Advertise Early to Mold Future Simulations

Viewing a commercial can instill plans that will happen weeks later.

Nick Kolenda
Updated on
Ad for jeans on Monday triggers thought of buying jeans on Wednesday

Back-to-school commercials start pretty early.

Same with commercials near holidays, right? You typically see Christmas ads in November.

Advertisers aren’t necessarily trying to influence your behavior during these early moments. They are inserting a simulation that will dictate your future behavior.

While seeing these commercials, you think: Ah, that’s right. I need to go Christmas shopping. Maybe I’ll go to Target in the next few weeks.

Over the next few weeks, you imagine shopping at Target for Christmas gifts. You might see other ads in the meantime, but your plans have already formed. Target planted their seed before other retailers.

A single commercial could start a snowball effect that influences your behavior weeks later.