The classic image of someone who has gone classically and irrevocably paranoid in modern popular culture usually involves a secret home hidden from civilization and a tinfoil hat to protect them from powerful well-funded organizations who are working diligently to read and manipulate their thoughts using electromagnetic radiation.
Well it turns out that they might be closer to the money (pun discovered upon review) than we think. Many firms and business schools employ professional psychologists for the express purpose of understanding consumer behavior and appealing to the deeper - more action-inducing - parts of the human brain. According to this study, some are even going so far as to coax out the hidden connections between different senses. And, of course, we all know that advertisers have been broadcasting over radio and television waves for many years - and now as wi-fi and bluetooth increasingly personalize the reception of these radio waves, one is tempted to wonder how long before they come after our thoughts directly, say pass me that box that says Reynold's on it would ya?
But seriously, advertisers are interested in our emotions and and our thoughts for very lucrative reasons. They know that the right appeal can make all the difference between a flop and a hit. That's why in this Asics ad the marketing team makes use of a few basic rules:
1. Don't hit the nail too hard on the head - when people know you are trying to sell them something they use a little more caution about what they take away from it. Asics hides their brand identity by putting the logo at the bottom, for the viewer to discover after the punchline.
2. Get some action going - this ad almost physically draws the observer in with boldly shaped text bounding into the distance and mirroring the active mid-air stride of both dog and runner.
3. Use an animal - people pay attention to animals and children
4. Be funny - This ad purposely takes the standard motivation for running - self-improvement, personal ambition, and inward-facing experience - and inverts it in a dichotomy that is striking --- don't run for you, run for your dog.
The problem with analyzing a final product is that there's no easy way to tell how much of it was intentional. Perhaps it was just a couple of designers playing around with photos and lettering in Adobe who came up with a cool mix of message and visual (something that just "clicked" for them, perhaps). But at the same time maybe there really was a phalanx of lab-coat-wearing evil scientists using EEGs and fMRIs to tweak the ad into just the right message. There's just no way to know for sure.
So what do you think? Post your response in the comments - I'll be under the Washington Avenue bridge wearing this cool new hat I made.