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Game Theory and Advertising...Why?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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The ultimate goal of advertising is to convince the consumer that our brand's product will satisfy whatever want or need they are trying to fulfill. We match their interests with our product's features, and we overcome objections in order to close a sale.

In a sense, are we not trying to influence the consumer's best action considering the options around them? 

Welcome to the premise of game theory.

We had a spirited conversation about thinking and game theory the other night (Millennials and book clubs...how lovely!) and we remembered how much we loved the premise of game theory.

How would a player decide their best course of action — protecting self interest — while knowing your own gain or loss, but not knowing how additional players would move?

In advertising, we watered game theory down to WIIFM: "what's in it for me?"

Game theory is completely applicable to advertising because it examines how and why people make seemingly awful decisions. Preserving self-interest and thinking logically clash more than we think.

It is troubling to see professionals who come into the advertising world who think a few words, pretty pictures, and an Instagram photo is going to make your brand famous.

Not the case.

Let us continue to expand our minds with different material that will make us good marketers.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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