Association is a simple but powerful tool in persuasion.

Association is a simple but powerful tool in persuasion.


Association is a simple but powerful tool in persuasion. All it takes to associate a brand with some positive concept is repeated pairing, ideally emotional pairing. All it takes to associate Wells Fargo with the love between a father and his daughter is an ad that tells a story about the father-daughter connection and juxtaposes that connection with Wells Fargo.

The story involves a long haul trucker stopping to collect stones along the way. Viewers eventually learn the trucker is labeling each stone with the state of origin and saving them for his daughter as souvenirs of his travels. The announcer says that Wells Fargo can help him save for her geology degree. That announcer comment rationally closes the loop, but the association was built by the simple pairing of Wells Fargo and the father-daughter relationship.

This ad is one of a set of ads that also associates Wells Fargo with two mothers adopting a deaf daughter the rewarding struggles of starting a small business. Each time Wells Fargo pops into viewers’ heads, the warm feeling that accompanied these stories will pop into viewers’ heads as well.

While these ads will improve the concepts and feelings that tag along when viewers think of Wells Fargo, they won’t make viewers think of Wells Fargo more often. To get that sort of mental pop, Wells Fargo would need ads that are more distinctive. These ads are reminiscent of corporate reputation ads for other banks, insurance companies, or even energy companies.

Wells Fargo can count on its thousands of locations to handle the job of getting the brand to pop into mind. These ads improve the other thoughts that the Wells Fargo brand brings along for the ride.

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