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Psycho Savvy

Contents Introduction .......................1 Subliminal Marketing .........3 Sex Sells ..............................7 Colour ................................11 Sensory Influence ..............15 Object Language ...............19 Terminology ......................23 Seasonal & Social Habits ...27


he purpose of the booklet is for you the consumer to gain knowledge about the types of manipulation you’re subject to everyday. This is a type of psychological manipulation. It supports the mass production of products causing stress on our planet’s eco system and well being. We all come into contact with various media messages and advertisements that influence us in some way. You may not think it happens to you, but on a subconscious level it does.


Simply by understanding the techniques exposed in this booklet you will be able to change the way you consume. Becoming ‘’psycho savvy’ will enable you to contribute towards lowering the demands of mass production, a sustainable cause. It’s a cost effective way of thinking and it works.


Subliminal Marketing ‘How the use of subliminal techniques can affect us’



e encounter subliminal messages almost every day. It might be a background noise, flick of an image or even an obvious statement. These messages trigger thoughts and emotions that we may think are our own, but have really been implanted in us. This is a very powerful tool that’s used by marketers to influence us into changing our minds, buying products and thinking differently. Subliminal advertising is illegal across the UK. But consider this; adverts still use emotionally driven imagery and enviable lifestyles within their content. We begin to associate products with pleasure and fall into the trap of desire.


Product placement has recently started to be used on television. This is when a brand will pay a TV show to have their product used in episodes by a character or presenter. Brands pay huge amounts of money for a chance to do this. This is a form of subliminal manipulation but is allowed onto our screens. The boundaries of subliminal usage seem to have been left in a grey area. We have to be aware that even though direct subliminal techniques are illegal, there are still many forms of manipulation that influence us. They don’t have to be hidden to affect you. How tempting does this drink look on a hot day?


Sex Sells ‘How the human body is used to seduce us’



he use of sexual hints in advertisement can be so powerful they have the potential to enhance our opinions and change our minds. Often shapes within imagery are sexually suggestive and can seem pleasing to look at. We won’t always notice a reference to sex but it can still effect us. The glorification of the supermodel image is used to portray perfect beauty. When associated with a product, sensual imagery can tempt us into a purchase. Often blindly led into thinking we can achieve, what we are told is, perfect beauty.


The use of pin-up girl type advertisement has been used for a long time. It continues to push boundaries and has become more explicit to keep up its influence. We are stimulated by these techniques and tend to remember more of what we’ve seen. This type of manipulation plays on our natural response to sex as a device to sell products. Being aware of this influence will help you make better decisions on the products you consume. Watch out for it.


Colour ‘The emotional power of colour’



e receive 80% of our information through what we see, making colour one of the strongest stimulants entering the brain. Colour can even affect us on biological levels, such as some red shades increasing the heart rate. Emotions can be driven by colour such as feeling happy, sad, excited or depressed. We also associate colour with certain values. Colours in our environment can change the way we act and feel. Consider this next time you are standing in a shop. How are the colours in here affecting me? Because I can tell you they have been specifically chosen to enhance the decisions you make.


Bright colours lure customers into shops. It may be raining outside, but inside it’s warm and bright. Positive conditions enhance behaviour. Colour is carefully chosen to attract different types of people. We all react differently depending on our gender, age and even culture. Often shop colours will enhance a products attraction to boost sales. Consider next time you buy something, how will this look when I take it home?


Sensory Inf luence ‘The insidious tricks of sound and smell’



ounds, smells and textures can also be used to manipulate our emotions. Consider how fast paced music and rhythmic beats can increase a flow of adrenaline. Sensory influences are used to help underline certain feelings when incorporated into environments. Why do some shops have a fresh bread smell wafting through the door as we walk past? Be aware of how these things are not coincidence but have been deliberately added, to encourage us to part with our hard earned cash.


Shop layouts are specifically designed to guide us in and around product shelving. Carpets are laid in places where people are lightly to browse. Cultural theme music enhances the mood along with aromatic smells that seduce the palette. It’s easy for the food market to take advantage of our fast paces life styles. The convenience of a quick snack in exchange for a few coins is an easy transaction. Think about the amount of money you could save by avoiding this type of influence. The sweet smell of confectionary to us is the sweet smell of success to the market.


Object Language ‘Our attraction to natural form’



e’ve all purchased needless products and suffered from the frustration. Impulse buying can be triggered by a natural attraction. Objects are designed to be pleasing even when they serve no real purpose. Products can literally talk to us whilst sitting on a shelf. Design elements such as shape and proportion are used to enhance our feelings. Shapes from nature, which we naturally find satisfying to look at, are used in the design of many products.


Some products can be so beautifully crafted and presented they’re a pleasure to behold. Today’s market is seeing the light weighting of many of its products. The convenience of smaller stronger products is highly desirable in comparison to older bulky models. Be careful of falling into the trap in which objects stand out because of their form. First find reason and function in the products you consume, these will last much longer in your possession.


Terminology ‘Persuasive language and tone’



anguage used in advertisement and print media can lead us into believing and feeling in ways we wouldn’t normally. Propaganda works on a level of influence and persuasion, making it hard for people to question what they see or hear. Direct statements may often seem like a waste of time, but are still noticed and understood well. Apple’s “If you haven’t got an iphone” advertisement suggests achieving superiority through ownership. This clever wording makes people feel like they’re missing out on something.


This picture shows how false emotions can be triggered by the use of large text and emphasis in a message. It portrays a heightened sense of urgency and the need to get rid of everything in the shop. This type of message delivery is associated with the chance to grab a bargain, which consumers can’t resist. Words like ‘friendly’ and ‘care’ are included in adverts to lure us into a sense of security and trust. Just by hearing these words we can be influenced emotionally; such emotions are very powerful.


Seasonal & Social Habits ‘With change & status comes demand’



easonal changes are a great way for shops to encourage the renewal of our possessions. Seasons bring change in weather and events, cold Christmases and hot summers. The perfect opportunity to launch and sell related products. Fashion drives the reason for seasonal change in new products, persuading us to let go of what we already have. Clothing, food, accessories and lifestyle is changed by seasonal themes.This can amount to social pressure through the trend to stay up to date. We are manipulated into buying social acceptance through new products and fashion. “She’s got one, I want one”



ere is a good example of how shop windows can spark thoughts of what we will be wearing this summer. It’s natural to want to look our best. Many of us fear becoming social outcasts due to the clothes and possessions we represent. This subject raises personal questions about relationships with others and being accepted for who we really are. There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about the things we own. But how would you feel about being unfashionable around those you look up to?



he ‘Pshyco Savvy’ logo is a symbol of sustainable philosophy. By avoiding psychological techniques used in retail, we can begin to lower manufacturing demands. The same demands that encourage labouring exploitations and environmental damage. This philosophy also promotes the preservation and reuse of products that already exist. This is another incentive contributing towards consuming less. For further information follow us on twitter @Psycho_Savvy

The Little Book of Consumer Manipulation  

The purpose of the booklet is for you the consumer to gain knowledge about the types of manipulation you’re subject to everyday. This is a t...

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