Why do Some Ads Make You Buy – and Others Turn You Away?

Have you seen the commercial with the guy in the toll booth? The guy takes a sly look back and forth, pulls out an Almond Joy candy bar, and palm trees suddenly fill the booth. It’s a well-executed ad, but why does the “unwrap paradise” theme not work for me?

Ad for Almond Joy and Mounds candy bars

One other thing I should mention: I like Mounds candy bars, the companion product in the ad. Maybe I’m just not motivated by the thought of plastic palm trees popping-up around my desk. Maybe it’s something else: That ad doesn’t really touch my senses – except that I do perceive the texture and scent of plastic palm branches when I see that ad.

Let’s try another one I’ve been seeing lately:

Ad for York Peppermint Patties

I like York Peppermint Patties too. Why does this ad make me hungry for them, when the other ad did nothing for me? For starters, it talked about a characteristic of the product (the “chill” of peppermint in your mouth). It also visually depicted that chill with a breeze in the woman’s hair.

Another difference between the two ads: The guy in the first ad struck me as snarky. The gal in the second ad struck me as simply enjoying what she was eating.

York Peppermind Patties Package

Bottom line: Here are the remains of the candy I bought this afternoon. Not only did the ad inspire me to buy the product, but it arguably helped me enjoy the product because I was reminded of the sensations depicted in the ad while I enjoyed the product itself.

Who knows, maybe it even planted a seed in my brain that will make me crave more of them next time I go shopping. That would be a very powerful feedback loop!

Which ad do you prefer – and more to the point: Which product would you buy?

2 thoughts on “Why do Some Ads Make You Buy – and Others Turn You Away?”

  1. I like the comparisons of the two ads. First and foremost, I agree that the peppermint commercial get’s my attention more than the almond joy/mounds.

    The girl’s eyes is the mechanism that draws you to that commercial.

    That’s just my opinion.

    Great post, thanks.


    1. Thanks for the comment Javier. You caught something I didn’t: While I was being annoyed by the plastic palm trees, you were noticing the eyes. In real life, that’s what would catch my attention too.

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