Are You Driving The Dog Crazy?

Posted by on August 19, 2013

A Monday Morning Memo for the Clients and Friends of Williams Marketing

You already know that Pavlov used an echoic reticular activator (the sound of a bell) to implant an associative memory into the mind of his dog. But have you ever wondered why Pavlov chose to use sound rather than sight? The answer is simple. “Because it’s easier.”

Dogs, like people, can close their eyes but they cannot close their ears. To implant an iconic reticular activator, Pavlov would first have had to gain the visual attention of the dog. In addition, an iconic reticular activator would have taken much longer to implant, due to the highly fragmented retention of visual memory in the brain.

In spite of these difficulties, Pavlov did, in fact teach a second dog to salivate by using the shape of a circle as an iconic reticular activator. In this experiment, the dog was trained to salivate when shown the circle and to cease salivating when shown a long, narrow oval. Gradually, the shape of the oval was developed so that it became increasingly circular. When the difference between the circle and the oval was only very slight, “the dog became highly agitated and the previously conditioned reflex was lost.”

Pavlov intentionally sent the dog mixed signals and described the result as “experimentally induced neurosis” in the dog. To put it plainly, the dog got extremely irritated and began to ignore Pavlov completely.

Today’s buying public is not so different from that dog. To cause them to take the action you desire, your message must be focused and repetitive and speak to a need which the customer feels. Mixed signals will only cause the public to ignore your ads completely.

Are you sending the public mixed signals in your ads? Are you guilty of irritating the dog? If so, you should consider a dramatic change in your ad campaign. Why not uncover the story that is uniquely and wonderfully your own? When the dog hears you sing your own beautiful song and finds that it’s a song about him, I’ll wager he’ll be willing to do whatever you want him to do.

Do you know what song to sing? Are you willing to sing it again and again?

Roy H. Williams

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