Science, creativity and attention

Attention-seeking has a negative ring to it. Still, as an advertising creative or marketeer, it’s pretty much your job description. Of course, there are good and bad ways to seek attention. Bad: drawing attention to the ad (and the clever people who made it). Good: drawing attention to the message.

Science shows us the value of focused attention. When we pay attention to something, our brains automatically assume it’s worth our time. And therefore interesting, important, valuable. This can also backfire. Get attention with a discount, and the brain will decide price is really important right now. Which might not be what you want.

In today’s media landscape, attention can’t just be bought. It also has to be earned. By being surprising and relevant. All this happens at an almost subconscious level. It’s not about the strength of your arguments. It’s about triggering an emotional response.

It’s no coincidence that we say PAY attention. It is a kind of currency. You give attention to a consumer’s needs. And in return, they give attention to your message. Call it R.O.A.: return on attention. Thanks for yours.