Saturday, July 04, 2009

** Buyology by Martin Lindstrom

Completing the recent trilogy on choice, decision and selection, Buyology reveals why we choose to purchase the things we do, even when we say we don’t like or if the product harms us (think fast food, cigarettes, alcohol). Using brain research, we learn what’s really going on inside that thick skull of our when were in our true habitat; the shopping mall. Did you buy any of that description?

And you thought smoking was a disgusting habit?

Nothing comes close to the cigarette warnings from Canada, Thailand, Australia and Brazil. They’re gorely forensically true to life, showing full color images of lung tumors, gangrenous feet and toes, open sores, mouth and throat cancers. You’d think that these graphic images would stop most smokers in their tracks… They don’t, in fact, they actually have no effect or increase smoking in smokers. [More later] p9

When 6 out of 10 doctors do it, it’s got to be good for you, right?

1.4 billion people use tobacco products today, including 1/3 of all adult males. In China, 60% of all male doctors smoke. P10

Baby face

As subject gazed as images of Mini Coopers, a discrete region in the brain that responds to faces came alive… The Mini Cooper registered in subjects brains as an adorable face. This explains its appeal. P32

Within 1/7 of a second upon viewing a facial picture, a spike in activity occurred in an area linked to the detection of rewarding stimuli. In other words, brains seemed to identify infant’s faces as somehow special. P32

6 years down the drain

By the time we reach 66, most of us will have seen 2 million TV commercials. Time wise, that’s the equivalent of watching ads for 8 hours straight 7 days a week for 6 years. P37

Location, Location, Location

Cokes product placement in American Idol had not only increased response to subjects memories for their brand, but actually had inhibited the recall of the unbranded logos. In other words, subject’s memories for the branded logos, like Coke and Cingular, had crowded out memories of the unbranded ones, such Pepsi and Verizon. P49

Results revealed that we have no memory of brands that don’t play an integral part of the storyline of a program. They become white noise, easily, instantaneously forgotten. P50

Products that play an integral part in the narrative of a program – like Coke – are not only more memorable, they even appear to have a double barreled effect. They increase our memory of the product, and weaken our ability to remember the other brands. P51

It’s called karma

Pain related neurons in both male and female brains lit up in empathy when noncheaters (in a game) experience a shock. But when cheaters were shocked, the male subjects’ brains not only showed less empathy, their reward centers actually lit up. P57

When a woman views a shapely mannequin or model who looks great – slim, sexy, confident, relaxed and appealing – subconsciously she thinks I could look like that too if I just bought that outfit… This is because of your mirror neurons – that help us tune into one another’s feelings and responses – so we can experience what it’s like to walk in another person’s shoes (or outfit). P59

Cool is in the genes

Scientists have found an area in the brain that is activated when we see products we think are ‘cool’, and this area is associated with self perception and social emotions… So that slinky Prada dress or shiny new Ferrari might be just what we need to attract a mate who could possibly end up carrying on our genetic line or providing for us for life. P64

Are you strong enough to resist Abercrombie and Fitch?

Abercrombie and Fitch positions large blow up posters of half naked models just inside their doors. Not only that, they hire actual models, attired in A&F clothes, to hang out in front of the store in groups… Let’s say you’re a socially uncertain 14 year old. As you pass the store, your mirror neurons fire up. You can imagine yourself among them: popular, desired, at the center of it all… You can’t help it, you go into the store. The place is designed like a dark, noisy nightclub, and the people working there are just as sinuous as the models – and they offer to help YOU… You inhale the characteristic A&F fragrance – and before you’ve even tried on a single item, your brain is sold. P65

Subliminal works better for taboo

When researchers imaged the brains of smokers by showing them logos of cigarettes, and subliminal images associated with smoking without having cigarettes or brands present (to comply with advertising prohibitions against cigarettes), they found more activity in reward and craving centers when subjects viewed the subliminal images than the overt images… One reason for the stronger response to subliminal imagery, is that the smokers weren’t consciously aware that they were viewing advertising, and as a result they let their guard down… Tobacco companies have succeeded in bypassing gov’t regulations by creating stimuli powerful enough to replace traditional advertising. P84

What are the least powerful ads in prompting you to smoke? Ad without warning disclaimers. Followed by ads with warnings disclaimers. More powerful still was the subliminal imagery, particularly the association with formula 1/NASCAR racing. P86

Ancient Mexican ritual revealed

The Corona with lime ritual was invented on a whim by a Chicago bartender in 1981 who popped a lime wedge into the beer on a random bet during a slow night. P89

Painting by the numbers; how to raise a family

In families with predictable routines, children had fewer respiratory illnesses, better overall health, and they performed better in elementary school. Rituals have a greater effect on emotional health, and that in families with strong rituals adolescents ‘reported a stronger sense of self, couples reported happier marriages, and children had greater interaction with their grandparents.’ P92

Oh, I’m not superstitious

On Friday 13th in 2007, the number of car accidents shot up 51% in London, and 32% in Germany – most likely due to drivers’ heightened anxiety about unlucky date. P95

In California, heart attacks among Chinese descendants spiked 13% on the 4th day of every month. In China, the unluckiest number is 4 since it sounds like death in Mandarin. P96

The new religion

Researchers discovered that when people viewed images associated with strong brands – iPod, Ferrari, Coke – their brains registered the exact same patterns of activity as they did when they viewed religious images. P125

The new gods

Sports imagery didn’t elicit quite as strong an emotional response as strong or weak brands. However exposure to sports stars did activate the part of our brains associated with our sense of reward in way similar to religious icons... This makes intuitive sense. When we’re thinking about whether or not to buy a new dress, a TV, a camera, our brains summon up all kinds of info about the product – and make decision accordingly. When it comes to sports, there’s little fact finding; we root for the team we like because we just do. We believe in the religion we like, because we just do. P125

½ of what you buy you don’t set out to

Researchers have found that over 50% of all purchasing decisions are made spontaneously – and therefore unconsciously – at the point of sale. P130

So if they don’t work, why do they exist?

During a virtual stroll of Paris while wearing a brainscanners, volunteers viewed ads on billboards, bus stops, sides of buses to see which best got their attention. The results: none of them. All of the visual stimulation resulted in only glazed eyes, not higher sales. P142

Smellyvision; coming soon to Fox

Odor activates many of the same regions as does sight. If short, if you smell a doughnut, you’re likely to picture it in your mind… How can smell activate some of the same areas of the brain as vision? Chalk it up to mirror neurons. Thanks to these neurons, sound can evoke equally powerful visual images. P145

Soft as a baby’s bottom

What would you guess as the most recognized and best liked fragrances in the world? Chocolate? Lilac? Money? Try J&J baby powder…Chances are good that primal childhood associations will be registered in your memory from this odor. P146

Vanilla smells like what?

Some companies use the scent of vanilla to evoke childhood because it is a scent found in breast milk. Why do you think Coke chose to roll out Vanilla Coke? In fact, the scent of vanilla is so appealing, that when it was sprayed in a clothing store near Seattle, sales of women’s clothing doubled. P147

They should call it a fakery

Some supermarkets don’t even bother having a real bakery to lure shoppers into buying more. They just pump artificial fresh baked smell straight into the store aisles from ceiling vents. P149

Dead weight

I gave 100 consumers 2 Bang & Olufusen remote controls, one with aluminum inside and the other without. The immediate reaction to the lighter weight remote? “It’s broken”… Even they found out the lightweight one was completely functional, they felt its quality was inferior. P152

Beauty is skin deep; but it sells

Women choosing mayo jars were given a choice between a pear shaped container and a container that had a narrow middle. All diet conscious females choose the latter without even tasting the stuff. Why? The shape of the bottle was associated with an image of their own bodies, and what they want. P156

Don’t believe the mouth

SST brain scans showed that although subjects rated the unaired pilot of Quizmania as the show they were least likely to watch, viewer’s brains were actually more engaged than when watching the Swan, a show they had claimed to liked (and a show that flopped in reality). P175

More companies will be trading in their pencils for SST caps. Traditional market research – questionnaires, surveys, focus groups – will gradually take on a smaller role, and neuro marketing will become the primary tool. P176

If sex sells, what exactly does it sell? More sex it seems.

Subjects who were shown the sexually suggestive ads were no better able to recall the names of the brands and products they had seen than the subjects who viewed the unerotic ads… What’s more, the group that watched a sexually charged show, had worse recall of the ads – it seemed that their memory of the explicit commercials had been eclipsed by the sexual content in the show itself. The researchers concluded ‘that sex does not sell anything other than sex itself.’ P181

But they did remember the size of her bodacious, firm, shapely, round…

Men spent inordinate amount of time passing their mousse over the woman’s breasts. But in doing so, they largely bypassed the brand name, logo, and other text. The sexual material blinded them to all the other info… In fact, only 9.8% of the men were able to remember the correct brand, compared to almost 20% of men who viewed non-sexual ads. For women – only 10.85% remembered correctly for sexual ads, vs. 22.3% for non-sexual. P182

Love really does conquer all; including sex

The more provocative and sexual the women rated the model’s expression and attire, the more bored or disinterested the women were by the ad. The more wholesome, natural, and unmade up, and clothed the model was, the more positive thee women’s reactions. Nearly twice as many people (53% vs 26%) were more likely to buy the product if it showed images of love rather than sex. P187

The plain truth

Why do we respond more favorably to real or ordinary people? It’s tied to our desire for authenticity. When we see supermodels, we intrinsically feel that whatever they claim about the product is phony. P189

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