How Advertising Works


The psychology of advertising is full of interesting theories investigating what makes advertising successful. Research suggests that the most important thing in creating adverts is the relevance of the product/service message to the target audience – it has to be the right message reaching the right people.

Psychology of colour, layout, typography and style all have an impact on the viewer, as well as choice of words and media. Think about traditional war posters, such as the “Britain needs you” poster. The type is arranged so that you read it first, the language speaks directly to you and the image points out of the page at you.

These psychological elements help build up the rest of the picture; the context and meaning by creating connotations. By connecting simple things together using different techniques, the advert can create familiarity, preference and desire for a product/service.

An advert can be well made and look beautiful, but if there isn’t a good idea in there, it won’t be effective. The idea is important because it makes the viewer react and feel something; and “anything will be remembered which awakens our emotions”. Evoking an emotional response is one of the most effective ways of advertising, especially when combined with the above psychological elements.

An advert is only striving to be remembered – its message and its product/service must evoke an emotion in a targeted audience through a controlled and defined path in order to be successful.

By Jessica Bradley


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