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Abstract

Firms spend considerable sums of money on marketing, and they continue to do so because marketing works. However, marketing can only work if marketers have a reasonably accurate view of human nature. It is argued that many consumer products and advertisements reflect an accurate view of human nature, a view that is compatible with the tenets of evolutionary psychology. Implicit theories of human nature that are out of synch with reality sell few products. An overview of an evolutionary perspective on marketing is provided here, and connections between marketing practices and evolved adaptations, including kin selection, prestige seeking, preferences for salt, sweets, and fat, and savanna-like landscapes are examined. Adaptations that differ by sex and how they are mirrored in marketing are also examined. Finally, some marketing practices that reflect evolutionary principles of variation are discussed. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.