Rory, Rory, Rory, Rory – By holly @hollygordonn

By Holly Gordon


Rory, Rory, Rory, Rory

I hope you sung the title of this SCAB to the tune of Ruby by the Kaiser Chiefs.


Today (meaning yesterday or a few days ago, depending on when you read this) we were graced with the presence of Rory Sutherland. A big name in advertising, he is on the other side a of well watched Ted Talk from 2009. I advise you to watch the Ted Talk, it’s very good.


Looking back at my notes, I realised that was a bad idea because they don’t really make sense so here is what I remember from the master-class:


  • Behavioural science is pretty important when it comes to advertising. We are here to change the perception of the masses so they buy what we are trying to say.
  • There is magic in marketing and economics doesn’t allow for it. The term ‘magic’ is in reference to the ability to change something. So when magic is done well, it can drive human emotion. This affects human behaviour and therefore perception.
  • People have become so focused on winning an argument that they don’t care if they are right. In fact they are willing to say something completely wrong if it means they will win.
  • Our ability to talk about something in a different way is the magic that economics doesn’t allow for. Companies such as Apple got to where they are now because they asked a different question to everyone else.
  • Context is everything and can change everything. Human judgment is affected by it and once we change the context of something, we are able to change the emotion and behaviour.


What I really enjoyed about Rory’s talk was that it discussed creativity and science as a partnership. It makes it a bit more grounded for me, especially when creativity can feel a bit too overwhelming. Understanding human behaviour came up a lot during my degree because we had to understand how our audience acted and how we wanted our design to disrupt them so they acted differently.


It was one of the most interesting talks we have had yet and from looking at my lack of coherent notes (which now I regret) he has the immense skill of keeping an audience engaged on a topic without making you feel like an idiot.  He is a wonderful thinker and I’m glad I got to see he talk!


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