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The power of subconscious marketing

It’s been a gorgeous hot summer in London this year and at the weekend I took my children to get an ice cream. We rocked up to the counter and while Mr 7 and Mr 4 were debating the merits of chocolate sprinkles v rainbow sprinkles,

Mr 2 looked over the counter and started calling (well I say calling, actually repeatedly yelling) to the portly elderly gentleman with a white beard, “Hello Ho, Ho”.

And just in case you didn't realise, Ho, Ho is Mr 2’s name for Father Christmas. As cute as it is having a 2 year old think he’s chatting to Father Christmas, what really struck me was the power of marketing. He’s already bought into the idea of Father Christmas, recognising the “face” even when FC is working his summer job. This messaging of Father Christmas has predominantly come from our own home and his Nursery.

“Up to 95% of our purchase decisions are directed by subconscious mental processes.” - Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman

But we have all bought into the modern day version of Father Christmas all thanks to the marketing genius of Coca Cola. In the 1930’s Coca Cola depicted him as a happy, jolly bearded man in a red suit, and that image has been firmly planted into our memories. We recognise and love the image, so much we share it with our own children .

Modern Day Father Christmas

Coca-Cola commissioned Michigan-born illustrator Haddon Sundblom, who then develop advertising images using Santa Claus, rather than a man dressed as Santa.

"The first few seconds of a glance at a logo creates a (stimulus), and people perceive the attributes, character and trustworthiness of a brand." E4marketing principal Jeanette McMurtry, psychology-based marketing consultant

Other brand images are also ingrained in our sub conscious, we can recognise them without even the company name visible.

  • Michelin Man - Created in 1989, makes this character reasonably young compared to Father Christmas, but is instantly recognisable.

  • Apple - Simple, yet effective. Apples logo has evolved through the years, the first logo designed by Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne in 1976, showing Isaac Newton sitting under an apple tree. Now, the logo is simple and memorable.

  • Google - Googles brand is strong, so strong they can consistently change their doodle logo and we still recognise it, some of us even look forward to the variety of logos.

  • WWF - First introduced in 1961, it has undergone a couple of edits, refining the fur, but has remained almost exactly the same logo as when it was first released.

  • Nike - With a simple tag line of Just Do It, Nike have perfected their branding, we all know the catch phrase.

  • McDonalds - The Golden Arches, totally recognisable, in-fact so much my children recognise it instantly, Mr Four calls it “Old McDonalds” combing it with his favourite nursery song.

But perhaps one of the most sub conscious marketing tools The children have picked up on is music. I generally have Magic FM playing in the car and the children, without any prompting, all sing along together to the radio stations advertising jingle...”Maaagic”


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