Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.

MARK TWAIN (1835-1910)

Intangible Value


Intangible Value

Intangible value is also known as perceived value, badge value or subjective value. It is basically a way of making a product more valuable or more desirable without adding any extras. It’s all about perception. Simply rebranding an item can add value.

Erik the Red purposely chose the pleasant name Grænland (Green Land) to attract settlers.

When serving frogs’ legs, Escoffier put them on the menu as Nymphes a l’Aurore (Nymphs in the Dawn) to avoid turning people off.

After the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London a year later, Charles II ordered his courtiers to dress in simple tunics, shirts and breeches. Suddenly it became patriotic and therefore fashionable to dress in modest clothing.

Within three years of the 'diamonds are forever' slogan being created, an estimated 80 percent of wedding engagements in America were consecrated with diamond rings.

Veblen Effect

In 2008, Researchers at the California Institute of Technology found that a person’s enjoyment of wine can be heightened if they are simply told that it is an expensive one. 90-95% of us can’t actually tell the difference between an expensive wine and an average one.

The Veblen Effect, named after the economist Thorstein Veblen, shows that the higher the cost of an object the more people desire it.


A good thing sells itself, a bad one advertises itself.

Smelly Sense

In 2005 it was shown that the brain can be tricked into believing an odour is pleasant just by giving it a more appealing name. Participants were presented with an odorant made from isovaleric acid and showed them labels that read ‘cheddar cheese’ or ‘body odour’. People rated the smell labelled ‘cheddar cheese’ significantly more pleasant than the one labelled ‘body odour’ even though the odours were identical. 

Potato Desire

Frederick the Great of Prussia saw the potato’s potential to help feed his nation and lower the price of bread, but when he issued a 1774 order for his subjects to grow them, the public were unimpressed. Frederick then used a bit of reverse psychology: he planted a royal field of potato plants and stationed a heavy guard to protect this field from thieves. Nearby peasants naturally assumed that anything worth guarding was worth stealing, and so snuck into the field and snatched the plants for their home gardens. Of course, this was entirely in line with Frederick’s wishes. 


Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. 


In a 2000 poll of the UK's top 100 adverts, 11 were created by ideas man John Webster. Webster created the Smash Martians, the Honey Monster and the Cresta Bear. He was also influential in Jack Dee's career – he did an ad for John Smith’s beer in the 90s which showed Jack's sad, depressed image. Webster died in 2006 aged 71, a year after his retirement.

Saatchi & Saatchi was hired by Israel in 2006 to rebrand the whole country. ‘When the word "Israel" is said outside its borders, we want it to invoke not fighting or soldiers, but a place that is desirable to visit and invest in, a place that preserves democratic ideals while struggling to exist', said Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, during a September 2006 meeting in Tel Aviv.

St Bernadine of Siena is the patron saint of advertising.

No Sex Please

Research has shown that consumers struggle to concentrate on adverts during programs which contain sexual or violent images, but it was thought that this effect could be negated by including sex in the adverts themselves. However, a study at University College London has shown that sex doesn't sell after all.


In the early 16th century, Brazil changed its name from Terra de Vera Cruz to Brazil- a marketing move to advertise the fact that brazilwood was its only exportable commodity.

A York University study revealed that U.S. pharmaceutical companies spend twice as much on advertising as they do on research.

By the time a person in the United States is 65 years old, he would have seen an estimated two million television commercials.


Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet President, starred in a Pizza Hut commercial.

Most watches displayed in adverts are set to 10:10 because the hands of the watch frame the watch brand name and they make a smiling face.