How advertising works

The reality of advertising was well described by one writer:

  • The first time a man looks at an ad, he doesn’t see it.
  • The second time, he doesn’t notice it.
  • The third time, he is conscious of its existence.
  • The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it.
  • The fifth time, he reads the ad.
  • The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.
  • The seventh time, he reads it through and says, “Oh, brother!” 
  • The eighth time, he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”
  • The ninth time, he wonders whether it amounts to anything.
  • The tenth time, he will ask his neighbor if he has tried it.
  • The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.
  • The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.
  • The thirteenth time, he thinks it might be worth something.
  • The fourteenth time, he remembers that he wanted such a thing for a long time.
  • The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.
  • The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it some day.
  • The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum of it.
  • The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.
  • The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.
  • The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys the article or instructs his wife to do so.

To demonstrate how little advertising realities have changed over the years, it is worth noting that this description was written in London by Thomas Smith in 1885.

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