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2012: New Year resolutions early

11 December 2011

Getting successfully involved in your finances means developing a strategy. Your inspiration can come from the most unusual of places.

In a Harvard Business School newsletter (, an article by Carmen Noble commented on the study: “Creating online ads we want to watch”. 

It’s worth reading for a few reasons, including: understanding how advertisers use our addiction to YouTube to tap into us (the Bud Light beer ad is worth watching); understanding our own strategies for avoiding the online sell; seeing what researchers are doing to help advertisers counteract audience advertising avoidance behaviours.

According to the author, the study’s findings showed that, “advertisers should use a quick element of surprise at the beginning of an ad, followed by a longer period of joy, in order to get the most ‘attention’ bang for the buck.”

This “flies in the face of focus groups of the past, which found that viewers responded most positively to ads that had a big surprise or punch line at the end... But in the focus groups, viewers did not have the option of skipping the ad the way they do in real life. A surprise at the end of the ad has no effect if the viewer doesn’t bother to wait for the end of the ad.”

The results of the study have fascinating implications for anyone trying to understand what motivates people to watch and then do something about what they’ve been watching. Imagine the outcome of injecting the same dose of ‘surprise and joy’ theory into your languishing savings plan.

Firstly, you need something that will grab your attention. Have a look at what you’ve saved lately, that should do it.

Then you need bite-size bits-of-joy to keep you going. Set yourself a goal with milestones along the way. Reward yourself when you achieve a milestone. Try this quick introduction to establishing goals:

Finally, uncover and understand what keeps you hooked. Maybe, it’s reviewing where you are each month in relation to your goal; seeing the money mount up; noticing how quickly you don’t miss the $100 a week going into your separate savings plan account.