AIDA the process mind goes through in successful advertising

Advertising has been around for a very long time, from some of the earliest forms in the Roman empire displaying Caesar’s head on a coin to modern website banners. Adverts are all vying for our attention and to influence us, the more businesses that are being founded the need to make successful advertising is growing even greater. Knowing how the human psyche works give advert designers a little head start in creating something that stands a chance of convincing the viewer that they need the product or service in question. This is where AIDA comes in.

I recently read a book called Seducing the Subconscious that discussed AIDA, an abbreviation for Attention, Interest, Desire & Action, and the stages of how we process advertising. In this blog post, I will be discussing why all successful advertising considers AIDA in their designs.


Getting attention isn’t that easy these days with more and more corporations vying for attention and coming up with their own clever advertising. Really, the only way to gain attention is to really understand your product and know your USP ( unique selling points) are so your advert designer can explore the points and communicate the points visually. It is believed that by including unusual unexpected elements in an advert can help the viewer of the ad recall it from their subconscious. If I was to mention a hen and a car you would think they have nothing at all in common but I bet you can tell me a brand of car that comes into your mind?

If you have seen the fairly recent television advert you will know this is Mercedez Benz cleverly advertising their latest car’s body control but why is it so successful and easy to recall is possibly because firstly, it grabs your attention and provokes your interest through humour making you maintain your focus as well as connecting the feeling of being happy or laughing with the Mercedez brand.


Adverts that cause you to interact with them through play, humour or emotion ( whether positive or negative) will cause the viewer to have heightened interest in the ad and usually tend to stay engraved into our subconscious.

For example the very famous Wassup Budweiser ad is extremely clever on provoking our human interests because firstly it uses our hunger for humour and our desire to be part of a group or belonging to a friendship group. The fact the ‘wassup’ was irrelevant to the actual product itself but it didn’t matter because it was funny and we want to take part in the saying with our groups of friends and colleagues re-enforcing the Budweiser brand in our subconscious even though it has little to do with the actual drink.


What advertising causes more desire in us than the advertising of Apple. Apple has been so cleverly branded that it has been made to appear as the technological genius of both personal computing AND telephonic devices. How? By appearing to be the ‘trend setter’ and EVERYTHING they create being new. The use of lots of white space and metallic logo gives the feeling of when you first open a product to reveal the pristine new product whilst also relating to the idea of being at the top of the range product when in fact the same technology is available elsewhere and possibly ( please don’t shoot me Apple advocates ) done better elsewhere.

The desire to have the latest thing and be the envy of your social grouping, being the alpha male(or female) and having the pride of feeling you can own the latest technology is a hugely inbred desire of many humans. To feel that they are at the top of others and that they are doing well for themselves makes the Apple brand a ‘status symbol’ of desire.

To re-enforce this point check out a couple of the adverts. Even the ones that advertise their iPods include the words ‘new’ to enforce the message of the latest technology in their products, subtle persuasion, but clever.


It is no secret that whatever industry your business is in there is at least some competition and the competition does things near enough exactly the same. Vince Packard, an expert in advertising psychology states “The greater the similarity between products, the less part reason plays in brand selection.”

What does this mean for designers? It means that rather than simply stating ‘our product is x, y and z’ you must try to invoke an emotional response to make viewers take action. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a positive emotion either, something that angers or shocks can also help action take place, for example, many of the charity adverts that show children being ill or not having enough to eat makes the viewer feel sad and thus take action to make a change, the key being that if the emotion of the advert is so strong you are going to connect the audience to the product or service making it highly desirable to move forward with what the ad is proposing.

Conclusion of AIDA

So when designing your next advert consider the AIDA and how you can firstly, gain attention amongst the noise, then once you have the attention how are you going to create interest or how are you going to solve the viewer’s problem? Thirdly how you are going to make your product or service so desirable they don’t just find your service/product interesting they NEED your service/product and lastly, how are you going to try and make the audience take action and either make the purchase or enquire about your service? What will set you apart from other competing businesses? Can you keep AIDA in mind as you create your next marketing material?