"In the mid-1990s, studies began to suggest that
decision making, long
held to be a prime example of a mental process best accomplished without the
interference of emotions, could not only benefit from emotions, but also might
require them." - Jenny Lauren Lee People find a
comfortable predictable day to day manner of living preferable to living on
the thin edge of
situations confronted primarily through
claim to reason to come
to a conclusion their actual decision is
based more upon a
"feeling" than on a rational decision.
Assume a consumer purchases a
product. The product works as advertised.
This consumer emotionally
registers satisfaction with the product.
subconsciously brands the individual.
Subconscious emotional branding
creates the "correct" emotional
We have the "right feeling" when we see
the product on the shelf the next time and that
right feeling induces
To find profit in so many
similar items, marketers must brand a product on the buyer's mind.
Such efforts put the average American adult in the cross hairs of ~
3,000 advertising messages a day, five times more than two decades ago.
Children are exposed to ~ 40,000
By the age of 18 months,
they can recognize
By 10, they have memorized 300 to 400 brand logos.
The average adult can recognize
thousands of brand
Many seemingly rational
decisions are reflexive snap
judgements, shaped by networks of neurons acting in concert.
"We are embedded in an enormous sea of cultural
messages, the neural influences of which we poorly understand. These
orchestras of cells are
surprisingly malleable, readily responding to the influence of
beginning to understand the
way in which messages
can gain control over our behavior." - neuroscientist Read Montague,
director of the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory at Baylor College of Medicine
The inescapable influence of
marketing brands minds.
marketing physically alters the brain structure.
practicing the piano or learning to read can physically alter areas of the
cerebral cortex, the
intense, repetitive stimulation of
susceptible brain circuits involved in decision making.
monitoring brain activity
directly researchers make inquiries into
consumer choice by
pioneered for medical diagnosis:
positron emission tomography
measures brain chemical
magnetic resonance imagery
measures the magnetic fields of the brain;
resonance measures blood
flow around neurons.
"This is a way of
prying open the jar and seeing
what is inside." - psychologist Jonathan Cohen, director of Princeton
University's Center for the Study of Brain, Mind, &
In the mind's
eye, celebrity faces
trigger many of the same circuits as images of shoes, cars,
handbags and water
celebrity faces are
reduced to a common denominator:
a spasm of synapses in a part of the
cortex called Brodmann's area 10, a region associated with
a sense of identity and social
of these neural responses come consciously to mind when a shopper is browsing
Much of what is considered
the product of logic and
deliberation is actually driven by primitive neural systems responsible for
automatic emotional response processes that
evolved to manage conflicts
hunger, thirst and the other
elemental appetites of
In recent years,
discovered that regions such as the amygdala, the hippocampus and
the hypothalamus are dynamic switchboards that
neurons shape the way
social pressure influence the
trigger the same malleable circuits
of reward, identity,
product branding does.
Lattices of neurons are linked, then continually
revised, by experience.
they are burnt to a crisp by major traumatic experience.
is this feedback that there is no way to separate
the brain's neural structure from the
influence of the world that surrounds it.
Once researchers learned
to map the anatomy of
behavior they realized that the brain, shaped by the
interplay of genes
and environment, is
disconnect between consumers and providers.
predicated on marketing but it's no trick to sell people what they want;
the trick is to make people
want to buy what you have to sell.
When you succeed,
you're a salesman. Otherwise,
you're simply a
Media advertisements are
designed to be salespersons,
Consumers think purchasing decisions
are within their control.
Knowing they are
being manipulated into making a
Knowing ads are designed to "sell" they still think
This is known as the blind
People want to be entertained but refuse to see
entertainment is, in fact, merely a vehicle for
inducing them to purchase an advertised products.
They want the
boundaries between entertainment and advertising pitches to be clearly
delineated. That delineation is the last thing business wants.
entertainment need to understand how they are manipulated.
consumers found the remote, the videotape and TiVo they zapped commercials.
Advertisers returned the volley with product placement.
films, where advertising had never established the foothold it had in
television and other media venues, deals between producers and advertisers have
Studios are paid large fees for conspicuously placing
products in a scene or making brand name products part of the storyline.
The following is an actual proposal for product placement:
We are about to go into production with the motion picture,
"Run, Sheep, Run", a suspense thriller, set in Los Angeles.
If there is
any interest from your company, and I'm sure there must be, the film is better
than any commercial that has been run on television or any magazine, because
the audience is totally unaware of the sponsor involvement, I would like to
have from your company the suggested brands for the people as listed above and
the necessary cartons of cigarettes to be used.
We would enter a
contract, that upon delivery of the answer print to the distributor, your
company, Reynolds Tobacco, would pay to our production company, the sum of
If for any reason the film is not distributed, then your
company is out only the time in answering my letter, and a few packages of
cigarettes, I think this protects both of us .
I expect to hear from
you very shortly.
Robert P. Richards 08/25/72
visual or auditory, is superior to straight commercials as people generally put
up defenses against invitations to a purchase.
circumvents these defenses and places the product in the
mind's eye for future
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