Why do we wear brand names that absurdly advertise the shop? Take Jack Wills for example, who is Jack Wills? I was once asked this by an elderly woman on a bus, which made me actually question why I am drawn to spending so much money buying clothing with a random name on it. I am merely a slave to further advertise the brand. Cialdini (2007) describes branded clothes as a ‘status symbol’ where finely styled and expensive clothes carry an aura of status and position. The availability heuristic also plays a role here. Repeatedly seeing the brand name on my friends’ clothes increased the salience for the brand. This is because of the mere exposure effect, where simply being repeatedly exposed to something makes it more familiar (Zajonc, 2001). This is not necessarily a conscious process, as Zajonc (2001) describes it to be a subliminal, unconscious process. We like things when they are more familiar to us, therefore the repeated exposure of the words ‘Jack Wills’ on my friends’ clothes, increased the likelihood that I would buy from the brand (Hansen & Wanke, 2009).
Cialdini R. B. (2007). Influence: the psychology of persuasion. New York: Collins
Hansen, J., & Wänke, M. (2009). Liking what's familiar: The importance of unconscious familiarity in the mere-exposure effect. Social cognition, 27, 161.
Zajonc, R. B. (2001). Mere exposure: A gateway to the subliminal. Current directions in psychological science, 10, 224-228.