We all know it: we go to the supermarket fully planning on finally beginning a healthy life, but somehow you’ve found yourself on the couch again, with a bag of crisps and a life size stash worth of chocolates. How did this happen!? Where did we go wrong? Is our discipline really that embarrassingly low; or are there other factors at play? Well, the latter seems to be the case. You see: supermarkets are masters of psychological mind games, that keep making us want to buy shit (excuse my language) we don’t even need. Being poor students, it’s about time we knew how these sneaky bastards play with our minds. I shall call it Supermarketing, and here’s how it works:

We enter the store…

…and we usually see the fruit and vegetables section. Now, this has several reasons.

It makes us happy

First of all, the fruit and vegetables look so joyfully colourful and fresh, that it instantly makes us happy. We then see the rest of the store in a positive light. This, in turn, makes us more susceptible to other marketing tricks.

The marketplace-feeling

Looking more closely, notice that in most supermarkets fruits and vegetables are gathered in big bins. Now, this is some really farfetched stuff, but the vegetables and fruits in bins are supposed to give us a feeling of being at an outdoor market, which then gives us a (false) indication of low prices. Crazy, right? Even crazier is that this stuff actually works.

Trigger for unhealthy consumptions

But wait, there’s more! Once we have obediently put some fruits and vegetables into our cart (which is designed to show the bottom for as long as possible – so it seems emptier, and so we keep buying stuff), we start thinking about how super healthy we are being. Once we see that bag of crisps or other UNhealthy items, we buy it more easily because we’ll feel less guilty.

Moving on

Most supermarkets have approximately the same mapping: as mentioned above, you start at the fruits and vegetables area. Then there are some really tactic places for other products:

  1. All the ingredients for your diner can be found close to one another: it makes you more eager to combine a lot of products to make a lovely meal. The same goes for breakfast and lunch.
  2. Milk and cosmetics are necessities. They are placed at the very back of the store. This way we pass all other isles to get to the place we need to be. By that time, however, we’ve probably already grabbed some stuff we didn’t think we needed before we walked into the store.
  3. We reach the cashiers , and one last killer attempt is made to make us buy EVEN MORE. Here, we find small packets of gum or peppermints. The prices seem so small compared to what you’ve already bought, that you’ll think taking one won’t really matter that much.

Having finally reached the check-out though, we’ve been walking through a minefield of mindgames. Here’s some others you may encounter:

Placing products

Products a supermarket wants to sell, will be placed at the eyesight on the shelfs. Big action pack that have relatively low profit, will be placed on the lowest shelfs with the unpopular brands.

Popular products will be placed right at the middle of an aisle. So that, to reach it, we first need to cross the entire aisle with tons of other temptations.

People with kids have even more bad luck coming their way; products that kids tend to like are placed at kids eye-sight. Once the kids see the product and want it, it’s only a matter of time before mom or dad gives in and adds at least one extra product for their kid to their basket.

Colours, smells and sounds


Colours can play with our emotions. A lot of supermarkets will therefore sneak the colours red and yellow into their stores. For instance; red attracts our attention, and makes objects seem closer than they actually are (and lazy as we are, that makes it more easy for us to reach it!). Yellow makes you happy, optimistic and gives you confidence.


How wonderful is the smell of freshly baked bread? Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but most of the time that ‘fresh’ smell is just an illusion. Most supermarkets add this smell artificially, to give you a hungry feeling while walking through the store which will eventually make you buy more food.


Supermarkets tend to play music that is very low-pace. Science has actually shown that this gives us a calm feeling and makes us stay in the store longer (also notice the absence of clocks in supermarkets, also meant to not rush you out of the store). This will in turn make us buy more products.

Even more crazy is this: science has also shown that when French music was played as background music in supermarkets, people tended to buy French wines. When German music was played, people tended to buy German wines. Awesome!

So there you have it: supermarketing. Next time you go to a supermarket, start to pay attention to these sneaky mindgames, and you’ll save loads and loads of money! It would be awesome if you guys knew any other psychological tricks supermarkets use! In case you do: don’t hesitate to leave a comment! Or, you know, if you want to use the comment section to cry out a little about all those years you’ve been fooled by supermarkets, that’s ok, too.

By: Kim van der Vliet
Sources: radar.avrotros.nl, bonappetit.com, theplate.nationalgeographic.com, tallsay.com, businessinsider.com


Apple will not be incorporating the familiar 35mm headphone jack in the newest generation iPhone. Speculations concerning the new headphone jack are circulating on the Web. The next iPhone – presumably named the iPhone 7- is rumored to be launched in fall 2016. Even though Apple hasn’t released any official announcements yet, recent reports  provide definite proof.

The 35mm plug will most likely be replaced with the lightning port technology (below), that was designed by Apple a few years ago. The hardware has been present since the 5th generation of iPhones. Like these generations show, it is perfectly possible to have both the lightning port and the 35mm plug. So, why would Apple leave the headphone jack out of the design? 

1200x628 Lightning

One possible explanation could be the drive towards the use of more wireless headphones and a thinner iPhone model. Other sources say that Apple will even provide technology which would allow users to smartly switch between different wired and wireless output profiles. Depending on the user’s situation, location or application, the output jack can be adjusted accordingly.

Another possible reason is the incorporation of Beats technology in the new iPhones. More than a year ago, Apple bought Beats Music and Beats Electronics. It was a widely discussed deal of 3.2 billion dollars, while the estimated worth of Beats was set at 1 billion dollars only months earlier. With this new purchase it might become reality that iPhones will become solely compatible with Beats headphones and audio technology.

Either way, it is inevitable that millions of headphones will become redundant. The headphone jack will be tossed when Apple is ready to move on, just like it did with the Floppy disk and the CD drive. It seems like Apple can do anything it wants, with the most loyal fan-base for a tech-brand ever.  

So what if more than 250.000 people have already signed the petition against the new headphone plugin? So what if other headphone technology becomes obsolete?
This is Apple.
Apple doesn’t care.
Apple does what it wants.
Apple is the number one most recognized and valued brand in the world. Therefore Apple has the ability to be innovative like no other company.
Apple is a cool brand.
Apple is smart.
Be like Apple.

Written by Marjolein Tromp

Valentine’s Day: a day of national panic. We either freak out about being alone, or we freak out about the expectations from our significant other. Should I get flowers? Or maybe send a postcard? Whether we like the day or not, every February Valentine’s Day is just kind of nagging in the back of our heads.

Brands, of course, love it! It’s the perfect opportunity for them to spice up their marketing by playing with our insecurities. Not enough money to invite your girl/boyfriend on a lovely diner? McDonalds offers you a way out with their weirdly fancy Valentine’s Menu. Or maybe doubting whether or not to send that postcard to your crush? Greetz says that could only end up in a happily ever after.

Playing with newsworthiness in marketing is called Newsjacking: every time a big (inter)national event comes up, celebrity scandals become public, there are political changes  etc., we see brands linking their marketing to it. And it works! We seem to be hooked on these newsjackings. Admittedly, they can be awesome. Here’s why newsjacking works, and how awesomely some brands implement it in their marketing strategy:

Success factor 1: Stopping power

Whenever a brand presents a commercial or something that links to a big event, it causes people to stop and pay attention to it more often: the stopping power. The funny thing is that a commercial doesn’t even need to have a brilliant hook (of course, it helps). Just mentioning or showing the event (valentine’s day, in this case) will make people more aware of the message. Newsjacking ads are read approximately 9% more often than regular ads.

Just look at the simplicity of this ad from Heineken. It’s brilliant and small – just by mentioning valentine’s day and adding a personal heart, this ad creates stopping power. That’s quite awesome!



Success factor 2: Talk value

People tend to remember newsjacking ads more easily than regular adds. Our brain is key in this process: the theme of the ad is probably top-of-mind. On a day like this, we automatically tend to think about this event. So, Valentine’s day is the key concept. Everything that revolves around it is remembered more easily, because of this ‘valentine’s day path’ in our brains. Simply said: whenever we think about valentine’s day, we think of that ad we saw about it.

And if it is a really remarkable ad, be it because it’s simply well-designed or because it’s controversial, it also creates a talk value, which is really important for brands. It not only creates awareness about the brand among their specific target group, but this target group also spreads the word for them, leading to an increased reach of such ads.

Take this one for example. Minivegas is a creative production company, offering (amongst others) in-house interactive installations. For valentine’s day, they created the ‘luv u long time’ website. This website spreads the hate about valentine’s day. It filters Twitter for Tweets including the words ‘fuck’ and ‘valentine’. These tweets are then uploaded on their website as little hearts. Click on a heart and the Tweet appears. Want to comfort your fellow valentine’s day-hater? Just click on the ‘Awww, come here’ button and spread some love to him/her!

love u long time

Wouldn’t you want to tell your valentine’s day-sceptic friends about this awesome website? I would!

Success factor 3: Likeability

Last, but not least, it’s all about the likeability factor! That’s the ultimate goal: getting people to like/love your brand. Research has shown that newsjacking ads are more appreciated than normal ones, and that more than half of the people exposed to the ad viewed it as a sympathetic brand.

Just look at this last example. It’s a Coca-Cola ad that just puts a smile on your face when you watch it. Love is literally in the air, and it’s wonderful!


So: it’s all about newsjacking! The ads are not only effective, they are usually very fun to watch. I’m really curious to know if you guys know any other newsjacking ads. Let me know in a comment!

By: Kim van der Vliet
Sources: versereclame.nl, youtube.com



A couple of days ago I saw this message going viral on Facebook. Many people shared and liked it and there were lots of comments.  I think, this happened because of the fact that this message is telling us a true story. Yes: we are buying online, and yes we all do this very frequently…

Even I have to admit; I am doing the same thing. Last week I wanted to buy a pair of Adidas shoes. I searched online a bit first on websites like Zalando.com, but after a while I thought; Héy there is a real shoe store in my own street: The Footlocker! Why do I buy online and wait 2 – 4 workdays for my package to be delivered, at a moment when I –almost for sure- will not be home. (It happened to me too many times: missing out the Zalando-man, I HATE it!)

So after these well-overthought considerations, – resolute as I was – I walked into the Footlocker, at the corner of my street, to buy my new shoes. A more than typical Footlocker employee (READ:  40 year old bold man with a pretty potbelly, dressed in a red and black striped soccer shirt, very short and last but not least; he had very small feet put into a pair of Nike-airs.) While I wondered myself why male Footlocker-employees always have small feet, the friendly bold man searched the stockroom in the back, for my desired cute Adidas shoes in the right size. After a while the man came back with a kind of dubious and slightly worries face; unfortunately the shoe size I needed wasn’t available anymore. So, end of story: slightly disappointed I went home and immediately I slipped smoothly behind my laptop and ordered my favorite shoes at Zalando.com.

Well, what’s going wrong here?! What is the real problem? I think stores should adapt more to the wishes of their customers. And of course I understand that it’s impossible for all stores to build huge stockrooms to store thousands of pairs of shoes for inventory, in all the right sizes… But, I think: for surviving as a real shop in a time like this – where online shops as Zalando are far ahead in offering people their desired cloths and shoes – shops need to adapt more and change their way of working!

A possible future idea that can work in a great way are ‘showroom shops’.  Shops where you can fit all the cloths you like, but where you cannot really ‘buy’ anything. After fitting your desired clothes; you order online at a computer located in the store: and your package of clothes will be transported from a distribution center to your house at your perfect desired time moment. Maybe this will be even at the same day, a couple of hours later! To let this idea work, the distribution centers have to be improved by that time. So for all the stores in our city centers, I would say; there is still much work to do! Do not complain, but adapt to the customer- and market-changes. Don’t complain about consumer’s actions, but try to discover opportunities and possibilities for new ideas! Cause changing people’s behavior is one of the most difficult things to achieve…

Written by Susanne Deen

Suppose I’d asked you whether the average temperature in Antarctica is higher or lower than -50°C. Do you think this question would influence your estimation of the continent’s average temperature? What if I asked you how many people approximately celebrate their birthday on the same day like you? More or less than 9 million people? Would this affect your guess of the number of people celebrating their birthday on a particular day? You wouldn’t think so, but you would probably be wrong.

Due to a phenomenon that psychologists call “anchoring“, we are often unduly influenced by the initial figure we encounter when estimating the value of an item. Anchoring is the idea that people latch onto an initial thought or idea, and consequently use this as a reference point for future decisions. Marketers like you and me can and should make use of this to influence their customers.


How did it start – and how do companies make use of it now?

The anchoring effect was first demonstrated in an experiment in which people were asked to estimate various quantities to certain questions. Participants were e.g. asked to estimate the percentage of African countries in the United Nations. A number between 0 and 100 was shown to the participants by spinning a wheel of fortune. It turned out that these arbitrary numbers were significantly related to the quantities that were estimated by the participants. People who were exposed to a higher number estimated the quantity higher than those who were shown a lower one.

With the introduction of the iPad in 2013, Steve Jobs used the anchoring effect in a very smart and effective way. In his presentation, Jobs mentioned that they want to price the iPad below $1000 (setting the anchor). When Jobs revealed the actual price of the iPad, people felt surprised and relieved that it was only $499. Any price lower than the initial anchor seems more reasonable and the consumer will see it as a good deal, even if it is still higher than the actual worth of the product. Even if the number you are encountered with has nothing to do with an actual price, the effect works. The initial thoughts about the price may be totally random and irrelevant, and people might be even aware of this – anchoring still works in those situations.


How to deal with anchoring in your daily life?

How can you as a student or marketer use this smart anchoring technique in your daily life? For example, when you are selling something you can plant an anchor in people’s mind, so that any price lower than that will seem a good price. Or when you are negotiating about your salary or other agreements with your employer, you can mention a former (high) salary you earned with another job. Even children use it when they need approval from their parents about the time being home or the amount of pocket-money they’ll receive. Actually, anchoring can be used in any situation where you are encountered with numbers, but be careful with exaggerating the numbers, as this can have a backlash effect.

Blog anchoring1
Everyone is daily confronted with anchoring and you are not even aware of it. Why do you need to think about buying an application for your mobile phone for only €0,99, but when buying a cup of coffee at Starbucks for €5,-, you don’t have any doubts to buy it. All of this has to do with anchoring again.

Concerning an app, you have the anchor in your mind of getting it for free. At Starbucks, you know already that you will pay at least €4, – for a cup of coffee, so €5, – sounds fair enough, right? Try to be aware of that mechanism and you’ll be surprised about how often people actually make fun of you!

Guest post by Nicoline Russel