Recently I saw a colleague wearing a black, perfectly shrunken t-shirt with white lettering that read, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people”. It was one part Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one part history, and of course a little sarcasm. I liked it enough to want to have one to wear around the house or in very casual settings, so I looked it up online. I found the company that manufactures it and, despite the relatively low cost, decided that I didn’t really need it. Then it popped up on my Facebook feed, the right column on the New York Times’ website, and again when I was checking my email. That last time- when I was checking my email a new piece of text flashed across it, “Today, 30% off”. It had been a cheap t-shirt to start with, so this extra incentive was enough to make me buy. Last night I ordered one.
Clearly in this case the additional advertising (and the sale) led me to buy the t-shirt. What I find that this form of advertising does most effectively on a consistent basis, is keep products on my mind for longer than they otherwise would be. When it comes to consumer goods, I have a very short attention span. In a physical location, I can like something and forget about it very quickly. The online reminder that I like something does probably make me more likely to buy products, or at least help those products make it to a “want” list hidden somewhere on my laptop.