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Advertising is Science!

This afternoon I was speaking to Piete Blikslager about physics and how it is connected to everything. Piete is a smart guy, a wonderful writer, and a fantastic colleague of mine in the VCU ad program.  For me, the conversation solved a huge conundrum:  Advertising is science!

Newton’s first law says, “Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.”  Change the physics words to marketing words:  Every consumer in a state of uniform behavior tends to remain in that state of behavior unless a new force is applied to him/her. And, what is the “new force” that is applied to consumers to change their behavior? Advertising.
What if we aren’t trying to change a consumer’s behavior, rather we’re trying to get them to begin acting — from a non-acting position… or not in motion? Newton’s law also applies to objects not in motion (or objects in a state of motion with the speed of zero). Some ad theorists say that there are no instances when we are trying to get consumers to go from standing still to moving. Consumers are always moving; they always have inertia.
If you disagree, leave a comment and I’ll talk it over with Piete… he’s smarter than I am.
Check out this TED video to see more links between science and branding.
Dan Cobley makes an interesting presentation showing the connections between marketing and Newton’s second law, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, the scientific method and the second law of thermodynamics. Deep stuff.

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