Marketing Ploy: See If You Can Spot Them in These 8 Examples
Digital & Marketing Strategy

Marketing Ploy: See If You Can Spot Them in These 8 Examples


Today’s customers are increasingly turning like the protagonist of The Truman Show. Every day, individuals are observed by a swarm of marketers who analyse their purchasing habits to devise even more devious and complex marketing tactics.

Business marketers employ a range of strategies and initiatives to communicate with customers and increase sales and brand exposure.

One of these strategies is a marketing ploy, which marketers use to increase awareness and drive more purchases of a company’s product or service.

Some individuals are cautious of marketing ploys since the name “ploy” suggests that the strategy is an attempt to deceive or outsmart a customer but let’s find out the true meaning behind this concept.

Key Takeaways

  • Today’s consumers face constant marketing scrutiny, prompting concerns about deceptive tactics.
  • Despite aiming to boost sales and brand visibility, such ploys can erode trust if consumers feel misled.
  • Recognising common tactics like scarcity, strategic product placement, and false discounts empowers consumers.
  • Ethical marketing practices are crucial to maintain trust and reputation amidst the use of such tactics.

8 Most Common Marketing Ploys

Marketers have devised strategies, gimmicks, and marketing ploys to attract the majority of customers in this competitive climate.

These ruses and ploys can be described as sophisticated marketing methods and/or clever traps used by salespeople to entice clients or shoppers.

The majority of these ruses and gimmicks have been put out and examined briefly below. By the end, you should be able to spot the tricks if they are played on you or if you come across them.

Creating a Sense of Scarcity

The first item on this list is to create a sense of scarcity! It is, without a doubt, one of the most often used marketing techniques, alongside “creating a feeling of urgency.”

We will encounter lines like “hurry up while the supply lasts” or “10 more goods to go” whether we are shopping online or in our physical stores. Such queues generate a feeling of scarcity, instilling in customers a dread of losing out.

The majority of consumers would unwittingly choose such items because they believe it is either now or never.

However, most of the time, this is merely clever advertising jargon. This type of wording has a big influence on the market, with a lot of people pouring in to grab the “last 10 products.”

Cunning Layout Of Products

The shelves in all retail stores and supermarkets across the world are set up similarly. Hyper-advertised popular trademarks are known to occupy the middle shelves, often known as the Golden shelves.

The top shelves are usually designated for less well-known names, while the lowest shelves are usually reserved for brands and firms that are completely unknown.

Toys for youngsters are sometimes found on the lowest shelf. Companies who rent the middle shelves pay significantly more money, which has a direct impact on the cost of their products.

How can you stay away from this marketing ploy?

Before purchasing goods and products from the middle shelf, always examine the quality and pricing of goods and products from the bottom shelves and top shelves.


The inclination to invest in creatures and objects that have human features and attributes is known as anthropomorphism.

From Amazon

Humans, for example, have evolved the habit of attempting to communicate with machines. They will sometimes go so far as to argue with them if they do not operate correctly.

Humans have also begun to converse with animals as if they were humans. Cars have been given loving names in rare situations. Animated movies such as Minions, Transformers, and Cars are good instances of anthropomorphism. Animal mascots have been used by several corporations and brands for package design and brand marketing.

These businesses tend to attract the most sympathetic clients, who identify with the characters in the movies.

This occurs because as they get more empathic, their desire to purchase things increases. To put it another way, anthropomorphism increases sales by increasing consumers’ faith in most firms’ products.

Shopping Carts Of A Large Size

Did you know that when you shop using shopping carts rather than baskets, you’re more likely to spend more money? You are likely to spend 40% more than you anticipated.

This option is only available when you need to stock up on food for a few days or make purchases to fulfill the requirements and wants of a big extended family.

Aside from large shopping carts, food staples such as milk, bread, and butter are located on the opposite end or even far end of the aisle. This strategy is typically used by supermarket employees to allow consumers to pick up extra (usually duplicate) products on their way out.

Concept of Retail (Supermarket) Layout by upNext Lab

In addition, most supermarket aisles are oriented counterclockwise to encourage shoppers to make several unexpected purchases.

Logic of Pricing

Most retailers understand that pricing their items in figures that finish in nines will attract more attention and generate a sense of value. That is if the number on the left of the price tag decreases by one or more.

They know, for example, that if you sell a product at $499, it will always appear to be less than $500 in the eyes of a customer. This is equally true for tiny items. Consumers will always remember that $2.99 is less expensive than $3.00, and they will buy the goods from this marketing ploy.

Aside from being utilised in stores, in most restaurants, this marketing tactic is also employed in menu prices. To achieve the desired perceived value, they add a more expensive third tier to the menu selections to offer a high-priced item at a perceived mid-price.

The Gruen Effect

Victor Gruen is a designer who created the world’s first fully enclosed retail mall. Before Gruen’s design, walkways were utilised to connect the single-story buildings to construct the first commercial mall.

Gruen did an excellent job of bringing together a variety of stores (all under one roof), but the result was a confusing supermarket.

His designs’ ultimate goal was to create an ideal, safe shopping atmosphere that was always pleasant, well-lit, and warm.

These days, most shopping malls are constructed in this manner. When you move up into that kind of situation, you’re more inclined to get enamored with the comfort they give. The mild trance combined with the chilly surroundings may cause you to get disoriented. You could even forget why you went to the mall in the first place.

While strolling through a well-designed action center, you will appear to lose your capacity to make sound judgments. Making unplanned purchases will result in you spending more than you planned in the long run.

False Price Reductions

We’ve seen price tags in places, including online stores, with new price tags put in large numbers and the old ones crossed off more often.

What most consumers don’t understand is that the majority of these price reductions are decoy-priced products. In truth, they’re nothing more than just a marketing ploy to get your attention when you’re shopping.

For example, look at the image below. Within the category of “50% off or more”, 3 of the items don’t show the actual discount or original price of their product.

Amazon Deals and Promotions

What the shop assistants do is just increase the original price by a significant percentage, such as 20%. They then cross their fingers that their consumers won’t recall the product’s old price. If you don’t recall, you’ll be delighted about the price decrease as a client.

Once you’re delighted, you’ll buy the thing, believing there was a significant price decrease when there wasn’t. There are several such examples of erroneous price reductions or discounts. To give another example, several restaurants, motels, companies, and grocery stores offer “special discounts.”

Anti Advertising Slogans

The majority of businesses have used anti-advertising slogans to promote their products. These slogans are more attention-getting than advertising slogans.

The Volkswagen tagline, which says nothing about how excellent their vehicles are, is an example of a brand that uses non-advertising slogans.

You might be wondering why they chose such a tagline for their commercial.

We all know Volkswagen is a well-known corporation that has supplied high-quality items for a long time. As a result, standard advertising slogans may come off as cliched to their target demographic.

That is, without a doubt, why the anti-advertising phrase attracts greater attention.


Marketing ploys provide many of the same advantages as other marketing initiatives and campaigns. Successful marketing strategies increase client bases and drive more sales and purchases, resulting in increased income for businesses.

Marketing strategies also increase awareness of a firm, brand, or product. A great marketing strategy gets people talking, which leads to viral, buzz marketing, and word of mouth.

Viral marketing occurs when a marketing message or campaign spreads like a virus from person to person, generally by word of mouth or email forwarding.


The major downside of a marketing ploy is that it makes some customers feel deceived or untrustworthy.

If a customer believes a firm is attempting to deceive him or exploit him in some manner or is not disclosing all of the information about an offer upfront, that customer is less inclined to act or conduct business with the company.

As a result, a marketing tactic can be detrimental to a company’s reputation.

Mediums of Various Types for Marketing Ploys

Marketing gimmicks may be used in several ways. Email marketing, web marketing, word of mouth, direct mail marketing, and guerilla marketing are just a few examples.

Guerrilla marketing is a nontraditional method of communicating a message, such as writing it on the pavement or wearing it on a shirt.

An email marketing ploy could persuade someone to open an email and visit a website, whereas an online marketing ploy might persuade someone to register for a website or service that he didn’t want to register for.

A direct marketing strategy may persuade someone to phone a business or visit a store.

Summing Up a Good Marketing Ploy

So there you have it! For you, there are eight marketing ploys. Marketers may have preyed on you in the past without your knowledge. You may or may not have been able to escape it, but at the very least, you are now aware and have a better understanding of marketing ploys.


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