Boing Boing 

The real state of neuromarketing

Remember the hype about neuromarketing, the use of brain imaging and other technologies to directly measure consumer preference or the effect of advertisements on our unconscious? In The Guardian, Vaughan "Mind Hacks" Bell looks at the latest in neuromarketing and breaks it down into "advertising fluff, serious research, and applied neuroscience." From The Guardian:

First, it’s important to realise that the concept of neuroscience is used in different ways in marketing. Sometimes, it’s just an empty ploy aimed at consumers – the equivalent of putting a bikini-clad body next to your product for people who believe they’re above the bikini ploy. A recent Porsche advert (video above) apparently showed a neuroscience experiment suggesting that the brain reacts in a similar way to driving their car and flying a fighter jet, but it was all glitter and no gold. The images were computer-generated, the measurements impossible, and the scientist an actor.

In complete contrast, neuromarketing is also a serious research area. This is a scientifically sound, genuinely interesting field in cognitive science, where the response to products and consumer decision-making is understood on the level of body and mind. This might involve looking at how familiar brand logos engage the memory systems in the brain, or examining whether the direction of eye gaze of people in ads affects how attention-grabbing they are, or testing whether the brain’s electrical activity varies when watching subtly different ads. Like most of cognitive neuroscience, the studies are abstract, ultra-focused and a long way from everyday experience.

Finally, there is the murky but profitably grey area of applied neuromarketing, which is done by commercial companies for big-name clients. Here, the pop-culture hype that allows brain-based nonsense in consumer adverts meets the abstract and difficult-to-apply results from neuromarketing science. The result is an intoxicating but largely ineffective mix that makes sharp but non-specialist executives pay millions in the hope of maximising their return on branding and advertising.

"The marketing industry has started using neuroscience, but the results are more glitter than gold" (via Mind Hacks)

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On Big Data's shrinking returns


In my new Guardian column, I point out that the big-data-driven surveillance business model is on the rocks.

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Free record with underwear purchase

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I wish I got a free 7" when I bought a new pack of briefs.

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Why we can't remember ubiquitous logos, even Apple's

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UCLA psychology professor Alan Castel ran an experiment where more than 100 students drew the Apple logo from memory, and the results were surprisingly terrible. Why?

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Internet users care about their privacy but have given up on safeguarding it

It's not a fair trade, and everyone knows it.Read the rest

Is American invention at risk?

Comedian, commercial director and documentarian Jordan Brady hosts a great podcast on commercial filmmaking called Respect The Process. He recently interviewed Ryan Berman, Chief Creative Officer for San Diego ad agency I.D.E.A. The interview is a smart casual conversation between old colleagues about the modern advertising agency, the challenges of staying forward-thinking, and keeping your team fresh and energized.

Late in the podcast (14m30s), the talk turns to Berman's own documentary film on the current state of U.S. patent law, Inventing To Nowhere, which recently screened at SXSW. Though Berman is quick to point out this was a sponsored project for The Innovation Alliance, a tech-industry lobbying group, it is not branded content. The doc is an impassioned plea for inventor protection under whatever patent reform comes from congress.

The Innovation Alliance website SaveTheInventor.com features a petition declaring:

...we oppose efforts by some multinational companies in Washington, DC to weaken patents and make it harder for inventors and start-ups like us to live out our dream of creating something and calling it our own. With our ideas, willingness to take risks, and hard work, we have just as much right to succeed as they have.
On a lighter note: also check out the hilarious PSA Brady directed, Scooter The Neutered Cat which he made for animal protection group GiveThemTen.org

Head shots of hand models (with banana for scale)

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Ad executive Alex Holder teamed with photographer Oli Kellett to show the faces behind prominent hand models. Federico Hewson (above) said:

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Air puppets: their strange past and stranger future

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Over at Re:form, Sam Dean tells the fascinating history of air puppets, from their invention and 1990s golden era to the laws that banned them in urban locales to their rebirth as scarecrows.

Video statement from woman in Burger King "Blowjob" ad

The woman who was surprised to find her photo used in the above Burger King ad campaign in Singapore five years ago posted a new video called "Burger King Raped My Face." (via copyranter)

Alien Autopsy: William Barker on Schwa, two decades later

Twenty years ago, William Barker's Schwa artwork revealed a world of alien abductions, stick figure insanity, conspiratorial crazy, and a hyper-branded surveillance state. It's now more relevant than ever. Read the rest

The Internet With a Human Face: Maciej Cegłowski on the things we need to fix


Maciej Cegłowski's latest talk, The Internet With A Human Face, is a perfect companion to both his Our Comrade the Electron and Peter Watts's Scorched Earth Society: A Suicide Bomber's Guide to Online Privacy: a narrative that explains how the Internet of liberation became the Internet of inhuman and total surveillance. Increasingly, I'm heartened by the people who understand that the right debate to have is "How do we make the Internet a better place for human habitation?" and not "Is the Internet good or bad for us?" I'm also heartened to see the growth of the view that aggregated personal data is a kind of immortal toxic waste and that the best way to prevent spills is to not collect it in the first place.

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Unless companies pay, their Facebook updates reach 6 percent of followers

Facebook continues to tighten the screws on the businesses that use the service to market to their customers. Independent research shows that new updates from businesses reach about six percent of the people who follow those businesses. It is rumored that Facebook intends to reduce this number to "between one and two percent" over time. Businesses that want to reach the people who follow them at higher rates will have to pay Facebook to reach them through paid advertisements.

If you're building your business's marketing and customer relations strategy atop Facebook, take note -- and remember that if you have a real website, all your readers see your posts, even if you don't pay Facebook!

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Pow!, the fourth Rice Krispie elf… from space

Snap! Crackle! and Pop! are the embodiment of Rice Krispies cereal. They were born in 1928 when artist Vernon Grant was inspired by a Rice Krispies radio jingle describing how the puffed grains "merrily snap, crackle and pop in a bowl of milk," so he drew the three elves and sent them off to Kellogg's ad agency of record. But for a few short years in the 1950s, there was a fourth elf. A space elf! His name? Pow! If not for the Internet, Pow! would be lost to time. He appeared in two TV commercials. "Pow means power and power's nice! Rice Krispies power from whole grain rice!” said the announcer... "Now Pow doesn't say much...he just goes ahead and does things...like putting power into every...lightweight spoonful of Kellogg's Rice Krispies!"

Smithsonian has the full story: "The Untold Tale of Pow!, the Fourth Rice Krispies Elf."

Devil Baby Attack: scary prank viral marketing video

Funny viral video of a scary prank in NYC promoting the new horror film Devil's Due. (Thanks, Kelly Sparks!)

AirAsia goes Goatse

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An enticing ad spotted by my IFTF colleague Jake Dunagan. Click to see larger.

You Can Do It! Clean the kitchen, that is.

Heather spotted this remarkably sad ad from Swiffer, aping Westinghouse Electric's classic wartime poster, We Can Do It! Adds Jason: "I love the clear tribute to an important historical image done in such a way as to piss on its legacy."