The Hair of the Dog post I wrote last week came from my own tendency to play depressing music when I am feeling down and how this technique does not seem to be doing me any good. According to the article I cited, this may put me in the ruminator category of folks who try to use this music to list their spirits (or at least hope that it may), but fail at escaping the downward spiral.
About the same time, I was watching Penn and Teller’s show about the BS we often believe in, but that is seldom true. In the episode I watched, they brought up the way color also feeds into our psyche making us tend to want to eat or not depending on the colors and pairings. They pointed to the ubiquity of red and yellow in fast food signs, logos and buildings to support their claim that franchises were exploiting this aspect of out brain’s wiring. The visual communication guy, a graphic art consultant, writes about this on his site, referring to it as the ketchup and mustard effect. Another design blog demonstrates how often this is used by listing a sampling of fast food logos like McDonald’s. Amongst the research journals, Satyendra Singh wrote a review of the literature supporting this conclusion for the Journal, Management Decision. Dr. Singh’s article proposes that, “managers can use colors to increase or decrease appetite, enhance mood, calm down customers, and, reduce perception of waiting time, among others.”
We would be fooling ourselves if we thought that we were not being constantly manipulated subconsciously by retailers, restaurants, and other marketers. Election campaign ads come to mind immediately) But how do you feel about this manipulation? Frankly, I think it’s just what I would expect – and moreover, exactly what I would do myself if it was my job to bring in and retain customers.