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How Ads Can Capitalize on Consumers' Poor Thinking
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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How interesting is it to discover that some human behaviors occur commonly amongst us regardless of intellect, social status, race, or other demographic indicators? In several instances, humans can simply act like humans — completely irrational, yet confident in their ultimate decision.

Truly, we are fascinating creatures.

As we have mentioned time and again throughout our happy years here at Talent Zoo and Beyond Madison Avenue, we love diving into the human psyche and discussing why humans make the decisions they do based on specific stimuli. Though it could be argued that we are the most superior animal on the planet today, it would be hard to establish the conclusion that we are the most superior being. When you read case studies about our flawed thinking as humans, it quickly humbles one to the point of curiosity — what type of useless or irrelevant data can influence our decisions? What important data are we leaving out?

One of our favorite blogs, Freakonomics, briefly examined those questions when it covered "What Makes a Smart TV Ad" in a podcast. We recommend you listen to it, because it features Harvard economist Dan Gilbert, and he explains the trends people are generally accustomed to following.

Some of Gilbert's reactions and discoveries are ones we have previously covered. We have seen that people are more optimistic for the future versus about what they thought happened in the past. The previous statement is two-pronged, because not only is the future perceived to be better than it really will be, the past is typically not remembered as well — or as badly — as it was.

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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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