Priming through Copywriting and Imagery

Priming through Copywriting and Imagery


“Advertising is not an art form, it’s a medium for information, a message for a single purpose: to sell.” – David Ogilvy

From a psychological perspective, priming is a hugely efficient tool that marketers and advertisers use to layer messages in preparation for a call to action. Priming allows for the guidance, at an implicit and non-conscious level, of one’s audience, ‘priming’ them for an eventual sell.

Product placement is a significant part of all of our lives, even if we might not notice it. We are endlessly being barraged with an endless stream of ambient advertisements. What is crucial here is how our everyday interaction with brands that surround us occurs chiefly at a subconscious level. Subtle cues are almost always present in advertisements, be it outdoor advertising or media campaigns.


David Ogilvy advocated that most individuals do not possess the bandwidth and time to stop and read, hence copies should be crafted in a manner which surprises and is creative.

“This idea plays with our packaging – the can – and manages in a simple design tweak to project what our brand is about.” – Francesco Cibò

As part of their Open Happiness campaign, Coca-Cola primed their audience to associate the brand with enjoyment and happiness. In this particular advertisement, it becomes quite evident how Coca- Cola very briefly and simply sells their product as one that would improve the lives of consumers by bringing delight to their lives.

Evidently, images and copies can prime consumer behaviour in vastly complex ways in order to craft a specific image or association with that particular brand, which ultimately optimises the audience’s receptiveness to the brand. Through priming, marketers are able to maximise the finite subconscious attention of the consumer. The more a brand gains recognition within the context of consumption, the better.

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