Instinctual Persuaders


By Jen Michalski

Ten years ago a 20-year-old Mark Zuckerberg had just launched his new networking site, thefacebook, for his Harvard classmates. By the end of 2004, it had 1 million users, an office in Palo Alto and Zuckerberg was on his way to becoming a Millennial icon for starry-eyed wannabe…

Is Facebook becoming less about moments and more about milestones? Great stuff from mtvinsights
Getting Hooked On #BehaviorChange with @nirandfar

Behavior change is at the heart of what Draftfcb delivers to its clients and their customers, and it is what motivates us every day. As part of our mission, Draftfcb Chicago recently hosted Nir Eyal’s “Hooked” workshop, an event focusing on how to design compelling products and experiences to “hook” users, drive frequent engagement, and result in a behavior change that becomes a new, long-term habit.

Nir is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Techcrunch contributor, and product designer. His Hooked model can be broken down into four steps: close triggers, simple actions, surprising rewards and deeper investment. Its blend of technology and behavioral psychology, in a particular sequence, has driven the success of many startup businesses.

For example, take LinkedIn. Close triggers are about combining a compelling consumer need with the media that brings the user as close to the product as possible. LinkedIn leveraged our need to find out about someone and the medium of SEO. That combination led most people to encounter LinkedIn as a Google search result — and use the service before ever hearing a word about LinkedIn.

The next step, a simple action, is harder than it appears. Trying something new is risky. Most marketers attempt to overcome hesitation by trying to make the service more motivating; but behavioral economists have long known that the best way to make an action more motivating is to make it simpler. For LinkedIn, that simpler action was asking you to sign up for an account to unlock the full view of the user’s profile.

Surprising rewards are what happen next, and here the “surprising” element is critical. Yes, marketers must deliver on what they promise, but surprising rewards are three times more motivating than predictable rewards. What was surprising about setting up a LinkedIn profile? Seeing other people checking out your profile, an ongoing reward that was delivered to you through your email, driving you to return to the site.

Finally, marketers having delivered a surprising reward are well placed to get users to do some work themselves, to share some personal or social capital that creates more frequent triggers, and motivate more complex actions or more motivating rewards. Our willingness to share information with others is far higher after they have done something for us, especially if their action was unanticipated. For LinkedIn, the bit of work was asking you to import your contacts, so that they could connect you with others, creating more frequent triggers, more complex actions (completing your profile, step by step) and more surprising rewards (who saw your profile today?).

For marketers trying to drive long-term behavior change, the Hooked model shows the power of the right sequence of behavioral and psychological steps to shift services, like LinkedIn, from something nice to have, to something we feel compelled to check out multiple times a day.

Immortal Fans:  There’s no Cannes Lion for #behavioraleconomics but first up I might suggest Ogilvy Brazil’s “Immortal Fan” promotion.  

Sometimes behavioral economics and marketing can be boiled down to “doing the right thing for all the wrong reasons” and this is a perfect example.  Should you donate your organs to save someone else at sometime in the future or should you donate to affirm your identity today as a sports fan who wants to support their team for all time.  The former is definitely more noble, but the latter taps into our desire for immediate rewards that affirm who we really are.  And with organ donations up 50% its hard to question the motivations when the results are so spectacular

Getting to 10X Thinking
You hear a lot about 10X Thinking at Google’s campus in Mountain View, CA.  “Our number of employees has grown 10X since our IPO,” or “at the time, traffic to our servers was growing 10X.” It’s a phrase that gets peppered into a lot of conversations whenever the tone is one of pride.
For Google, 10X Thinking is the ultimate goal. Not optional, but mandatory for survival.  It’s not enough to get a little bit better every day.  As hard as it is to constantly improve, little improvements lead only to incremental change. (And as a reminder of what happens to tech companies that deliver only incremental improvements, there is a statue of a dinosaur at the center of Google’s campus in Mountain View.
I was introduced to 10X Thinking at Google’s IPG Creative Summit on May 22, where leaders from IPG companies such as Deutch, RGA, McCann, TP and Draftfcb gathered to hear how Google and creative agencies can partner together to bring 10X Thinking to our mutual clients.  The concept was outlined by Obi Felton, Director of Getting Moonshots Ready for Contact with the Real World (yes, that’s her title).  She’s from Google X, Google’s “Lab of Wildest Dreams;” their “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” filled with “Peter Pans with PhDs” and “Venture Academics.”
What is 10X Thinking?  At Google X, it starts with the belief that “a small group of committed people can change the world.”  The group focuses on huge problems that affect billions of people and require radical solutions and breakthrough technology.  The process is something like, two-thirds “Yes, and” followed by one-third “Yes, but.”   Projects move from idea, to prototype, to project; then graduation, before moving on to commercial application.  Prototyping is constant and essential. But Google fears they don’t prototype enough.  Yet the whole process is extraordinarily quick.  Within three to six months a project will be okayed or killed. Never for financial reasons, but because it’s either still impossible (energy from fusion) or the solution is more straightforward than previously realized (as discovered about indoor maps, where apparently it’s “just” a software problem, no new hardware required).
Can Agencies Deliver 10X?
Woah. But I’m just a simple ad guy. Agencies make content and software, not hardware.  And the last time I checked, no agency has $50b in cash reserves to throw at problems.  Are agencies even equipped to deliver 10X Thinking? 
The realization that agencies can indeed deliver 10X Thinking came from, of all things, popcorn.  Diamond Foods, who owned the Pop Secret brand of popcorn, showed how 10X Thinking can be brought to any problem, no matter how small the client or category.

Pop Secret started with the realization that they were not in the popcorn business, but in the movie-watching business. That’s when their product was consumed and the perfect movie night was the problem their fans most focused on.   Pop Secret began working not to deliver a perfect campaign, but to develop a series of ideas to see how they could solve their fans’ goal of the perfect movie night.  The work resulted in a bunch of prototypes developed into projects that were launched to the public:

  1. A browser extension let fans highlight any movie title and identify where on the web that movie could be streamed.
  2. A partnership with movie review site “Rotten Tomatoes” allowed fans to identify which movie critics share their taste in movies.
  3. Another partnership, with online dating site OkCupid, helped singles connect through their love of the same movies.

Rather than seeing these prototypes as one-off campaigns, Pop Secret viewed them all as attempts to innovate around perfecting the movie night.  All were housed on the Pop Secret’s lab website, so fans could try out these new innovations. 

Pop Secret’s 10X Thinking moment hadn’t come until they asked themselves: What’s the biggest problem with popcorn and movie night? 

The answer came not from some digital native, but an old account guy who asked the simple question: “Could someone come up with something to help me stop burning my popcorn in the microwave, because the smell stinks up the house for the whole night?”

That question led to the Perfect Popcorn app, an iPhone app that listens to the pops coming from your microwave to identify the precise moment when your Pop Secret popcorn is ready. To promote the app, Pop Secret released an auto-tuned song taken from tweets by people who had just burnt their popcorn in the microwave.
Why is this 10X Thinking? Is it a problem that affects billions of people?  No, but the defining feature of Google’s 10X Thinking isn’t the size of the problems that they apply it to, but it’s the fact they apply 10X Thinking to ALL the problems they encounter.  From organizing food in their cafeterias so that people will be more likely to choose the healthiest foods, to coming up with a self-driving car, the key motivator isn’t the size of the problem, but rather that every category, no matter what its size, has problems that deserve 10X Thinking.
10X Thinking isn’t easy, but it’s not just for tech giants.  We live in a world where incremental progress is no longer a way to sustain yourself long term.  If agencies forget that simple fact, they won’t need to put statues of dinosaurs in their lobby — they’ll be the dinosaur.

What do we remember?  People and Places: Example Dish’s “The Hopper”

I’ve been talking about what makes ads memorable a lot recently, but another nice example is Dish’s Hopper spot, if we remember people and places really well, what will make a new DVR feature more memorable than a heavily accented Boston family.  Good stuff

How Apple went from “think different” to “think like everyone else”

Adage called the new iphone5 ad a return to form, but I’m going to suggest its a massive failure of function.  For years, starting with “Think Different” through “Mac/PC” and even including Siri, Apple products were not for everyone, they were for creative people, albeit people everyone wanted to be like.  But with the latest ad, they may have returned to the simplicity of form that they are famous for, but have switched from social aspiration to social proof, ending with the line.  

 "Every day, more photos are taken with the iPhone than any other camera."

Social Proof is a great behavioral economic principle for marketers to tap into, its a proof point that brands like British Airways and Visa built a brand around; “if everyone else is doing it, it must be good” is a very reassuring positioning.  But its a massive fail if it ends up contradicting a brand positioning you’ve been building up for thirty years - “If people I admire are doing it, it must be great” 


By Jillian Curran, MTV Insights

We always pay attention when Millennials push a boundary, so most recently we’ve been looking at the generation’s relationship to diet and exercise regimes. Veganism, Juice Cleanses, and Gluten Free diets (used specifically for weight loss) are gaining…


Brilliant editorial design with an advertising idea built in.

You love it or hate it… err I mean HER. One woman, a nation divided. #MarmiteMargaret #theguardian via hallojo

The margaret/marmite ad: So smart, so creative and so fast


Brilliant editorial design with an advertising idea built in.


You love it or hate it… err I mean HER. One woman, a nation divided. #MarmiteMargaret #theguardian via hallojo

The margaret/marmite ad: So smart, so creative and so fast

Why is this ad comparing Kmart’s new service to feces? I was completely uninvolved in it, but here’s my thought on why it works.  In store shipping is not a hard sell, its a great solution to a common problem, but after decades of shopping, its hard to REMEMBER that new options are available.  That’s where rude humor comes in.  As memory expert Joshua Foer details in “Moonwalking with Einstein,” we have a hard time remembering concepts and numbers, but people, places, rudeness, humor, and above all else rude humor, are incredibly easy to remember.  Sometimes all advertising needs to be is memorable, and when that happens, its best to swoop low.

I always liked Svedka’s #1 Vodka of 2033 campaign; the mocking of vodka advertising conventions, hot babes and #1 accolades, but can also see the criticism, it basically bought into everything it was ridiculing, kinda like Stella Artois.  But whatever you thought, one thing I gave them credit for was a big idea, consistently executed and constantly refreshed.

What’s really disappointing is not that they’re abandoning it, but that what they’re replacing it with is so generic.  I miss Svedka already and can confidently predict they will no longer be the #1 vodka of 2033