3 laws of advertising and our new habits: how does it work?
Why do some daily activities turn into a habit, while others do not? How to develop the habit of proper food, sports? The answers to these questions are well known to advertising specialists, and to some of the rules by which advertising campaigns are built, not less than a hundred years. How to use the experience of those who make us buy, to change their lives?
Sometime in the early 1900s, one prominent American executive by the name of Claude S. Hopkins received a new business proposal from his friend: he discovered a terrific product that, he said, was to be a sales hit. It turned out to be toothpaste - mint frothy substance called "Pepsodent."
At that time, Hopkins was at the top of the advertising industry, which a few decades ago did not even exist. It was Hopkins who persuaded Americans to buy Schlitz beer because he advertised that the company was washing bottles in a fresh pair, and forgot to mention that all other companies use the same method. He incited millions of women to buy Palmolive soap, saying, despite the protests of angry historians, that Cleopatra had washed herself in the same way. He turned dozens of previously unknown products into familiar names in everyday life.
However, when a friend suggested that Hopkins do Pepsode, the advertiser did not express much interest. It is no secret that at that time the state of the teeth of the Americans was terrible. People began to buy more sweet and ready-to-eat food. When the government began to recruit men for the army to take part in World War I, most had rotten teeth, and officials said that poor oral hygiene threatens national security.
The problem was that hardly anyone would buy toothpaste - despite all the bad teeth, Americans simply didn’t clean them.
"In the end, I agreed to take up the campaign if I get the opportunity to control the block of shares within six months," wrote Hopkins. A friend agreed.
In the five years of this collaboration, Hopkins turned Pepsudent into one of the most famous products on the planet. In addition, in the process helped to develop the habit of brushing your teeth, which captured all of America with gigantic speed. Soon everything — from Shirley Temple to Clark Gable — showed off their “pedestrian smile.” By 1930, Pepsodent was sold in China, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, and almost everywhere where Hopkins managed to buy advertising space.
A public opinion poll ten years after the first Pepsodent advertising campaign showed that brushing your teeth has become habitual for more than half of the American population. Thanks to the efforts of Hopkins to brush their teeth every day.
Later, Hopkins boasted that the secret of his success lay in the fact that he had found some sign and reward that nourished a certain habit. This mechanism is so strong that even today, its basic principles are used by video game developers, food manufacturers and millions of vendors around the world. So how did Hopkins do it?
To sell Pepsodent, Hopkins needed to find a motive, a rationale for the daily use of toothpaste. He was surrounded by a bunch of books on dentistry. “Empty reading,” he wrote later. “However, in the middle of one of the books I came across a mention of mucous formations on the teeth, which I later called“ bloom. ”This information gave me an interesting idea. I decided to advertise toothpaste as a beauty maker as a way of dealing with this muddy patina. "
Focusing on plaque, Hopkins closed his eyes to the fact that plaque always covered human teeth and still did not bother anyone. This plaque is a natural membrane that forms on the teeth, regardless of the food consumed and the regularity of tooth brushing. People have never paid much attention to him, so why would they care about it now: you can get rid of the plaque by eating an apple, rubbing your teeth with your finger, brushing them, or vigorously rinsing your mouth with liquid.
However, all this did not prevent Hopkins from continuing to exploit his discovery. Here is a sign, he decided, which will start the habit. And soon the streets of the cities were filled with billboards with the image of "Pepsodent."
"Run your tongue over your teeth," said one of them. "You will feel a raid - it is because of him that your teeth look dull and begin to collapse."
"Look at how many people with beautiful teeth are around," said another, with smiling beauties. "Millions of people are brushing their teeth with a new method. Why does a woman have dirty teeth? Pepsodent will remove it!"
The genius of these appeals consisted in the fact that they relied on a universal and very noticeable sign - plaque. If people were asked to hold their tongues in the teeth, they often fulfilled the request. After which, it is likely, felt raid. Hopkins found a sign - simple, for all ages and so easy to perform that, under the influence of this advertisement, people almost automatically performed the writing.
In addition, according to Hopkins, people received a very seductive reward. In the end, who does not want to be beautiful? Who does not want to have a gorgeous smile? Especially if all you need is to quickly brush your teeth with a Pepsodent?
The first week after the launch of the advertising campaign was calm. In the third week, demand rose sharply. Orders for "Pepsodent" has become so much that the manufacturer did not cope. Three years later, the product entered the international market, another ten years later, Pepsodent entered the list of best-selling products in the world and for more than thirty years remained the best-selling toothpaste in America.
"I earned a million dollars on Pepsudent," Hopkins wrote a few years after the product appeared on store shelves. According to him, the success consisted in "learning the right human psychology." Based on two rules:
The first is to find a simple and obvious sign.
The second is to clearly define the reward.
If you choose the right elements, then, as Hopkins promised, they will work like a magic wand. Look at "Pepsodent": it has a sign - plaque and a reward - beautiful teeth, which convinced millions of people to start brushing their teeth daily. Even today, the Hopkins rules are one of the main elements of textbooks on marketing and the basis of millions of advertising campaigns.
The same principles were used to create thousands of other habits. Often people didn’t even realize how closely they followed the Hopkins formula. For example, studies of people who have successfully turned new actions into a habit show that it is more convenient for them to stick to a developed plan if a particular sign is chosen (for example, to run immediately after returning from work to home) and a clear reward (say, a bottle of beer or an evening that can be held in front of the TV without guilt).
“Nowadays, advertising in the hands of some people is becoming a science,” Hopkins wrote. “Once risky, today advertising with proper leadership has become one of the safest business enterprises.”
Of course, this is pure boasting. Because, as it turned out, the two rules of Hopkins are not enough. There is a third rule that is necessary for creating a habit, and it is so elusive that even Hopkins relied on him unconsciously, without even knowing about its existence. It explains everything - starting with why it is so difficult not to pay attention to the box with donuts, and ending with the mechanism by which morning jogging can be a pleasant and familiar procedure.
Craving is an indispensable part of the formula for forming new habits, which Claude Hopkins, the creator of Pepsudent advertising, did not even suspect. So how did he manage to form such a strong habit of brushing his teeth, since he did not know anything about it?
In fact, Hopkins' work on Pepsodent was not as straightforward as he portrayed in his memoirs. Although he boasted that he had discovered an amazing sign in plaque, and boasted that he was the first to offer consumers a clear reward in the form of beautiful teeth, it turns out that he did not invent this tactic. Not at all. "The white enamel of your teeth is hidden under the bloom," says an advertisement that appeared at a time when Hopkins was just looking through dentistry textbooks. "Sanitol toothpaste will quickly restore the original whiteness and remove plaque."
Dozens of other advertising specialists used the same words as Pepsudent advertisements, long before Hopkins entered the game. Their advertisements promised to remove plaque from the teeth, and as a reward they set out beautiful white teeth. And none of them worked. However, as soon as Hopkins launched his advertising campaign, Pepsudent sales sped up. What is the difference?
And the fact that "Pepsodent" formed a passionate desire.
In none of his autobiographies did Hopkins mention Pepsudent ingredients. However, in the list of ingredients of this paste, registered in the patent office, and in the company's records, you can find a curious thing: unlike other toothpastes of that time, Pepsodent contained citric acid, mint oil and a number of other substances. The inventors of "Pepsudent" added them in order to give the toothpaste a fresh taste, but as a result got another unexpected effect. These substances irritate the taste buds and create a feeling of coolness and tingling on the tongue and gums.
After Pepsodent took a leading position in the market, researchers from competing companies began to go out of their way to find out the reason. They found that, according to the buyers, if you forget to use Pepsodent, you immediately realize the mistake, because you lack this cool tingling sensation in your mouth. Consumers waited - and longed for - to feel this tiny annoyance. Without it, the teeth seemed to them not clean enough.
Claude Hopkins did not sell beautiful teeth. He sold a sensation. As soon as people began to dream passionately, they felt a tingling sensation — and as soon as they equated it with clean teeth, brushing their teeth became a habit.
He created a craving. Which, as it turned out, triggers signs and rewards. It is this craving that gives strength to the loop of habit.
Other companies, after finding out what Hopkins actually sells, began to imitate him. A dozen or so years passed, and practically any toothpaste contained oils and substances that cause a slight tingling sensation in the gums. Even today, almost all toothpastes contain additives, the only task of which is to cause tingling in your mouth after use.
“Consumers need some kind of signal - proof that the product is working,” Tracy Sinclair, brand manager of toothpaste Oral-bi and Crestkyd explained to me. “You can create toothpaste with any taste — blueberries, green tea, - and, if it has a cool, tingling taste, people think that they have their teeth cleaned. Tingling does not increase the effectiveness of toothpaste, but only convinces people that the product performs its function. "
Everyone can use this basic formula and thus form their own habits. Want to do more sports? Choose a sign, for example, going to the gym immediately after the morning rise, and the reward - say, a fruit cocktail - after each session. Then think about the cocktail or the release of endorphins that you feel. Allow yourself to anticipate the reward. In the end, her passionate desire will ease your daily journey to the gym.
For companies, the understanding of the desire mechanism became a real revolution. There are dozens of rituals in our lives that we are forced to perform daily, although they never become a habit. We need to monitor salt intake and drink more water. Should eat more vegetables and less fat, take vitamins and use sunscreen. Although everyone brush their teeth, less than 10 percent of Americans use sunscreen every day. Why?
Because they are not eager to turn the application of sunscreen into a daily habit. Some companies are trying to deal with this by adding components to sunscreens that cause a feeling of freshness or something else and make people feel that they have applied a remedy. Manufacturers hope that this feeling will become a sign of expectation, just like a passionate tingling sensation reminds us that we need to brush our teeth. A similar tactic is used to promote hundreds of other products.
Craving is what drives habits. And if you figure out how to cause this desire, it will be even easier to form a habit. Today, this is as true as a hundred years ago. Every night, millions of people rub their teeth to feel tingling in their mouths. Every morning, millions of people wear sneakers to get the portion of endorphins they have learned to want.