23 Apr 2022


Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Advertising

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Coursework

Words: 391

Pages: 1

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An elementary school teacher will never have to teach psychology to students, but to be able to implant knowledge in young minds; it is paramount to understand how that mind operates empirically and cognitively. Advertising a multi-billion dollar industry in the US alone, according to Walter Dill Scott, should be viewed as a form of teaching eager prospective customers and clients about the advertisers’ products (Thorson et al., 2010). No matter how expensive and expansive an advert is, its success can only be measured by its efficacy, this is where psychology comes in.

Scott’s Concept of Psychology in Advertising

Walter Dill Scott was among the pioneer psychologists to take interest in advertising in the United States. After successful application of psychology on other areas of industry, Scott finally turned his mind to the advertising industry in a bit to assist in increasing the effectiveness of advertisements. His contributions to advertising include suggestibility, use of coupons, and illustrations among others.

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It was Scots believe that consumers were like little children who required a little nudge in order to purchase the good and services being advertised, so instead of appealing to them, forcefully but politely order them to buy your products by for example telling them “use this soap” or “buy this radio” in a way that appeals to their emotion, sympathy and sentimentality (Thorson et al., 2010).

The Coupon

Scott believed that feedback was the best way to gauge the effectiveness of the advert and the best way to access effectiveness is by creating a survey that is purely conducted by the consumers themselves hence the introduction of coupons (Thorson et al., 2010).


They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, a fact that Scott knew quite well. In 1903, the New York Times indicated that Scott had advocated for illustrations to be used as an advertising agent. Most people might not have time to read through fine print but a good illustration will easily capture and hold the mind of the reader (Thorson et al., 2010). This was another contribution by Scott to the advertising world that is widely used today 

Co nclusion

Albeit most of Scott’s works on advertisement was done over a century ago as it is reported to have spread to the whole world by 1910, his mark in the advertising world is indelible. His fundamental ideas regarding advertisement including those regarding coupons, suggestion, and illustration are still in use today. Perhaps, without Scott, advertising would not be the behemoth it is today: indeed, psychology is fundamental in all aspects of life including advertising. 


Thorson, E., Faber, R., Moriarty, S., Wright-Isak, C., Krugman, D. M., Browning, N., & ... Hairong, L. (2010). Pre-conference session: Theories of advertising and their link with the advertising industry and its practices. American Academy of Advertising Conference Proceedings, 1-2

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