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Be Wary of Your Emotional Responses

newVideoPlayer( {"type":"video","player":"http:\/\/www.youtube.com\/v\/nnsSUqgkDwU&hl=en&fs=1&hd=1","customParams":[],"width":500,"height":332.5,"ratio":0.615,"flashData":"","embedName":null,"objectId":null,"noEmbed":false,"source":"youtube","wrap":true,"agegate":false} ); No ad is more effective than one that makes you feel something because emotion and memory are tightly linked (more on this here). The video on the left belongs to Google and is considered to be one of the best commercials that aired during the 2010 Super Bowl. It uses search strings to tell how a young man goes to Paris, meets a women, falls in love with and marries her, and they start a family. What makes this ad so good is that it not only made many people feel good, but it also demonstrated 1) how Google works, and 2) that Google appears to be an effective way of finding any information you might need throughout your lifetime. Does it tell you whether or not Google is better than another search engine? No. Does it provide you with any potential downsides to using Google, such as whether or not the search results were actually useful? Of course not. It shows you that Google can find lots of different kinds of information and it makes you feel something to be sure you remember it. You may even remember that the scenario describe in an ad happened to you.

If you've ever purchased movie theater popcorn—which is among the unhealthiest foods you can eat (not to mention overpriced)—or chosen something pretty over something functional, you've made an emotional choice based on desire rather than thinking about it logically. This is not to say emotions are bad, but that without a balance of emotion and logic you might not always make the best choices. Emotional ads try to capitalize on that phenomenon. An effective ad gets you to buy the product, not buy the product and be happy with it. When you have an emotional response to an advertisement, you need to be wary of any decisions you want to make regarding the product it's selling.

The arousal of emotions passes with time, and so there are a couple of good things you can do to avoid any negative results. First, when thinking about buying something you want to identify whether your motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic. David Carter explains:

Intrinsic motivation is represented by self-acceptance, affiliation, and community feeling. Extrinsically-motivated people, on the other hand, focus on financial gain, their appearance, and social popularity. They generally seek acceptance by something or someone outside themselves.

If your motivation is extrinsic, chances are you want to avoid purchasing this thing you believe you want. Desire can be a powerful thing for people, and consumer addiction is a problem, so another tactic that can help is to enforce a mandatory holding pattern on your spending. Basically, the idea is that you require yourself to wait 48 hours before deciding whether or not to make a purchase. If you think you'll need help with this, find a friend who can hold on to your credit card. Make them the gatekeeper to your purchases. If you truly have an addiction to spending it's not going to go away immediately. Get someone you trust to help you out.

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