December 7, 2009

Subliminal Persuasion for Kids!

By Patrick Mahan

Last night, my wife and I went to GattiTown for dinner.

If you've never been to GattiTown, it is basically like a Chuck E. Cheese... a pizza buffet with a huge arcade attached. Well, after we demolished the buffet and stuffed ourselves sick with pizza, we made a quick stroll through the arcade.

There I witnessed an amazing display of subliminal persuasion that was devilishly brilliant!!!


Have you ever seen those crane claw games? The one that is full of toys waiting to be grabbed by the mechanical claw? The player uses a joystick to position the claw above the target, then presses a button to release the claw, which drops down and attempts to snag a prize.

The problem with most of these machines is that the grip is too loose to support the weight of the prize (usually a stuffed animal).

I think by now most people realize that these machines are purposely rigged with a loose grip and therefore aren't as willing to allow their kids to play and get ripped-off.

So ... to overcome this challenge (and to increase sales), Sega has developed a brilliant strategy that is subliminal persuasion at its very best. In the photo above, you can see a flat screen video monitor mounted to the back wall of the machine.

The monitor plays a continuous video loop of customers winning prizes. It shows the many ways a player can win...

1) The claw scoops up one prize
2) The claw grabs TWO prizes on just one scoop
3) The claw snags a loop, string or tag sewn onto the stuffed animal
4) The claw MISSES, but luckily knocks a prize off the heap and into the prize chute

This video is obviously engineered to overcome the stigma that "nobody wins" because the grip is too loose and the prizes are too tightly stuffed in the pile.

When kids see this video of other kids - "just like them" - winning prizes on every attempt... naturally, they believe it must be easy to win a prize so they beg their parents for another game token.

But the video doesn't just influence the kids ... I believe the parents are just as easily influenced by this clever - yet tricky - display of subliminal persuasion.

The parents see the video of other kids winning prizes ... they see the kids smiling and hugging their parents ... subconsciously they want the same experience. So what do they do? They fork over another game token.

In my mind, this new and innovative addition of the "demo video" is a brilliant subliminal persuasion tactic. And I have to believe it will make a HUGE difference in the number of plays and thus the profitability of these machines.

The question is: How can you use this tactic in your business? Can you create a video that shows customers having a positive experience or a "winning interaction" with your product or service? 

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