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Touch And Taste And Your Wallet

In one study, people reacted more favorably to advertisements that emphasized touch and taste.

a wallet with a twenty dollar bill poking out

Photo: 401(k)2012 (Flickr)

The most effective advertisements target your different senses.

Whether you watch TV the old-fashioned way by flipping through the channels or if you prefer watching on-demand on your phone or tablet, there’s no escaping ads and commercials. More than ever, ads are everywhere you look.

Not all ads are equally effective at stoking your desire to buy things. A study by researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of Washington found that ads focusing on touch and taste influence people to make earlier purchases. Ads that highlight sight and sound, meanwhile, lead people to make later purchases.

Restaurants And Festivals

The study involved around 1,000 people who were shown a variety of ads. For example, the participants were shown two ads for a made-up restaurant. One emphasized touch and taste and the other showcased sight and sound.

The subjects were then asked to make a reservation for the restaurant on a six month calendar. Those who saw the touch and taste ad were much more likely to make a reservation sooner than those who saw the sight and sound ad.

Smoky, Sweet

Similarly, the participants also looked at ads for a summer festival. Those who saw an ad foregrounding taste and touch were more likely to say they wanted to attend the festival that very weekend. Those who saw the sight and sound ad were more likely to want to attend next year.

So, our senses of taste and touch seem to trigger more immediate action. A good thing to keep in mind if you’re an advertiser or a consumer.

Thank you to Ryan Elder of Brigham Young University for reviewing this episode’s script.

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