Social Validation and Marketing
Certainly, a huge part of advertising is to make a product seem very popular. As marketing psychologist and business consultant Max Sutherland explains:
The more a brand is advertised, the more popular and familiar it is perceived to be. We as consumers somehow infer that something is popular simply because it is advertised. When people are buying gifts for others, social proof is one of the most effective tactics that a sales clerk can use.
Many salespeople find great success in telling clients that a particular product is their "best-selling" or "most popular" on hand because such a tactic increases the social validation of the product in the mind of the buyer. When customers feel that something is more popular, they spend more money to acquire it, even if there is no proof other than the salesperson's word. So it is with advertising: Simply asserting that a product is in super-high demand or that it is the most popular or fastest selling, etc., seems to provide proof enough! When consumers think a product is popular, that's often all they need to go out and buy it.
The creation and use of social validation are rampant: Clubs make their spots look like "the place to be" by allowing huge waiting lines to congregate outside their facilities, even when the place is practically empty inside. Salespeople often recount the many other people who have purchased the item in question. Sales and motivation consultant Cavett Robert said it best: "Since 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.