Appealing to consumers’ logical brain is often a hiding to nothing, while a human insight – even an unappealing one – can have a powerful effect on behaviour.
At Nudgestock (Folkestone, June 2019), Ogilvy’s annual behavioural science event, Richard Wise, a brand anthropologist at Geometry, set out five campaigns from big US brands that succeeded because they bravely looked beyond what seemed like a more sensible approach.
“Many times, the way to unlock its potential is, in fact, to get into very emotional, very irrational drivers,” he said.
“In each of the case histories, there’s a struggle on the part of the owner of the brand to connect with a human truth. And they’re so impressed with their rational benefit, so puffed up about it, they can't see the reality that’s right in front of them.”
When the Texas Department of Transportation wanted to reduce the amount of litter on its highways, it ran a “Keep Texas Beautiful” campaign. It ran for years, appealing to motorists’ pride in the state they call home. The effect? “It didn’t do shit,” Wise said.