Monthly Archives: May 2015

Red elephants: magical marketing unmasked!

?You can?t see the wood for the trees?!

Is a phrase that is used to describe cluttered situations. We often use this when we want to emphasise the level of information we have around a choice, when we are sorting the ?wheat from the chaff?.

Although we may be dealing with something in a cerebral way we still turn to visualisation to describe the process we are going through.

This is because our brains like pictures and wants to visualise what it?s dealing with. If I ask you not to think of a red?elephant, it?s almost certain that this image will pop into your head, even though red?elephants aren?t common!

So our brains are good with images but how much of what we look at, do we actually see?

I don?t mean notice I mean actually see.

Another phrase often heard when describing finding the solution to a complex problem is ?It suddenly jumped out at me?, again drawing on a visual description to communicate our experience.

A?small experiment

Go and stand in front of the nearest mirror stare at your eyes, then without moving your head flick your eyes from left to right, or right to left, flick them all around in randomness!

Ok so you’re back?-?did you ever see your eyes move?

Strange, you’re looking in a mirror directly at your eyes but you never see them move – when you stop moving them there they are just staring right back at you. However at no point did you experience not being able to see.


This is because the brain selectively blocks visual processing during eye movement, to avoid the distress of us experiencing temporary blindness it fills in the millisecond of lack of visual perception with the next thing you see.

This is what creates the illusion when magicians employ slight of hand, as they know if you follow their hands with your eyes, you can?t see the trick. It?s particularly impressive in close up magic, as you have no reason to move your head to ?follow the action?.

The movement of the eyes is called a saccade (pronounced sah-COD) and the trick your mind pulls to fill in the gap is known as saccadic masking.

When you combine this with the fact that our brains are constantly looking for patterns?- in fact they are wired to do so. For example, how often do you think random events are just a little to coincidental? Like when iTunes plays the same artist a couple of times over a few songs when you have selected shuffle.

The way our brain operates is the most vital element when considering the design of any marketing piece. Just as we carefully choose the words we use and our call to action, the placement of images font size and colour all are vital in getting a good response rate.

This goes for any medium be it print or screen, you can burn your marketing budget with bad design.?It won’t matter how much you spend on your campaign – if it just simply doesn?t suit the mindset?of the audience?the response rate will be hampered.

A tip for you.

If you are approached to advertise in a magazine, journal or brochure and decide that it is a good vehicle for your brand, when you purchase your space insist on a right hand page. Remember where the eyes stop is what the brain sees the most.

If you want your marketing to hit home…then use a marketer who can manage the environment and get you the best results.

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