We are creatures of habit as we tend to prefer constancy and familiarity in our lives. We expect a stable world with objects placed in their usual spots and people behaving in their usual manners. Moreover, every eye fixation captures only a small circle of information, such that as you read this sentence you are only seeing three or four words in focus. Much of the environment is not even registered by our minds, yet with the expectation of a constant environment we appropriately fill in the missing bits. That is why we often miss bloopers in movies, which we may notice later after someone has pointed them out to us. Research by Levin & Simons (1997, see video) has shown that our attentional focus is rather limited such that we often experience "change blindness" and are oblivious to scene alternations when we are not attending to them. As a way of capitalizing on this psychological phenomenon, Yahoo in 2008 gradually introduced a new look to their home page by imperceptibly changing features across days. Similarly, eBay took 30 days to modify its background from gray to white. It is likely that many people incurred change blindness and didn't even notice these alterations.
Think different… We've only just begun… Got milk? These slogans and their associated commercials came from the creative minds of marketing agencies, and their impact on society is considerable. Some of you might recollect the momentous event when Apple introduced the Macintosh computer in a stunning commercial during the 1984 Super Bowl. The ad ran like a short film depicting images of an Orwellian future where people behave like automatons and watch mindlessly as their leader, projected on a huge screen, expresses the importance of "one will, one resolve, one cause." Intercut between these images is an emboldened woman who rushes up to the screen with a large sledgehammer, launches the weapon in hammer-throw fashion, and shatters the image of the dictator. Amazingly, the computer itself is never shown in the commercial.