Thursday, November 13, 2008

Buy-ology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy

Do you feel religious about Coca-Cola? If you're one of 2,000 subjects whose brain activity was observed via MRI in a recent Martin Lindstrom study, it sure looks as though you do.

Turns out the brain lights up the same way in response to powerful brands as it does to religious icons. So does that mean we'll soon be seeing St. Luke's Aspirin? Or Pope Benedict's Pasteurized Imitation Cheese Food Product? Or packages shaped like the Virgin Mary? Probably not, since it's hard to imagine how these findings will be useful to advertisers.

But there are a few results that either confirm or refute industry knowledge:

• Product placement in TV programs or movies is ineffective, unless the product is an integral part of the story.

• Cigarette warning labels encourage smokers to smoke more.

• Subliminal advertising is still used. Use ear plugs when you visit department stores.

• Sex usually doesn't sell products. But controversy about sexy ads does.

Nice to know... How about an ad campaign featuring Pope Benedict in a thong?

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