This principle can be stated as a simple matter of dog training: point out what you don't want -- and he will do it.
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov conducted some experiments like this I've read. Pavlov's description on how animals (and humans) can be trained to respond in a certain way to a particular stimulus drew tremendous interest from the time he first presented his results. His work paved the way for a new, more objective method of studying behavior. So-called Pavlovian training has been used in many fields, with anti-phobia treatment as but one example. An important principle in conditioned learning is that an established conditioned response (salivating in the case of the dogs) decreases in intensity if the conditioned stimulus (bell) is repeatedly presented without the unconditioned stimulus (food). This process is called extinction.
In order to treat phobias evoked by certain environmental situations, such as heights or crowds, this phenomenon can be used. The patient is first taught a muscle relaxation technique. Then he or she is told , over a period of days, to imagine the fear-producing situation while trying to inhibit the anxiety by relaxation. At the end of the series, the strongest anxiety-provoking situation may be brought to mind without anxiety. This process is called systematic desensitization.
Conditioning forms the basis of much of learned human behavior. Nowadays, this knowledge has also been exploited by commercial advertising. An effective commercial should be able to manipulate the response to a stimulus (like seeing a product's name) which initially does not provoke any feeling. The objective is to train people to make the "false" connection between positive emotions (e.g. happiness or feeling attractive) and the particular brand of consumer goods being advertised.