How does advertising work?

It works the same way as every other purchase decision.

Every purchase decision is a combination of  ‘desire’ and ‘permission’.

Without those two elements nothing happens.

If you want to buy something, but you can’t justify it in any way, you don’t buy it.

If you can justify buying something, but you don’t want it, you don’t buy it.

It’s that simple.

You’ve got to want something, and it’s got be okay for you to have it.

The ‘desire’ part is the right brain: the emotional part.

The ‘permission’ part is the left brain: the rational part.

The emotional side of your brain wants it.

The rational side of your brain says whether you can have it.

Think of the traditional car ad.

Big beautiful shot of a sexy looking car on the left hand page.

All the statistics on the right hand page (5 bearing crankshaft, 16 valve engine, double overhead-camshafts, ABS, SIPS, etc., etc.)

What makes your emotional side want the car is the big beautiful photo.

But your rational side won’t let you buy a car just on what it looks like.

So your rational side has to be reassured by the statistics on the other page.

Without the beautiful photo, your emotional side wouldn’t want the car.

Without the statistics as evidence, your rational side wouldn’t be happy to part with the money.

Now because not every purchase decision costs as much as a car, it’s not always as obvious as that.

It might be much more subtle and sophisticated.

But with everything, from a chocolate bar to perfume, there has to be desire, and there has to be permission.

And that’s not just true of advertising.

That’s true of every single decision you make in your life.

From the day you’re born until the day you die.

Desire, permission.

Advertising is the same as everything else.