The bizarreness effect is a cognitive bias or a preference that the mind has towards bizarre images, situations, and even language, thus making it more memorable or eye-catching.
Look at this ad! This iconic image of a spiny hedgehog sitting calmly between bags of goldfish is a Volkswagen ad. You might wonder what this weird image has to do with a car. Look again.
The image features the words ‘precision parking,’ advertising a new parking assist add-on offered by Volkswagen. This brilliant ad is sure to make heads turn! Volkswagen did what most automobile companies would be hesitant to try: publish an advertisement with the picture of a car! And yet, the ad garnered all the attention it deserved.
This Volkswagen hedgehog ad works so well thanks to the bizarreness effect in psychology. Sometimes, weird is good. Our mind finds it easier to store absurd and unusual things more prominently than ordinary things.