Advertising is both an art and a science, so it makes sense that we use both our Pantone swatch books and PSY101 notes when creating campaigns. In fact, trying to understand how the human mind works has been part of advertising for so long that a 1957 book called "The Hidden Persuaders” chronicled how some agencies back then employed psychologists to help their creative teams come up with concepts that were more likely to resonate with target audiences (the TV show “Mad Men” touched on this as well in Season 4).
One of the psychological principles that are most commonly used in advertising is called the Rhyme as Reason Effect, and it’s the inspiration behind our latest Instagram (@agency15) #Chapter15, which is created by two members of our team whose names rhyme. They took those visual brainteasers we all did in school and created the answers based on common rhyming terms and phrases.
“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.” “Nothin’ says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven.” “Do you Yahoo!?” These advertising slogans, though for different products, all have one thing in common: they’re easy to remember because they rhyme, and this is what the Rhyme as Reason Effect is all about. It’s a cognitive bias (a fancy phrase to describe how our brains perceive and process stimuli) for how we tend to remember and repeat words and phrases that rhyme. It’s why we can recall these slogans decades after they first appeared, certain song lyrics get stuck in our heads, and nursery rhymes have endured for generations.
Rhyming slogans are not only easier to remember, but scientific evidence suggests audiences have better impressions of the advertised product and its attributes as well. A 2013 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology found that when participants were presented with two sets of new advertising slogans—one rhyming and the other not—they rated the rhyming slogans as being more likable, persuasive and original. More importantly, though, they also rated the rhyming slogans as more trustworthy. That’s right, a statement was regarded as being more credible just because it rhymed. (No wonder advertising gets a bad rap.)
So while an apple a day may not necessarily keep the doctor away, take comfort in knowing that at least there’s a scientific reason why you remember that saying and how it seems perfectly reasonable...and be sure to check out our Instagram feed to try and solve our rhyming brainteasers!