You were just window shopping, so how’d you walk away with two giant shopping bags full of stuff? Martin Lindstrom has the answer! He’s a marketing mastermind and the author of Brandwashed, and through his research, he’s figured out how and why we decide to splurge. 

  • For instance, companies know Moms are obsessed with germs and dirt. So they capitalize on that fear, because they know that any packaging that promises to “sanitize,” or says the product is “sterile,” will move it off the shelves.

  • What else got you to fill your cart? The music being piped in. Often it’s a carefully orchestrated collection of songs that take you back to a time when life was simpler. We feel all warm and fuzzy listening to songs from our childhood and magically, we’ll open our wallet. 

  • Another way manufacturers get us to spend? By playing into what Lindstrom calls “the fear of our future self.” Basically, we all have a vision of ourselves in the future that’s not too pretty. Whether it’s our teeth falling out because we don’t have a fancy electronic toothbrush, or the wrinkles we’re trying to avoid with the fancy skin cream. So we’ll spend to avoid that “feared future self.”

  • And lately, manufacturers have tapped into a spending trigger -  fruit. We’ll buy pretty much anything that has a fruity scent or a picture of fruit on the package, from room spray to cleaning products to lip balm. Why? Because fruit is a symbol of freshness, and evokes positive associations.