In-Scope: 7 times I’ve experienced perception marketing

Daisy Huang is a Strategist for OMD Sydney, bringing forward-thinking direction and strategy to a multitude of client challenges.

I hate listicles, but apparently the people love them. Ideally, when this is shared on social media, the caption says, “You won’t believe number 3!!”
And if it does, and that’s how you’ve landed here, let the record show that I have not even thought about what number 3 will be yet.

Okay so here it goes, 7 times I’ve experienced perception marketing.

1. “You won’t believe number 3!!”

I’m telling you now, number 3 on the list is NEVER unbelievable.

2. Big bright sale tags.

Firstly, let me just say, I LOVE the supermarket. But, boy, does he play games with me sometimes. Our minds are conditioned to see sale tags and process “SICK DEAL!” to the point where we’re often not stopping to wonder (or do the math to determine) whether we have truly encountered something that could be classified as a “sick deal” (exhibit A), or not (exhibit B)

Another similarly embarrassing phenomenon goes like this: Coupons that were mailed out with printing errors that provide no savings, produced the same customer response as those that did.

3. I laugh when they play a laughing track.

And sometimes it just isn’t funny.
Unfortunately, we’re all inherently conformists (to a varying degree – I hate listicles, remember?), so when we see others behaving a certain way, we view this behaviour as the right behaviour. The more people doing it, the right-er it seems to us. If everyone started saying “right-er”, you might start saying it too.


4. “Only 1 left!”

The most anxiety inducing words to see while browsing online, looking at a dress that I wasn’t sure I wanted until the website told me there was ONLY 1 LEFT.
A sense of urgency puts the ultimatum in our minds of “now or never” and who could bear the regret of never?

5. Ikea

Couldn’t tell you a single time I’ve walked in and out of Ikea without accidentally also buying at least 6 candles and 3 unnecessary kitchen utensils. Ikea sets their store out in a way that is designed to confuse you.

Interestingly, this is called the “Gruen Transfer” and is where the show’s name comes from. These designs disorientate and distract you of your original intention, making you tempted by more items that you need.


6. That makeup ad featured a tanned Asian girl.

Casting in marketing material takes a lot of time. An ad will try to appeal to their audience on two levels – someone like them, or someone they aspire to be (sometimes the tanned Asian is the former and sometimes it’s the latter, so in my case, it’s a win-win for them.) Adjacent to this, the faces you see in ads are carefully chosen based on a huge criteria. For instance, unfortunately some people just look more trustworthy than others.


So, there you have it. 6 times I’ve experienced perception marketing.

…Doesn’t quite have a nice ring to it, does it? 6 just doesn’t sound like all that much for some reason.

“7 times I’ve experienced perception marketing.”

Seven. Sounds substantial. And authentic. And is the world’s favourite number, apparently.
Yeah, I’ll go with that instead.

If I’d left it at 6, would you have perceived this the same way?

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