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Wonderful pistachio company has recently launched an enormous, $15 million advertising campaign filled with a host of celebrity endorsers. These celebrities included Snooki from “Jersey Shore”, the Winkelvoss twins (co-creators of Facebook), and Wee-man from “Jackass”. But Dominic Engels, the head marketer for Paramount Farms decided to include not-so-celebrities based on current pop culture. New commercials feature the Angry Birds, a cat playing a piano and the honey badger. All of these characters are not stand-out celebrities, but as Wonderful marketed to all kinds of potential consumers, more niche “endorsers” were needed.

As I have explained before, celebrity endorsements work for products where consumers are not deeply invested in the choice of products. This is called “peripheral route processing”. Choosing which brand of pistachio to get is one of these choices. Customers do not spend a lot of time or energy deciding which brand to buy, so celebrity endorsements work. Wonderful has called on a number of celebrities, reaching out to numerous target segments. This increases the chances that people watching their commercials or viewing their ads in a magazine will choose Wonderful next time they buy pistachios. By using niche characters, Wonderful connects on a deeper level with people who are familiar with the more obscure references in Wonderful’s commercials.

The new ad campaign seems to be working beautifully for Wonderful. ” From September 2010 to this October, sales for Wonderful Pistachios rose 134% by volume, according to SymphonyIRI,” (Wasserman, from Personally, Wonderful has done an amazing job cementing itself in my head as the best pistachio available. I can’t say for sure whether or not it was due to their commercials, but I buy Wonderful pistachios whenever I go to the grocery store.

*The views expressed in this blog are mine and not affiliated with the University of Southern California or its Master’s in Human Behavior program*


The sports world is in no way new to advertising. NASCAR drivers wear countless emblems on their suits and cars, soccer teams display their sponsors on their jerseys and all sports arenas are covered in advertisements for numerous sponsors. Likewise, sponsorship is not new to the rodeo crowd., Jack Daniel’s and Stanley tools have long been advertising at Professional Bullriding (PBR) events. However, in 2008, Dickies workwear decided that they would sponsor the unsung heroes of the rodeo: the bullfighters. The bullfighters are responsible for the safety of riders once they are thrown off the back of a bull. They put themselves in harm’s way to protect the lives of the defenseless riders until they can climb to safety.

Dickies decided that these guys embody the idea of “toughness” and thus would represent their durable work clothes well. By linking the product with the lifestyle or personality of the person who is sponsored, a company can strengthen the bond between their name and their sponsor. There is no doubt that Shorty, Jesse, Frank and Joe are some of the toughest guy around. As they sport the massive Dickies emblem on their jerseys, it is ingrained in viewers minds that Dickies are tough too. This is exactly what Dickies wants to happen. Many sports and celebrity endorsements fall short when it comes to linking their product and the sponsored celebrity. The best endorsements come from celebrities who are viewed as having knowledge or experience with the product they are promoting. Thus, the Dickies Durabullfighters, who are viewed as the experts on tough, do a great job representing the durable nature of Dickies clothing.

Dickies DuraBullfighter video:

*The views expressed in this blog are mine and not affiliated with the University of Southern California or its Master’s in Human Behavior program*

As we look at advertising in the past, it is very apparent that commercials or ads geared toward male audiences have featured women in bikinis, underwear or other suggestive material. This has long been the most used way to advertise toward men. Just look at or old beer commercials and you will see plenty of instances of this.

In today’s advertising world, the material with which companies advertise to men is drastically changing. Fewer commercials created for a male audience are featuring scantily clad women, but instead feature men doing an array of activities with their guy friends. Jeans commercials that used to show a man and woman kissing now feature guys playing football and doing other manly things. One industry that has taken to this new kind of advertising is the alcohol industry. Dos Equis commercials feature “The Most Interesting Man in the World” instead of scantily dressed women. Even Chivas Regal scotch has launched a new ad campaign called “Here’s to Best Friends” that features a group of four friends and their wild adventures. So why has there been such a shift in the content of advertisements?

I attribute much of this shift to a changing dynamic in popular culture. Box office hit movies like “I Love You, Man”, “The Hangover” and “Horrible Bosses” all chronicle the wacky adventures of a group of friends. The stranger the group is, the funnier the adventures seem to be. When we watch a movie, we all realize that none of us or our group of friends look like the cast of “Ocean’s 11”. We want to connect with the characters in the film, so the more quirks of imperfections a character has, the more we identify with them. As movies like these become wildly popular, commercials have followed suit and shifted their focus to the relationships  men and their friends. As long as “bromance” continues to be so prevalent in popular culture, commercials will continue to capitalize on the fact that men want to believe that their group of friends is fun and capable of engaging in ridiculous shenanigans like in the movies.

*The views expressed in this blog are mine and not affiliated with the University of Southern California or its Master’s in Human Behavior program*

Since the creation of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), there has been a debate among sport fighting enthusiasts over which is better. Boxing is a classic match of endurance, agility and hand speed. MMA takes a more brutal approach to fighting sports, allowing contestants to kick, choke, elbow, knee AND punch an opponent. So how did this new sport come to pose such a threat to a classic like boxing?

A major reason that boxing is losing its crown as the king of fighting sports is because the heavyweight class has not had a major match since Mike Tyson fought. The biggest matches of the past years have been welterweight matches with Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Victor Ortiz and Juan Manuel Marquez. MMA gives viewers intense matches at all weight classes. That is why on November 12, when Fox aired an MMA for the first time, it attracted 5.7 million viewers and a 3.1 rating. Not surprisingly, the fight’s largest audience segment was men ages 18-34. In this segment, the MMA fight out-rated every college football game besides the Alabama-LSU game and rivaled most postseason MLB baseball games.

The main MMA company is “Ultimate Fighting Championship” (UFC). MMA owes most of its success to UFC. UFC has done an amazing job establishing itself as its own brand. Along with “Affliction” and “Ed Hardy” clothing, UFC clothes have been top-sellers among fans of MMA. “According to UFC, gets more than seven million unique visitors per month, has more than six million fans on Facebook and more than 300,000 followers on Twitter,” (Janoff, “Has MMA Put Boxing Down For The Count?”). A single entity like UFC is something that boxing does not have, but will need if it wants to survive in the world of fighting sports.

*The views expressed in this blog are mine and not affiliated with the University of Southern California or its Master’s in Human Behavior program*

Creating an advertising campaign to reach a target market segment can be a tricky task. One industry that does a very good job at this is video games. Video game commercials and other advertisements are directed at highly specific groups of people. In their latest advertising campaign, the much anticipated video game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, has employeed a very clever technique to reach their tagret market.

The newest TV commercial for Modern Warefare 3 (MW3) features two celebrities that are extremely popular with MW3’s target consumers. The celebrities are Johan Hill from smash hit comedies like “Superbad”, “Knocked Up” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and action star, Sam Worthington from “Avatar”, “Clash of the Titans” and Terminator: Salvation”. Each of these actors is very well-known and popular with the people that MW3 is geared toward: teen and young adult males. By using celebrities like Worthington and Hill, the MW3 creators ensure that viewers will take time to watch their commercial. While most of their target segment was already planning on buying MW3 with or without the commercial, the ad does help build excitement for the now available blockbuster hit, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

the psychology behind using a celebrity in an advertisement is that people who are using peripheral route processing (people who don’t have much invested in the decision to buy a product) are more likely to listen to ads with celebrities or flashy commercials. This applies to video game purchases. When a person has more to lose or gain from a purchase (cars, houses, medicines), they are more likely to listen to experts on the subject like doctors, personal trainers, etc.

Link to commercial:

*The views expressed in this blog are mine and not affiliated with the University of Southern California or its Master’s in Human Behavior program*

We all have seen the typical condom advertisements, and as I explained in a past post typical commercials do not get remembered. With this in mind, Sir Richard’s prophylactic company utilizes an entirely new style of advertisement. If you follow me on Digg (RobertHDavies), you might have seen a link to one of the first stories about Sir Richard’s. If you didn’t get a chance to look at my Digg story, no offense taken, and I will explain it now.

Sir Richard’s employees began their genius advertising campaign by strapping neon green fanny packs to bikes near Sir Richard’s distributors, Walgreens and Whole Foods, in N.Y., L.A., San Francisco and Boulder, CO. Each fanny pack had a tag strapped to it. On each tag read, “This is a complimentary fanny pack. When worn as a fashion accessory by a man, it makes for excellent birth control. No man has ever been seduced while wearing a fanny pack in the history of the fanny pack. In the event you prefer your birth control to involve actual intercourse, may we suggest Sir Richard’s Condoms.” If that doesn’t stick out in someone’s mind, they must have a pretty wild and exciting life. For the rest of us, an advertisement like that would hold in our memories for quite some time and might even make us think twice before grabbing our normal condom choice.

To top this effort off, for each Sir Richard’s condom purchased, the company is donating one condom to a country in need of birth control. Sir Richard’s postulates that safe sex is a basic human right and should be afforded to everyone. This has given this special condom company the title “Sir Richard’s: The Philanthropic Prophylactic”. That’s a pretty catchy name. It is certainly one I will remember, and others seem to be as well. In an agency study, 20% of customers said they would choose Sir Richard’s over Trojan and Durex. This may be the next big name in the birth control industry, and with a philanthropic side, the world will be better off for it.

*The views expressed in this blog are mine and not affiliated with the University of Southern California or its Master’s in Human Behavior program*

I am a big fan of all things patriotic, so when I saw a new Cheerios commercial about giving back to the troops, I paused to watch. Cheerios is partnering up with USO to send thanks to the brave men and women who serve in the US military forces. On specially marked boxes of Cheerios, you can cut out the “Cheer” part of the Cheerios logo on the front of the box and send it to a United States soldier overseas. For each card that is sent, Cheerios will donate $1 to the USO. They have already given over $150,000 dollars and are set to donate up to another $100,000 based on the number of people who send cards.

It occurs to me that this is a fantastic opportunity for Cheerios to show their patriotism, but also to get a good amount of publicity. I know that after I saw their commercial, I wanted to go get some Cheerios to send a card to the troops. i on our sense of duty to others, Cheerios inspires viewers to spring into action and send “thank you”s to military families. In order to get us to do something after seeing the commercial, Cheerios uses a “call to action”, telling us to go buy Cheerios and send out the “cheer” cards. It is a small enough task that many people will be enticed to comply. This makes the call to action very strong.

For those reading this, I will also ask for a call to action. Next time you are choosing a cereal, consider Cheerios, and send thanks to the brave men and women who keep us safe.

*The views expressed in this blog are mine and not affiliated with the University of Southern California or its Master’s in Human Behavior program*

The first game of the 2011 World Series between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals will air tonight on Fox, and as many as 15 million people are expected to watch. With so many potential viewers, many of whom will be children, senators are asking the Major League Baseball Players Association to voluntarily ban the use of all tobacco products on the field, in the dugout, in the clubhouse and in the locker rooms. This potential ban on tobacco includes smokeless tobacco like dip and chewing tobacco.

The reasoning behind the proposed ban is the use of smokeless tobacco not only endangers players’ health, but it sets an example for all the children who idolize their favorite players. Senators argue that children will watch their favorite players use tobacco, and thus, be more inclined to use it themselves. Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory supports the senators’ stance. Social Learning Theory states that we learn new information and behaviors from watching others (observational learning).

I argue that while we may learn from watching others, Social Learning Theory has limits. There are plenty of behaviors we have seen others engage in that we have not taken part in. If we learned from those around us, we would be in deep trouble. This even goes for role models. We don’t do everything our role models do. Plenty of actors smoke, drink heavily, do drugs, cheat on their spouses, and have several partners. With the exception of the drugs, we don’t place bans on anything they do, and actors are just as much role models for children as athletes.

All the talk about role models doesn’t even scratch the surface of the flaws in the senators’ argument. Children are not allowed to buy chewing tobacco. They cannot see a player using tobacco products and immediately start doing it themselves. Any person who is 18 years old should be able to make the decision of whether or not to use tobacco products. Anyone who watches TV is subjected to countless advertisements for alcohol which could influence children as well. If a person is at the age where they can legally purchase tobacco or alcohol, we as a society have deemed them ready to make the decision of whether or not to use such products. It is unfair to take away the right that baseball players (if they are over 18 years old) have to use tobacco products.


*The views expressed in this blog are mine and not affiliated with the University of Southern California or its Master’s in Human Behavior program*

We have all seen countless numbers of pickup truck commercials on TV, all preaching about how strong, how durable and how manly their trucks are. Ford, Dodge and Chevy have all been in competition in the pickup truck market for as long as I can remember. Commercials have featured trucks towing enormous trailers, powering through mud or carrying immense amounts of weight in their beds. My favorite had a truck driving up a ridiculously steep tower towing a trailer all the while being engulfed by flames. All of that was to prove how good the air conditioning is even when it is extremely hot outside. If I ever find myself in a situation like that, the last thing I will be thinking about is the A/C.

In their most recent advertising campaign, Chevy aims to break the conventional mold of what a truck commercial should contain. Chevy’s newest Silverado commercial (link below) featured a young boy playing with a toy Silverado which he uses to help all his other toys in distress. The commercial ends with the boy’s father driving up to the house in his real Silverado as the boy runs out to greet him. The tagline for the commercial reads: “Like Father, Like Son”. This, more sentimental, commercial sets Chevy apart from the other truck companies. But how can this be of use when other commercials are showing manly tucks doing manly things?

Psychology tells us that we remember things better if they aren’t what we expect. We remember events better if they are out of the ordinary. Likewise, a commercial is more likely to stand out in our memories if it is not what we expect. This new Chevy commercial capitalizes on the fact that all other pickup truck commercials have started to blend together into one giant truck commercial in our heads. Even the commercial I described above (with the fire tower) didn’t stick out enough for me to remember which company made the truck that was featured. The “Like Father, Like Son” commercial will stand out to viewers as it goes outside of our expectations of what a truck commercial should entail. Will this commercial be successful for Chevy? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: it will surely be remembered.


*The views expressed in this blog are mine and not affiliated with the University of Southern California or its Master’s in Human Behavior program*

Most of us have been in a bidding war at some point or another. It may have been at a live auction or maybe on Ebay. Those of us who have been engaged in a bidding battle know how much it hurts to lose. Currently, Hulu is trying to buy the rights to the new ‘Arrested Development’ episodes that were announced last month. However, Hulu is competing for the broadcasting rights against Netflix and Showtime. ‘Arrested Development’ was cancelled by Fox in 2006 due to low ratings, but after the show was cancelled, it amassed a large cult following. Now, being the owner of ‘Arrested Development’ broadcasting rights could prove to be very lucrative.

What drives people to bid on something even if the amount is far more than the amount at which they value the item? A popular demonstration of the principles behind bidding can be found in the “Dollar Auction Game”. In this game, there are 2 (or more) competing bidders who are trying to win a dollar bill. Both the high and low bidder will have to pay the auctioneer the amount they bid, but only the highest bidder gets the dollar. If the highest bidder bids 20 cents and the low bidder bids 15 cents, the auctioneer gets the 35 cents, the highest bidder gets the dollar and the lowest bidder is out 15 cents. This game can lead to some wildly unbelievable outcomes. In a consumer behavior class, my professor auctioned off a $20 bill to 2 of my classmates. I never would have expected how much the students would pay. The final bid was for $42; over twice the amount of the bill they were bidding on. This occurs because of the sunk-cost theory. People will look at the money, time or effort they have put into an action and are unwilling to accept that their efforts were for naught.

In a bidding war like the one for ‘Arrested Development’, Hulu, Netflix and Showtime are probably putting in great amounts of money into trying to win Mitch Hurwitz’s (‘Arrested Development creator) favor. Since they don’t wat to watch their money, time and effort go to waste, each company will put in more time, effort and money to assure they get ‘Arrested Development’ for themselves. While under the spell of the sunk-cost theory, there is no telling how far these companies will go to secure the broadcasting rights for this booming show. We will have to see who becomes the victor and who is left behind.

*The views expressed in this blog are mine and not affiliated with the University of Southern California or its Master’s in Human Behavior program*