The theory of advertising - (1921) PDF by Walter Dill Scott

The psychology of advertising

The psychology of advertising

a simple exposition of the principles of psychology in their relation to successful advertising

Excerpt from the author's introduction
the typical businessman is an optimist. For him, the future is full of possibilities that never have beef! realized in the pst. He is not, however, a daydreamer, but one^who uses his imagination in formulating purposes that lead to immediate action. His power of execution often surpasses that of his imagination, and he is frequently surprised to see his vision realized in less time than he had even dared to hope.

The advertiser may well be regarded as typical of the class of American businessmen. At a time when advertisements were poorly constructed and given limited circulation, certain enterprising men saw the possibilities of advertising and began systematically to improve the whole profession of advertising.

Artists were employed to construct appropriate illustrations, and skilled typographers vied with each other in setting up the text in the most artistic and legible manner possible. The business system was used to ascertain- ing the amount of circulation of various publications as well as the kind of circulation. Advertisements were keyed, and other means were employed to discover the exact value of each style of advertisements and of each medium in which advertisements were inserted.

The time is not far away when the advertising writer will find out the inestimable benefits of a knowledge of psychology. 

The preparation of copy has usually followed the instincts rather than the analytical functions. An advertisement has been written to describe the articles which it was wished to place before the reader; a bit of cleverness, an attractive cut, or some other catchy device has been used, with the hope that the hit or miss ratio could be made as favourable as possible. But the future must needs be full of better methods than these to make advertising advance with the same rapidity as it has during the latter part of the last century. And this will come through a closer knowledge of the psychological composition of the mind. 

The so-called "students of human nature" will then be called successful psychologists, and the successful advertisers will be likewise termed, psychological advertisers. The mere mention of psychological terms — habit, self, conception, discrimination, association, memory, imagination and. perception, reason, emotion, instinct, and will — should create a flood of new thought that should appeal to every advanced consumer of advertising space. Previous to the appearance of this article (March 1901) there had been no attempt to present psychology to the business world in a usable form. As far as the advertiser could see all psychologies were written with a purely theoretical end in view. They contained a vast amount of technical material devoid of interest to the layman who struggled through the pages. This condition made it quite difficult for the businessman to ex- tract that part of the subject which was of value to him.

Contents of the book

II. Introduction 1
II. Perception 6
III. Apperception 19
IV. Illusions of Perception . 31
V. Illusions of Apperception 41
VI. Personal Differences in Mental Imagery 56
VII. Practical Application of Mental Imagery 67
VIII. Association of Ideas 86
IX. Fusion 96
X. Memory Ill
XI. The Feelings and the Emotions 12^
XII. Appeals to the Customer's Sympathy 137
XIII. Human Instincts. 149
XIV. Suggestion 173
XV. The Will: an Analysis 186
XVI. The Will: Variety in Action 197
XVII. Habit .215
XVIII. The Habit of Reading Advertisements 222
XIX. The Direct Command .233
XX. The Psychological Value of the Return Coupon . . . 247
XXI. Attention 260
XXII. Attention Value of Small and of Large Spaces ... 283
XXIII. The Mortality Rate of Advertisers 302'
XXIV. The Value of Advertising Space Next to Reading
Matter 311
XXV. Psychological Experiment 324
XXVI. The Psychology of Food Advertising 335
XXVII. The Laws of Progressive Thinking 358
XXVIII. The Unconscious Influence in Street Railway Advertising 366
XXIX. The Questionnaire Method in Advertising .... 375
XXX. The Social Service of Advertising. ' 395
XXXI. Bibliography 409

Author: Walter Dill  Scott
Publication Date:1921 

Walter Dill Scott was one of the first applied psychologists. He applied psychology to various business practices such as personnel selection and advertising

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