I was looking at an ad in a German rail-station. It showed a misty morning in an old German village among wooded hills, along with a chilled glass of classic beer – a “Landbier” as the ad called it, a “country beer”.
It set up a nostalgia in me: an old love of beer, love of an old way of life, and of hills from my childhood, all at once. And I had a little thought: clever advertising manipulates our self-system.
The self-system consists of internal experience: images in the mind, talk in the mind, and emotion sensation in the body, especially the chest, solar plexus and belly. A feeling such as the nostalgia evoked by that ad is a combination of imagery and feeling, all triggered in wonderful nuances that create the particular longings of that brand of nostalgia… creating the hint of desire and need and memory that suggests that particular beer could both assuage and fulfill and match that certain flavor of longing.
All this happens in the self-system, by triggering the right combinations of image, commentary and feeling in the body-mind. How ingenious and subtle!