Sarah Bellum recently mentioned (in her mildly mocking tone) that Mid Brain’s favorite Beauty Brains’ feature is “Actual Ads.” Well, I can’t speak for the other lobes, but I really enjoy our posts on the psychology of cosmetics. Case in point: Cosmeticsdesign.com just published a a fascinating article on how high tech visual demonstrations can “trick” you into buying cosmetics.
After before and after
Dr. Torsten Clarius (of the cosmetic ingredient company Cognis) has conducted a study that suggests demonstrating a cosmetic’s performance with high tech visual imagery instead of just numerical statistics can improve the success of advertising. So-called “before and after” pictures used to demonstrate the efficacy of everything from wrinkle removers to teeth whiteners may have gotten a lot ridicule, but it turns out that those kinds of pictures are extremely compelling.
Clarius and his team propose that visual and tactile cues are by far the most powerful ways of communicating and that ads which rely on language alone are inherently less effective. It’s kind of an update on the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And in today’s 3D computer generated, Photoshop culture, that’s a big fat home run when it comes to advertising.
More to come
How is this different than pictures used in ads in the past? With modern technology we have the ability to capture much more dynamic biological images. We can now visualize increased blood flow beneath the stratum corneum of skin or fractured protein macro-fibrils deep within the cortex of hair. This provides a much more precise view of problematic regions and takes “before and after” photos to an entirely new level. Thus we can provide more detailed before and after pictures than ever before. (The article cites Fast Optical In vivo Topometry of Skin (FOITS) as an example because it allows us to measure the profile of skin surfaces, this providing a way to demonstrate before and after effects of moisturizer.
The Beauty Brains bottom line
We continue to be fascinated by how our brains respond to advertising – especially when it comes to cosmetics. How do YOU feel? Do you think that before and after pictures influence the products that you purchase? Leave comment and share your thoughts with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.