This summer we've been reading Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point and his newest, Blink. The question: What factors come into play to create an "epidemic" of sorts. Words and images. Thin slicing, snap judgements. It's making me a bit dizzy trying to figure out how and why I respond to images during the initial two seconds of contact.
"In my parents shop, a high-end green grocery in England, my grandmother showed me that just by putting certain juxtopositions of colours in front of the customer's nose you could increase sales of a particular item," recalls Robert Ruscoe. "If you turn tomatoes outwards with their stalks showing and frame the box with bunches of parsley, you sell more tomatoes and parsley. Or grind fresh coffee beans (or display the beans) with lots of people in the store, and it triggers the desire to drink coffee so buy some beans."
Clearly it's easier to work with food; how does one make printed material a tactile experience that triggers not only desire to take the card or read the poster, but to act? Is it just the creative aspects – color, touch, perfumed paper stock, images – that trigger response? "TV is mostly image," says Robert. "Advertisers seem content with that – a woman in a shower, a guy racing a car, images that brace the distance between desire and need." Or well being.
So what kind of response do we want to generate? What kind of sale is a good sale, and what kind of sale is nothing more than a one-night stand? An illusion? Thoughts?