Have you ever wondered why certain marketing campaigns are inherently more engaging and alluring than others? Regardless of how simplistic an ad may appear to be, successful marketing takes a lot of thought and deliberation to create material that drives people to buy a product.

Researchers have found through psychological and neurological testing that the fastest and most powerful way to reach consumers is by creating content that triggers the reptilian region of their brain. This part of the brain, the medulla oblongata, and cerebellum is responsible for basic bodily functions like sex drive, breathing, heartbeat, body temperature, and more. This reptilian region acts as a gatekeeper to the brains attention-grabbing and decision making processes.

A good advertisement can communicate more directly to this region and give you an advantage in capturing your audience’s attention. The following are a few ways to trigger your prospective customer’s inner reptile.

Pain Bad, Pleasure Good

One way to immediately make someone pay attention is to appeal to their innate avoidance of painful situations. Point out to someone how a certain task is going to make them uncomfortable or experience irritation, and they’re more likely to listen and obey. The reptile brain is concerned with pain avoidance at any cost. For example, an ad campaign for a grocery delivery service might exploit one’s annoyance at the thought of going to the grocery store, waiting through lines, and dealing with less-than-friendly cashiers. The delivery service bypasses all of that frustration with a few easy steps on your smartphone. You can see how this appeals to the customer’s painful thoughts of going to the grocery store, with the prospect of avoiding it all by using a convenient app.

Appeals to Selfishness

Another strategy in getting a person’s attention is by bringing up their favorite subject: themselves. By appealing to one’s instinct for immediate satisfaction and self-preservation, you let the reptile brain know what you’re going to do for it, and you have a better chance of not only gaining its attention but also its blind obedience. A few ways to accomplish this is to apply the word “you” in your signage or advertising. You can also apply perspective in your ad, making the customer’s point of view the centerpiece of the image. This helps make the customer identify with the ad and speeds up their decision-making process.

Show Straightforward Value

Have you ever met a lizard with a big vocabulary? Of course not. The lizard mind knows only a few words at best, so with this in mind, you should use the reptilian brain’s short attention span to your advantage. If the message of your ad can be distilled into a few words and a straight-forward image, even better. Images that convey a concrete and straightforward value will minimize skepticism from the prospective client and will get you a fast-track to their attention. 


While humans like to pretend they are highly civilized and reasonable, we are still governed by the same primeval instincts you can find in a common reptile. When designing your advertisement, keep in mind that people are subconsciously responding to their inner lizard impulses, and make your ad as straightforward and concise as possible. When you finally decide on your message, contact We Are Signs and Awnings and we’ll bring your ideas to life!