opinion. Not every time, but MOST of the time."
I wonder if anybody has attempted to take advantage of this....hmmm....what if i google +contest +"why you love" [whatever it is we're selling]. It seems there are a lot of places holding contests where you have to write them a letter/poem/etc on why you love (their product, or whatever they're supporting). There's one where somebody named Terry Lynch in Alabama has figured out how to have their cake and eat it, too, by starting a I Love the USA Contest that ultimately uses a psychological trick to get you to love the USA if you didn't already, and also charges a $5 fee to enter their contest (as many times as you want, $5 per shot), making them smell like a Vanity Anthology.
What kind of return on investment have these "why you love our product" contests reaped in the past? Are there any case studies? Is this an underhanded and immoral way to generate sales for your company? I say underhanded, because if the aforementioned empirical psychological evidence is true, this type of contest is effectively a 1984ish corporate behaviour modification program to create a loyal customer base. If you enter the contest without knowing the behavioral effect it will have on you, you are being hoodwinked into becoming revenue generating automatons for the corporate machine. I'm looking at you, Harry Potter. Keep your dark psychological manipulating magic to yourself!
Burton MacKenZie www.burtonmackenzie.com