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5 psychology tricks for your ads

Have you ever had that jingle of that commercial or the image of the mascotte of a brand pronouncing the payoff in a funny way stuck in your mind for weeks? It’s unbelievable how sometimes a limited number of words can fixate a brand in collective consciousness with such an ease.

What makes a marketing message so powerful? Sometimes science gives us the answer: psychology and marketing have always walked together, and we can’t deny that many brands use it to their advantage. There are a lot of psychology tricks for advertising that can make the difference between a good message and a memorable one. I am going to list the five most popular.


Abstract concepts are hard to memorise, but when you read a story, you picture those concepts in a potentially real situation, and this helps you understand them better and remember them on the long term. Differently to words and visuals, stories involve the whole brain, and the more parts of your brain are involved, the better you memorise the information.

Storytelling is not only popular in marketing, but also in politics: next time you listen to a speech made by a politician, try to spot the story they tell. The structure is always the same: a bad scenario, a protagonist that can change things, an antagonist to fight, a final resolution, and the good scenario restored.

Not long ago, I found a perfect example of storytelling in Obama’s inaugural speech:

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

The power of visual

There is a reason if we say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and it is because mankind learned to communicate visually first, and then verbally.

There is a phenomenon in psychology called picture superiority effect, which simply means that we find memorising pictures easier than memorising words, and this is also the reason why we tend to remember statistics when displayed in a histogram, rather than in a list of percentages.

If you include a great visual in your ads, you will have more chances to be noticed. My advice is: think creatively, and match your copy with a powerful visual.


Using rhyming words is one of the oldest psychology tricks for advertising: they create a powerful copy, easy for the brain to process, therefore easy to remember.

This is why you tend to remember the jingles of old TV spots: because they often rhyme!

Many experiments have been conducted, and they showed that if a person has to judge which one of two sentences is true, and the choice is between two phrases with the same meaning, but with one of them rhyming, they will judge the rhyming one true, or more correct than the other one, anyway.

Basically, it’s like when we hear something that sounds good, we have no doubt that it is good for real.


Touching the emotional sphere is like blowing on a fire: if you craft an emotional copy, rest assured that people will feel more sympathetic with your brand, and they will trust you. Emotions trigger impulses and leave a deep mark in people’s hearts.

According to psychology, when we make a decision because of an emotional trigger, it takes time to get back in control, but when this happens, we try to make up excuses and justifications with rational arguments to avoid the sense of guilt.

Remember we have 5 senses

Do you know why companies work so much on presentation and packaging? Because it is scientifically proven that when more senses are stimulated, the memory is also influenced.

The kind of paper, its feeling at the touch, its temperature, a sound, a taste, or a smell can significantly change human perception. That’s why you find perfumed pages in beauty catalogues or people offering you a sample of food in a bar or a supermarket.

Other psychology tricks for advertising

Are you interested in how psychology and marketing work together? I recommend you to read my post on impulse factors commonly used on landing pages and how to make a good storytelling. Don’t forget to let me know what you think in a comment!

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