Marketing is just resistance provoked

On a daily basis, people resist in all measures. They judge, they deny, they frown upon, they get skeptic, they pretend, they look away, they get mad and they get triggered.. By contrast, resistance works perfectly for marketing your product.

In the gym where I go and pretend to work out a little a few times a week, and in the toilet right where you’re supposed to hang your towel, there is a little ad sign that says “refer a friend to join and win a fitness bag worth $115” – This sign gets completely covered by the towel when you hang it – Which got me thinking that it’s such a stupid placement of the ad, I mean there are so many walls, why here? – but before I even finished the thought I realized that having to ask myself this question and to think about where the ad sign got placed is in itself an evidence that this ad is working. When it’s covered by the towel, as if a little sound in my head narrates the content of the ad, because I can’t see it but I know it’s there. So instead of having to slightly move away the towel in order to see what the sign that only its top 2 corners show, I involuntarily repeat the phrase “refer a friend to join and win a fitness bag worth $115” in my head and involuntarily just as well, recall vividly the image of the fancy bag.

Where does the resistance come in? The resistance was when I tried to ‘indifferently’ judge the location of the ad as stupid and unthought through because it gets covered by the towel, and that very thought process of trying to judge (i.e. resist) it, is how I got interested in the content. Not because it was beautifully articulated, but because it occupied at least a minute of my thoughts. The placement of the ad naturally gets you to think that it covers the picture and hence something is incomplete, as if you want to remove the towel and read it again and in this subtle reaction to the advertisement, you are sold.

But more than anything, the resistance pattern works in marketing and advertising because it is human nature to resist certain emotions and notions, and as a way to align with human nature, you could ignite a little resistance in your target through your ads. You do not want to provoke your ad readers to an extreme though, because their resistance could take too long before they realize that they are in denial about being in love with your offer, and by then you might have closed down the business. You really want to keep the provocation as non-offensive as possible, and until you have big enough balls, maybe you can try and test the waters once.

People by nature resist all that’s strange and too different according to what they believe, that’s why Lady Gaga for instance is famous. Besides her mild gifts as a singer, her “unacceptable” explicitness gave her far more fame and popularity than most of us would dream of. Not because it’s wrong, but because that’s what her fans thought and secretly judged. Ironically, there was the attraction. McDonald’s too is well known by any of its consumers at least intuitively, as plain unhealthy plastic food, but that’s just the right advertisement and character McD needs to sell. If you think about it, the idea of a healthy organic McDonald’s is a turn off. I would know. The McD after meal sensation of guilt is overwhelming, but that’s where I resist and that’s where I’m sold.

I plan to study more about this pattern of resistance and how it serves marketing. In the near future when I know more about the insides and outs of marketing, specially on the internet (because we’re past the walls and towels era) I will be posting more on the topic. As of now, I leave you with the thought and if you have any additions and comments, please, I’d be happy to hear from you. You might resist my kind request, and if you do, you can go f*** yourselves but you will still resist my rudeness. By all means, I am open to resistance.

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