Impulse buying and advertising strategies

Sep 8, 2023

Impulse buying is the sudden and immediate purchase of a product without any pre-shopping intention. It occurs after shoppers experience an urge to buy and is often spontaneous without any hesitation.

How it happens?

Impulse buying happens because of how our brains work. We naturally want quick rewards and pleasure. When we see something tempting, like a catchy ad, our brains release a chemical called dopamine, which makes us feel good. This feeling can make us act without thinking carefully.

Strategies for Persuasive Advertising

Emotional Appeal: Many successful advertising campaigns tap into human emotions. Whether it’s humour, nostalgia, fear, or joy, inducing an emotional response from the audience can be a powerful tool. Emotional advertisements can create a connection with consumers, making them more likely to act on their impulses.



Sense of urgency:

Scarcity and urgency are potent motivators. Advertisers often use phrases like “limited time offer” or “while supplies last” to create a sense of urgency. This tactic encourages consumers to make quick decisions to avoid missing out.

Social Proof:

People tend to follow the crowd. Advertisements that showcase positive reviews, ratings, or endorsements from influencers can sway consumers into believing that the product or service is worth trying. The fear of missing out on what others are enjoying can drive impulse buying.


Eye-catching visuals and design elements can capture attention and create desire. Advertisers use vibrant colours, and aesthetically pleasing images to make their products stand out.


Making the purchasing process as smooth as possible is significant for impulse buying. Online shopping platforms have mastered this by offering one-click purchasing options, reducing friction between seeing and buying a product.

Case studies

Apple and Nike are famous for their effective advertising campaigns that drive impulse buying. They combine emotional appeal with sleek design and limited-time offers. When Apple announces a new product, they often use phrases like “pre-order now” or “get it first,” creating a sense of urgency. Additionally, Nike‘s commercials emphasize the emotional aspect of their products, showcasing how their devices can enhance the user’s life, creating a strong emotional connection.


By understanding the basic human tendencies that lead to impulsive decisions, advertisers can craft effective campaigns that tap into consumers’ emotions, create urgency, and provide social proof. While impulse buying can sometimes lead to regrettable purchases, it remains a fundamental aspect of consumer behaviour that keeps the advertising industry growing.



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