Attention: How Do They Hold It?

“The real threat [to the advertiser] is the consumers’ mental machine guns, their very own personal defense departments that can shoot down messages at any given point. And there are only a handful of techniques today that are sophisticated enough to act as stealth bombers, dropping new messages behind the wall-escaping detection by consumers’ ever present radar!” J. Bond & R. Kirshenbaum [Julie Sedivy].

As advertisers have realized, not all ads are effective in motivating consumers to buy their products, new insightful techniques have been developed to help get the advertising message across consumer’s mental blocks and barriers. The use of orienting response was introduced; it is the reflexive, involuntary and sudden shift of attention due to a sudden change in the environment. Such orienting responses can occur due to sudden loud noises or movement, flashing lights and incongruity.

The use of incongruity is especially common in ads. A strikingly offensive absurdity is the application of women’s sexuality to promote products and services. This practice is widely used and is highly effective in attaining viewer’s interest. The use of women in ads is usually illogical and is meant to be that way to elicit viewer’s curiosity and maintain their attention enough for them to gain an idea of the product. The use of this shameless exploitation also services to help maintain a lasting memory of the encounter, as research shows that our memory retains information more so when it has been presented or paired with an absurd and unusual pairing [Julie Sedivy].

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