How to make a New Year’s resolution that will last forever – the science of habit formation

Most New Year’s resolutions have a success rate in the teens – in some studies fewer than 8% of us ever stick to our plan (Journal of Clinical Psychology, 13th Dec, 2012). There must [...]


Your behaviour is unsuitable

It’s nothing personal. We’re good at living short and brutal lives. Indeed we’ve even codified an approach to life that ameliorates the shortness and brutalness: ‘Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow…


Driving the wrong point? UK Gov ‘Think!’ drink drive campaign

The UK Department for Transport’s airing it’s THINK! drink drive advert again. It’s good, but is it focusing on the right area?. Ahead of tonight’s TV airing Department for Transport I picked up a…


Finding your target market – lessons from the ‘Nigerian scam’ email

We've all seen them – poorly constructed sentences in long winding emails about diplomats, infrastructure projects, or legal bequeathes that promise eye-watering commissions for helping move money…


When ‘somewhat likely’ means a lot more likely – the mere exposure effect

I saw this YouGov poll graph recently. Nice clearly defined colours. Clearly labelled axis. It tells you everything you need to know. (Sort of.) [...]


Wisdom, and crowds: bend it like Asch

If you have a jar full of marbles, you have have a lot of marbles. Also, you have an interesting phenomenon; if you ask a group of people to guess the number in the jar, the average of all the…


‘Dispense With A Horse’ – the problems with a high cost-of-thought

The inestimable Maria Popova (@brainpicker) drew my attention to the very first car advert in a weekly publication, first printed in 1898, through a tweet, posted last week. It was [...]


The point of zero distance, pensions, droughts, and TV ads

A ‘tree top’ view, versus a ‘nose pressed against the tree’ view changes the way we construct our understanding of the world. This may be no surprise. However, the fact that it substantially changes…


Driving habits

Habits are nasty, and nice. Nasty, because the habit cueing mechanism – which enacts the entire sequence of behaviour – does not require the original supporting ‘goal’ to be remembered, or even…


Can you fake your traits? Your skills?

You are at work. You walk by a meeting room and peek inside. The voices are muffled, but it’s clear they’re shouting. A ‘he’, is shouting. You look closer. Someone – a client, a boss, a supplier, you…


The effects follow us everywhere

Rarely can you avoid the situational, group, proximal and distal influences that shape our behaviour: Our world is a spaghetti-mess of behavioural influences and cognitive illusions unknown,…


Missing: healthy choice

The UK House of Lords Select Committee Behavioural Change Report was released on 19th July 2011. It’s an interesting read. However, more interesting is the transcript of evidence taken before The…


Mirror mirror on the wall

Back in the mid 1930’s Kurt Lewin described behavior as a function of the situation – as something we do based on what others’ are doing. We herd. Today, on reading that, most of us shrug…


Bin recycling: communications

It’s all very well talking about how you can change recycling behaviour by adjusting the bins, but what if you’ve got only paid-for media space at your disposal? Changing behaviour by broadcasting to…


Bin recycling: behaviour

Recycling paper in offices is such an old story you’d think we’d have it nailed by now. We haven’t. In my experience recycling bins in offices create only one type of behaviour; passive-aggressive…


The media informs our choice in way they don’t realise. (And nor do we.)

Like you, I am a fair-minded, considerate, person. The news I read, the stories I engage with, the information I glean is considered, compared, and compartmentalized against my existing…


Channel your factors

Context is important. In fact, it’s one of the big three (quasi-stationary equilibria, and construal being the others). One of the suprising things about context is that small differences in…


Where’s our Silicon Valley?

The French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908-2009) – the father of modern anthropology – notes that Western societies constructed distal concepts such as geography and astrology before…


Is it all about sales?

I was reading Charles K Atkin’s ‘Mass Communication Effects on Drinking and Driving’ ink to PDF download) and a paragraph jumped out. He quotes Smart (1988) saying that “alcohol advertising is, at…


The Guardian Sustainable Business blog: Food for thought

I was asked to write a blog by The Guardian Sustainable Business section for World Food Day. I assumed many World Food Day blogs would focus on production, business, aid, farming, and global...


Equal (not always) rights

Graham Linehan is an Irish writer most famous for the TV comedy series Father Ted, The IT Crowd, and Black Books. He has recently written a stage version of The Ladykillers playing in London. He was…


We work hard to avoid loss: How to take advantage in comms and pricing

We work hard to avoid loss. Harder than we do to find gain. This discovery won a Nobel Prize in 2002 for Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky for their Prospect Theory: It’s that significant. So why…


The height of success

BusinessWeek recently called Apple on its pricing strategy pointing out out their use of the ‘Douglas Bader’ anchor (come in high, and then dive). It’s a technique the airlines have mastered with…


Colwyn interviewed about The Hunting Dynasty’s philosophy by Alex Benady for Off-Grid magazine

Alex Benady witter,ournalisted,oley Porter Bell) interviewed The Hunting Dynasty’s Director of Planning & Strategy and Business


Google: logically flawed?

When Google split their stock one staff member questioned the emotional effect on staff. An unfamiliar issue in the halls of Googleplex: logic rules (and the rules are logical).


Who will be the Ford of the 21st Century?

There’s always more space at the edge: when Henry Ford perfected the construction line (not the first moving conveyor belt as many believe – that was Sandvik in 1901) he fulfilled a desire for…


How do you use behavioural economics to increase desire for electric cars and bikes?

It’s easy to get someone to want a sexy Tesla. It’s sexy, for a start. (What? you need more?!@?). But with a price tag of £100k it’s a lot harder to turn desire into action. So what do you do to…


The dinner party kit: a bluffer’s guide to behavioural economics

Now that Cameron and Obama are talking about behavioural economics you need an opinion on it. And one that’s better than ‘I read a bit of.. ermmm, that book, Nudge, yeah’. So here’s your dinner…


How marketing agencies get sustainability communications wrong

Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. The AIDA model. Been around forever. Since 1925 in fact. And it works. Well, half of it works. And the half...


How Obama, Cameron, Marks & Spencer, and B&Q are making sustainability normal

At The Hunting Dynasty we use all our communication chops to make our client’s sustainable products and lifestyles mainstream...


New presentation to the Institute for Sustainability

We presented an exploration of how to use behavioural quirks to the Institute for Sustainability.


5 incentives that create sustainable behaviour

The coming Carbon Reduction Commitment measures and demands business pay for any increase in carbon output. Most businesses see technological advance as the only way to manage carbon output. Few…


Death and taxes: Why your decisions kill you and cost you money

Make hay while the sun shines; Eat, drink, and be merry; A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: Our language is peppered with injunctions to live in the here and now. And why not? The future...


ƃuıʞuıɥʇ uʍop-ǝpısdn: I can change your answer by reversing the order of the question

By reversing the order of the question I can change your answer. Did you see what I did there? Well, yes, of course you did – you Hunter...


How do governments finance sustainable initiatives without raising taxes?

If you assume we live in a perfectly rational world that has little systemic friction you'd be excused for thinking that the tax-take is efficient. It's not. And because it's not, there's some…


Talks | TED Partner Series | Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions?

Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, uses classic visual illusions and his own counterintuitive (and sometimes shocking) research findings to show how we're not...


The best recycling ad I’ve ever seen. (Is it?)

Lots of communications asking for lifestyle change use emotional blackmail to inspire change: Polar Bears on ice are a good example. Our previous post about Chris Jordan’s Midway Island photographs…


The best recycling ad I’ve (n)ever seen

The American photographer Chris Jordan is most famous for his large format prints that depict arresting views of Western culture: An image of a wave created from millions of items of dis-guarded…


While you’re selling the product, they’re buying the life-cycle

You sell a 'thing'. But that's not what your customers buy - they buy the whole life-cycle. A life-cycle measured by the energy use of the raw material extraction, the production, the use, and the…


I love you because you’re predictable – I hate you because you’re irrational. The list, Part 2

If you read Part 1, you’ll know that modern societies are organised around the assumption that we all think rationally. Sometimes we do – but we do not behave perfectly rationally. However...


I love you because you’re predictable – I hate you because you’re irrational. The list, Part 1

Modern societies are organised around the assumption that we all think rationally. And it’s true to an extent: We can all think rationally - but we do not always behave rationally. So should...


“All the world’s a stage”: The best way to get your point across

Anyone with children will know that ‘do as I say, not as I do’ is a hollow remark – as bemusing for a child as it is unconvincing for an adult. And it’s not suprising when you consider that only 7%…


Why advertising will save the planet

Most people can’t swallow that title whole. You’re probably thinking that we don’t need a new dog food, or we don’t need another toothpaste. Or another handbag. Or car. And you’d be right –…


Don’t sweat the small stuff (no really, don’t)

We all love these facts: If mobile phones chargers were left plugged in and switched on they would consume enough electricity to power 66,000 homes for a year. It sounds good. It sounds like you…


A blunderbuss is a strategy when your target is an elephant – meet the environmental elephant

Safari trips in the Victorian era evoke potent imagery: Trips to Africa with a coterie of servants; tents erected ahead of the main party...


Your daily routine is defined socially – so why should I appeal to you as an individual?

You are wonderful. Your friends and family – I’m sure - would say you’re an individual. Unique, even. Except you’re not. You’re a routine


10 words that save 7 trillion gallons of water

The psychology industry knows that our ability to understand the factors that affect our behavior is surprisingly poor – we simply can’t explain the decisions we make. So does anybody know what…


Access without ownership – 3 revolutionary ideas that lighten the carbon burden

Access without ownership sounds like consultant-speak: it's simply renting. So what can you rent - instead of own - to lighten your carbon burden?


Advertising ostentatious economy – Ad Age’s best ad of all time

In 1959, Bill Bernbach oversaw Julian Koenig and Helmut Krone’s immortal ‘Think Small’ VW ad. They had single-handily taken...


Over-complicated solutions, Word

Dutch creative agency Spranq developed a new font called the Ecofont – designed to reduce ink usage by 20% and so...


Twitter means business: products that give you feedback

If you're on Twitter you'll see a lot of the get-rich-quick '7 ways to maximise your business potential on Twitter, forever'...


Carpet Bomb: The first carbon-free carpet company

Ray Anderson is the founder of Interface, the company that makes Flor carpet tiles (as well as lots of less whizzy but equally useful flooring and fabric). He was a serious carpet guy, focused on…


Call for entries: The Annual Green Awards for Creativity in Sustainability

You haven’t got long to get your entries in to the Annual Green Awards for Creativity in Sustainability – the excellent awards...


Increase customers to reduce energy use

The ‘Tesco Value Range’ of energy reduction products uses The Hunting Dynasty to manage their email marketing. The strategic is simple to write about energy reduction methods that are all resolved,…