When You Pair Image and Narrative Psychology with Behavior Design, You Get Prevagen® Commercials

This meticulous dissection of Prevagen® commercials underscores just how brands leverage image and narrative psychology, as well as elements of behavior design, to create monetizeable storytelling.

Screenshot from Prevagen’s® 28-second TV commercial feature ‘Susan, 52’

But first, the fine print.

As I’m no lawyer nor litigator, the ensuing exploration does not address:

  1. the misleading claims, in particular, related to Prevagen’s® marketing narratives;

Let’s start with the commercial itself

In case you haven’t watched my chosen Prevagen® commercial for granular dissection here on Medium, I’ve embedded it below for your 1:25-minutes of viewing pleasure (and you should absolutely spare the 1:25-minutes to watch if you want to follow along beyond this point)👇🏼

Diving in

The first opening second (0:00–0:01)

Figure A. The opening scene of the Susan-52 Pravagen® TV commercial showcasing San Francisco scenery

Color theory, for one, seems to be playing a definite role in their selection.

In fact, the Golden Gate Bridge place image is, upon observation, predominantly blue, and those familiar with color theory know that the color blue is a primary color. So right away, our eyes (and brains) are visually exposed to a foundational color; a color that belongs to what colorists define as one of the “the cool colors” of the color wheel, which are colors referencing “cooler” temperatures. Blue, in fact, is often akin to water, snows, skies, and generally nature’s softer side.

Figure B. Screenshot from Prevagen’s® 28-second TV commercial feature ‘Susan, 52’

Notably, the first words out of Susan’s mouth are, “I’m Susan, I’m 52 and I live in San Fransisco.”

This purposeful, laser-focused introduction cuts through the narrative chase as, with any television commercial, we have an extremely finite time to work with in terms of character development.

Figure C. A breakdown of neurodesign elements baked into every single visual scene, like this opening Susan intro.
  • where she lives (San Francisco)
  • her profession (“a Sales Manager”)

But it’s not enough for us to idenitfy with Susan; we must also learn to CARE about her as well.

Identity is one thing; it speaks to feeling some kind of affinity, a kinship or relation of sorts, implicit or explicit. But you can be close to something, or someone, and not really care that much about them. Identity, to some degree, is more proximity than it is affective.

With this avid bookworm confession, Susan starts to become less of “just a person” to “more human.”

Susan’s sharing more relatable aspects of her narrative by telling us she enjoys not only a relatively cognitive activity, something often deemed as honorable and “educated” but ALSO is a highly enjoyable pastime many folks can relate to.

Figure D. Susan chopping up fresh veggies (because she’s a hardcore health nut)
Figure E. Susan is enthralled with farmer’s market shopping, something she passionately looks forward to on Saturday mornings.
Figure F. Another breakdown of neurodesign elements incorporated into Susan’s running scenes.

By the time we reach 0:43, the Prevagen® brand has devoted nearly 30-seconds to not just present Susan’s character but to get us to care about Susan as a real person.

And this is key because if we can learn to emotionally care about Susan, then we’ll care about her plights or challenges as well as how she overcomes or solves them.

Figure G. Susan’s got a pesky memory problem, she explains. One that started to scare her.

Therefore, the motivational focus that Susan’s story aspires to influence consumers with is that of PREVENTION; preventing the fear of (small) memory loss as well as preventing (small) memory loss itself.

Susan does go on to explain how her taking Prevagen® started to work for her. She noticed her memory became “sharper” and was glad she regained some of her recall.

And then Susan concludes her story with an expression of regret; if only she had begun taking Prevagen® 5–6 years ago.

With this ending statement, we learn that Susan, despite turning her small memory loss ship around, laments she did not enlist Prevage® memory supplements much sooner into her health buff repertoire.

Susan’s regret speaks to time scarcity/urgency as another behavior motiviator.

Time, as we know, is finite. And we can never turn back the clock, so to speak. So all you consumers out there, beware! Don’t miss out on Prevagen®. Don’t be regretful like Susan; go do something about your small memory loss drama ***NOW*** … because time is of the essence.

Figure H. Design layout principles are born from neuroaesthetics and this diagram showcases how such factors get applied in a real-world brand setting.

Some final thoughts

The image and narrative psychology recipe as outlined above, peppered with elements of neurodesign, brand psychology, consumer psychology, and behavior design (whew! that’s a mouthful), is pretty much the foundational base from which other Prevagen® commercials follow suit. And it’s not just Prevagen®, it’s other brands as well as these collective approaches are not exclusive to one brand’s form of commercialized storytelling.

In sharing these granular insights, I hope I’ve opened your eyes to how literally EVERY SINGLE SECOND of a commercialized brand story is *** devoted *** to penetrating your psyche.

The brand’s ultimate goal is, of course, monetization, which is — in turn — the overarching goal of business: to grow revenue. But growing sales requires making not just topical, superficial connections with consumer audiences but instead immersive infiltrations into the influential and decision-making parts of your brain. This requires a concerted onslaught of combined tactics, as shared in my post, to help capture not just your attention and imagination but also impact your emotions to any degree.

media psychologist • neuroscience scholar • philosophy curious • tech ethicist • visual artist 🎨 designer • incurable bibliophile • #amwriting ✍️🗒️✏️