We listen to the word of experts and value their opinion over others, even to the point of investing in products they recommend. So much so, that when we hear the term doctor, lawyer or expert we are more likely to accept their recommendations and to buy, so it is little wonder that brands have been harnessing experts to promote their brand benefits for years.

Classic examplesof Authority bias…

Hard though it is to believe now, cigarettes were once approved by “physicians” with doctors literally lighting up the adverts in publications as early as the 1920s.

During the 20s, Lucky Strike was the dominant cigarette brand. Owned by the American Tobacco Company, it was the first cigarette brand to use the image of a physician in its advertisements. “20,679 physicians say ‘Luckies are less irritating’”.

This continued into the 30s and 40s with one of the most famous campaigns of the era: Camel’s ‘More Doctors’ campaign claimed that according to a nationwide survey, “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette!” They featured doctors in typical settings with the inference that if doctors know what the effects of smoking really are and they choose this brand… it must be a ok for you too.

Behavioural Economics, Cigarette advertising
Camel Cigarette Ad, 1950 is a photograph by Granger

Who’s using it now?

We’re all familiar with Oral B, the brand that “more dentists use”. Some of their adverts simply feature actors posing as dentists, without any accompanying copy to back it up. They may not be the cream of the crop of the dentistry world, but they’re wearing white lab coats, holding a clipboard and flashing incredibly white teeth. And as consumers, sometimes that’s all we need to see to put our trust in them and the brand.

Behavioural Economics, Oral B advertising

What is Behavioural Economics?

Behavioural Economics has been around since the 60s. It blends elements of psychology and economics to identify the mental triggers, or bias, nudges and heuristics, that affect the decisions people make.

This blog series is your go-to guide for a snapshot into what these triggers are, and how they can be used in marketing to influence consumer behaviour.

A bit about us

As an agency, influencing behaviours is core to what we do and applying Behavioural Economics to marketing communications is a natural progression. If you are interested in understanding more about how we do this get in touch now.

Find out more about the connection between consumers and behavioural economics in our latest report on the top trends driving consumer behaviour. Download it here.

By Phil Monks

Deputy Creative Director

Cigarette Images Source: