Tag Archive: human behaviour

One of the most effective tools for Marketers and Advertisers is fear. They employ fear to sell products and services, their attempt to scare us into submission. Coupled with stark facts like “Every thirty seconds, someone dies of a heart attack” or “50% less fat than the leading brand” it becomes an almost invincible selling strategy.

Fear Ad

Sinister ads are being used by all companies these days. It is no more limited to pharmaceutical or insurance companies. Car brands are using crash test dummies to scare people, car tire companies are showing close saves due to better grip and batteries’ advertisements are showing instances of children wandering out of mother’s sight.  Some statistics say that about 50% of all advertisements are playing on fear.

Car Ad 2

Consider hand sanitizing products; everybody is using them now all the time, even though it hasn’t helped in removing swine flu, the reason it was introduced originally. All sorts of companies are using this element and this has gone so far that companies have become irrational in using fear as a tool.

Why are so many companies using fear in their advertising and why is it such a powerful tool? The reason is quite simple.

Fear in one of the most primitive emotions that evokes a strong response.  We have been doubtful about a lot of things right from birth. Advertisers and marketers exploit this weakness, the fear of unknown to connect with the consumers.  They tell us what bad might happen in case we don’t do what they say. Just as sex sells, fear sells too.

Fear may be one of the most effective tools for marketers but it has a flip side too.  In the cases, where public interest and the advertisers’ interests are not congruent, people might actually start to think negatively of the company.  Secondly, if not used properly, fear as an element might actually have a counter effect. A smoker might actually want to light a cigarette seeing an advertisement which says “Don’t Smoke”.

Advertisers need to realize these aspects. The age old saying “make them sick, then make them better” might not always work.

Mirk (Sahil Bansal)

Understanding Viral Videos: PSY’s Gangnam Style

Got a New Year’s Resolution? Shush… Don’t talk about it!

Delhi Gang Rape: Why Indian Men Rape?

Image courtesy: Wacktrap, Autoblog


The Kumbh festival starts tomorrow in Allahabad, India. Stretching over 56 days, 100 million pilgrims are expected to visit Allahabad to take a dip in the holy waters of Sangam, which is the confluence of river Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati.  It is the largest religious gathering in the world. For those unaware, the Kumbh mela (mela means festival or fair in Hindi) is an Indian festival held once every 12 years. Legend has it when gods were fighting demons for the nectar of immortality; a few drops fell in some places where Kumbh Mela is held now – Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain.




So every few years, millions of believers from across the continent swarm these places in the hope to be freed from the vicious cycle of life and death by taking a dip in the holy waters.  Nothing deters them from entering into one of the most polluted rivers in the country. Such is their faith. This brings me to a very important question. Why do we hope? Why do we try to maintain our grasp on what is already slipping through our fingers?


We are weak beings. We long and therefore we aspire. All those things that we don’t have or that we are not; we want to achieve and we want to be. Even if one is happy (that being seldom the case); we want to be happier. Hope gives us that motivation. It is preordained in our nature. It gives us value; it gives us comfort and direction.  It gives us strength. I am not saying it is a bad thing; instead it is a good and logical thing.


Hope suggests a future. Without a future there is no progress and we all like progress. Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption was not wrong in saying “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best thing…”.



Why shouldn’t we talk about our New Year’s Resolutions?

Why do people Overshare on Facebook, Twitter?

Why are Monday mornings miserable?

Why do we like video games?

Why did Adam Lanza kill 26 innocents?

Why Indian Men Rape?


Photo Courtsey: Wikipedia

Every year millions of us vow to quit smoking, curb spending, lose weight, drink less or join a gym on the 1st of January. Very few of us actually go past the first week and stick to our resolutions. There are various reasons. Some of these are elementary. It is common sense that a New Year’s resolution to lose 10 pounds in 4 months has more chances of being a success than the one to lose 100 pounds. Dividing the goal further into smaller steps and rewarding yourself after completion of each step increases the chances of success. Writing about your goals and how they will make you happy will help further.




But one reason that is not so elementary and might miss the eye is that we should not talk about our New Year’s resolutions. Sounds strange? Let me try to explain it.

When we announce our New Year’s resolutions to friends and family; the act of their approval and appreciation provides us a satisfaction that is similar to that of completion of the goal. This premature sense of completeness attenuates our motivation to work hard enough. So we undermine our own efforts right from the start.


A better information to share, if you want to, would be the steps that you would be taking during the course. Sharing your goals point blank might not be a very good idea.

Happy New Year!


Mirk (Sahil Bansal)

My Favorite Post of the Month

Photo Credit: chrisgomersall.me

Gamification: The Game has begun!

We all like playing games and games are important in our life as they help us to achieve a lot, psychologically. There has been a lot written about why we like to play games but I couldn’t agree more to the reasons Dr. Scott Rigby pointed out based on his research. As per his research the first reason why we play games is competence – our need to feel successful, the desire to know that we are growing in our knowledge and our accomplishments. The second is relatedness – we like to feel that we matter to others and we also like to feel that we are making a significant contribution to the society. The last one is autonomy – our desire to feel independent, a desire to have a control over our actions. Since, in the virtual world these things are easy to achieve, we tend to resort to gaming and more importantly enjoy it. And these games keep us healthy, mentally.

Gamification 2

In fact video games are so efficient in fulfilling our psychological needs that it has become one of the most seductive activities for us. A game has clear goals, it shows a player’s progression and rewards the player immediately and consistently, all the more reason for our brain to be hooked up to it. Most of the experiences are crafted in such a way that our engagement levels are very high.

Now, although a bit late, marketers have realized the intensity and importance of this platform and trying to use it for what they are best at; marketing. Welcome to world of gamification. Gamification describes the use of game mechanics, such as challenges, achievements and rewards to redirect consumer behaviors in non-gaming contexts such as retail or education (edutainment) or healthcare. For example; an online newspaper might offer coins/badges as rewards to people who read that newspaper, participate in polls and discussions. The reader with the most coins/badges is given a reward like a free full year subscription of the newspaper. In this way the newspaper is trying modify behaviors of its readers.

TV channels, online retailers, airlines, education providers have all jumped the gun on this. The current games are not only boring, they have trivial challenges and offer low rewards and hence the purpose is not served. But this platform is still in a nascent stage, so there is a lot more to come. As more is done in this field, newer and more interesting games would come, which would reward not only the users but the marketers as well.

Mirk (Sahil Bansal)

Post of the month

Delhi Gang Rape: Why Indian Men Rape?

I was going through the Indian Express (a leading national daily in India) today and I was surprised to see that apart from the one news which talked about the legend Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement from One Day International Cricket, all news on the front page covered either rape or molestation cases. For those of you who might be unaware; this recent coverage to rape cases has been spurred by the  rape and near death of a 23 year old medical student by a group of 6 people in the national capital of India last week. This has caused an uprising, demonstrations and protests are being held around the country. People are angry as the negligent police have failed in its duties, yet again. The criminal justice system of the country is riddled and incompetent, corrupt and politically influenced.


The para-medical student, who had to suffer the utter brutality, fights for her life in Safdarjung hospital, Delhi.  This 23 year old young woman was brutally raped, beaten to near death and thrown out of a moving bus in the heart of the city. And she was not alone. She was with a male friend, who was also beaten up by these people and was thrown out of the moving bus. This is the one case that caught media’s attention due to its place and time of occurrence but there are many other cases that happen every day.

Statistics say that rape cases in India have risen 875% in the last 40 years. And this is only the registered data. Consider all those cases where the suffered party fails or is incapable of registering a complaint. And that happens a lot in the country due to the illiteracy, the corrupt system and a fear of rejection from the society.  This number will go up 3-4 times if that is considered.  This outrageous behavior of Indian men brings me to a very important question; why do Indian men rape? Are they so deprived that they have to resort to these measures?

I don’t think so. I feel it has more to with the Indian culture, which is built around hierarchies of gender, faith, color and caste; the biggest division of them all being male versus female. This is a country where the uneducated and the less educated, the majority, still have the mindset that the ‘weaker sex’ is just a peat of meat that can reproduce and nothing more. There are clear examples; if there is a boy and a girl in the family, the boy goes to the school, the girl learns the daily chores. Look at dowry and female foeticide; they don’t cease to exist in the country.

There have been uproars like this before, there have been television programs, there have been awareness campaigns and there have been action plans, but it will only help to a point. The real change has to start from self, from home and from family.  Parents and teachers need to teach children that men and women are equal. Boys have to be taught there sisters are not there to get their leftovers. Men have to be taught to respect their wives. Implementing safety measures and making policies is an obvious step but it is this that will help us to curb these horrific incidents.

Mirk (Sahil Bansal)

US School Shootout


It was a sad day in the history of the world. Twelve girls and eight boys, none of them older than 7 years were the victim of massacre caused by Adam Lanza, the 20 year old who forced his way into the school, Sandy Hook Elementary and started open firing. Six other women also gave their lives, trying to save the children.

We are sad and we are angry over this incident. The peace of the once tranquil Newtown has been shattered. The death toll exceeded that of 1999 rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado which was considered to be the most notorious US school shootings until now.

The question that we should be asking ourselves is what caused Lanza to commit such a horrendous act? How would have he looked at all those innocent people before shooting them? How could he even have such a thought?  What might have been going through his mind? Why was he so angry or upset?  He even killed his mother Nancy, gunned down 26 people at the school before ending his life.

I can definitely say that there was something terribly wrong with his upbringing.  What we do, what we are, how we behave affect our children, especially in their formative years. They see us and their friends and take our qualities while growing up which form traits of their personality. This brings to me a very crucial point: have we become so urbanized and so lost in this new culture, that we have stopped giving importance to these softer aspects of life?

It has been confirmed that Lanza had struggled in his life to fit in his suburban community.  Had he been treated as a normal kid and had efforts been made to assure him that he is a part of this society, this shocking event might have not happened today.  Banning guns might be necessary but we should ask ourselves, how do we improve?

Mirk (Sahil Bansal)

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How to survive 2012: End of the world

There are many theories revolving around how 21 December, 2012 would be the end of the world. Some say that there is a possibility of a reversal in earth’s rotation while others believe that asteroids and meteorites would visit our planet on that day. Some say that on 21 December the Mayan Calendar would cease to exist and cataclysmic events would occur while others talk about some planets will align to impact earth. This post is about none of these theories. This post is about us.

21 december 2012I firmly believe that the happiness levels of people are going down. Frustration and tension is increasing. I do not quote this from any statistics as statistics are often manipulated. This is what I see and observe around myself. People who are elder to me are more happy and more satisfied with their life, whereas people of my generation are always unhappy, tensed and worked up. They are unhappy about their professional and personal lives. Very few of them are actually happy.

Secondly, the population rise further increases the number of unhappy people in my generation than the last one. Also, more population means more competition and hence more unhappiness.

Now, when we are unhappy we blame it on the external factors which include other people. Rarely, we try to see our shortcomings and improve it or live with it. My point is simple. We blame others for our unhappiness. So I believe if the world would end and if there is a doomsday it might be due to us. When our unhappiness is up to a point where we can’t take it anymore that would lead us to fight among ourselves. This is already happening but it will get worse.

My suggestion is plain; stay happy. Do things that make you happy and be around people that make you happy.  We anyways have very little control on the acts of God. So just sit back and enjoy each moment as it comes. But if you believe in all the theories revolving around the web check out this How to Survive 2012: End of the World video.

Stay happy!  🙂


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