If you’re new to the blog, here are a few of my previous posts on the topic:
- One Tough Mother’s Magical Advertising Secret
- Magical Thinking and McDonald’s
- A First Class Ticket
If you’re a little fuzzy on the concept of magical thinking, I recommend this Psychology Today article by Matthew Hutson. But my short and biased take on it goes something like this:
None of us are naturally, inherently rational beings. Our natural thinking patterns are “magical” rather than scientific. It takes a conscious attention to banish the magical and reinstate a scientific view of things.
So regardless of how thoroughly sound-minded you may think you are, there’s a part of you that still thinks magically. You still believe in magical contagion, which is why you treasure first edition, signed copies of books, or you dad’s deer rifle, or a baseball caught at a big league game, and so on. It’s why you wouldn’t want to live in a house formerly lived in by a serial murderer — or worse, a home were violent murders took place. And it’s why you would hesitate to deface a picture of a loved one.
And this matters because the part of us that actually affects our decision-making process is the part that still thinks magically — our emotional, lizard brain. Pretty obvious why every marketer should be intimately familiar with magical thinking, right?
Want to hear more? Go listen to the interview.
P.S. If you think Magical Thinking is only something other people engage in, go ahead and try this experiment — I dare you! Go print out a picture, preferably a headshot, of your kid and then stick a knife through it. If you can’t, or simply “won’t” do it, or even if you hesitate to do such a thing and feel funny about it, then congratulations: you just got a first-hand experience with Magical Thinking.