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Neuromarketers Pick the Brains of Consumers

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the ask-me-no-questions-and-i'll-tell-you-no-lies dept.

Businesses 166

Pickens points out a story at The Guardian about the development of neuromarketing, the method by which advertisers track signals inside the brain to roughly extrapolate how a consumer reacts to products and advertisements. We've discussed this technique in the past, but now consulting firms are appearing who have begun to use this research to increase the effectiveness of their marketing practices. The author also notes a paper which elaborates on the scientific details (PDF). "At McLean Hospital, a prestigious psychiatric institution run by Harvard University, an advertising agency recently sponsored an experiment in which the brains of half-a-dozen young whiskey drinkers were scanned. The goal, according to a report in Business Week, was 'to gauge the emotional power of various images, including college kids drinking cocktails on spring break, twentysomethings with flasks around a campfire, and older guys at a swanky bar'. The results were used to fine-tune an ad campaign for the maker of Jack Daniels."

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It probably isn't illegal now ... (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959716)

but it probably should be.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (2, Interesting)

blueadept1 (844312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959810)

Are you one of those people who thinks marketers are evil and make you buy things you don't want? Their objective is to provide you with information that makes you want their product - a need already exists ("I need social acceptance" - or something along those lines). With this research, the marketers are merely helping you fulfill this need by pushing past other products' attempts to get you to purchase them. I see nothing remotely illegal or unethical about this. If the subjects are doing this on their own free will, so let them.

STFU RYAN (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22959868)


Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (0, Offtopic)

blueadept1 (844312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960250)

LOL at -1 troll. Sorry for contributing academic insight into this topic. 1)I'm a marketer by trade. I feel that its my duty to explain this to the general public. 2)The "Are you one of those people who thinks marketers are evil and make you buy things you don't want?" question was legitimate. It seems like everybody thinks this, and it is silly. Gotta love Slashdot's arrogant programmer/developer slant!

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (2, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960824)

I only think marketers are evil as it is because of them that I'm bombarded with innumerable messages I'm not in the least interested in.

If you want me to buy a product, make a good product.
Don't try to show me how people are having fun, having sex or having cake; I'm not interested in pretty little stories. I know you lie, or at least consciously break the Gricean maxims, hoping no-one would notice.

About the only thing conventional marketing can make me do is decide not to buy the advertised product. Annoy me enough and that's exactly what is going to happen.

Good: show me the product.
Bad: show me pretty little stories with little or no relation to the product.

Good: discrete ads. If I'm interested, I'll se it.
Bad: ubiquitous flashing and screaming ads that make me switch the channel, enable ad blocking et al.

And no, I don't think marketers want to make me buy stuff I don't want.
That would be idiotic.
Marketers want to make me want stuff I don't need, or even make me need stuff I don't presently need.

Will you try to dispute that point as well?

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1)

KillerLoop (202131) | more than 6 years ago | (#22961454)

Well, how about enlightening us on the aspects of marketeering that are concerned with *generating* new desires then?

"Helping to fulfill already present desires" is only one part of the story.

To link and (probably subvert) a "I need social acceptance" desire with, for instance, consuming alcoholic beverages is in my opinion something different altogether.

That said I'm with you that you are filling a niche that is, at least indirectly, wanted. So I'm not trying to bash you for it.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (5, Insightful)

Cecil (37810) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960418)

I think marketers are annoying because they tell me to buy things I don't want. It's not the buying that bothers me, because it never happens. It's the telling. Over, and over, and over, without providing me a way to say "NO!"

You said it perfectly right here: "marketers are merely helping you fulfill this need by pushing past other products' attempts to get you to purchase them."

This is the crux of the problem, because it belies a conceit that marketers have: that their product is a better choice than all competitors for their entire target group. This is unspeakably arrogant for starters, and unbelievably annoying when, naturally, every marketer believes this about their product, so you get 100 products all arrogantly claiming to be the right choice for me and in all likelihood drowning out the one choice that is in fact right for me, which in my case is almost never the one with the biggest pockets.

What really sucks.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22961268)

Even if you buy the stuff you still have to tolerate ads saying you need it.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1)

ATL_gadget_grrl (1122351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22961452)

@Cecil, well stated. The other thing that absolutely torques me about marketers is that they are IN MY FACE constantly. How many "email newsletters" have you received in the past week? How many of these folks send multiple editions in the same week? I have gotten to the point where I'm either increasing my use of bogus emails or just unsub from everything. It makes me angry that I have to spend the time to work so hard from hiding from them.

What they just don't get is that if I want something, I will seek it out based on the criteria that I think is important, not what they tell me is important. I guess I just take offense to the collective opinion of what I, the consumer, am: a spineless lump incapable of making my own decisions. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Still, back to the original topic, this is just crossing the line. I am totally for the use of stuff like PET scans to help diagnose clinical problems e.g. Alzheimers, but this is simply crossing the lines.

(/end rant)

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (2, Interesting)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960714)

Their objective is to provide you with information that makes you want their product..

Their objective _should_ be to 'open your eyes' and allow you to see that you need their product rather than use psychological techniques to alter your needs so that you want their product - (not so) subtle difference.

I see nothing remotely illegal or unethical about this.
It's a shame you don't see a problem; Luckily for me, I do.

..by pushing past other products' attempts..

The marketing for the truly worthy products will have us walk past other products to buy the one true product.

Taking your insightful comments as a whole leads us back to your initial point. It's clear that

marketers are evil and make you buy things you don't want

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (0)

blueadept1 (844312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960760)

Needs versus wants 101. Needs are inherent. They are physical, psychological, what have you. These exist whether or not anybody is selling anything at all. Marketers create wants - ways to satisfy these needs. If you are thirsty, you don't need a Pepsi, you need water. You WANT a Pepsi.

If you are not a savvy consumer, yes you will walk past the other products. If you can't decide whether or not you want a snack that is sweet or salty, is that the fault of marketers? You have free will and are not being forced to buy anything. If marketing did not exist, you would walk into a store and purchase a random item off of the shelf (remember, no brand names, no fancy packaging!). In which case do you think you would find the better product? That where they are indistinguishable and you select at random, or that which you are provided with information to make a better decision?

Annnnnd thank you for taking what I said out of context. Very mature.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1)

Xeirxes (908329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960860)

I hear more catty things on Slashdot than from high school age girls, nowadays. :(

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (2, Interesting)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960986)

If marketing did not exist, you would walk into a store and purchase a random item off of the shelf (remember, no brand names, no fancy packaging!). In which case do you think you would find the better product?
Wow, you believe that? I buy things that looks like they have ingredients that I like. Choosing a tin of soup for example is pretty easy just based on the writing on the tin. Of course I know that Heinz make good tinned products so I'm happy to buy them, but I also buy supermarket's own branded stuff too (noodles for 8p, yes please!). Your assertion that brand names and fancy packaging automatically make something a 'better product' for consumption is ludicrous.. the information that 'red bull gives you wings' is hardly useful information when it comes to choosing an energy drink. Marketers prey on people's inner needs as you say, but they certainly don't satisfy them for any length of time. There's a reason that developers resent marketing winning out over quality products (hint, Microsoft Win****)

Needs vs. wants... (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 6 years ago | (#22961294)

Really, saying "I need X" is false without further clarification.

Now, "If I want to live, I need water" is true. But just "I need water" isn't.

Being pedantic aside, the problem with marketing is that it can (and does) blur the line between information and fraud. If you explicity stated, "Buy Alco brand Q-tips, and attractive women (or men) will sleep with you!", you would be committing fraud. (Well, if anyone actually believed you, and it wasn't obvious to a reasonable observer that you were being facetious.) By merely showing adds where a not-particularly attractive person uses one's product, and then suddenly has a more attractive mate, you've covered yourself legally, if not exactly morally.

That being said, with alcohol it might actually work. (Although in that case it's getting your target to use enough of the product that they think you're attractive enough, but that's enough debate entirely.)

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (4, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960870)

...a need already exists ("I need social acceptance" - or something along those lines). With this research, the marketers are merely helping you fulfill this need by pushing past other products' attempts to get you to purchase them.

Thats the point, the need they exploit has nothing to do with the product they sell. Budweiser doesn't make me more popular with the ladies, nor the life of the party (unless the lady is a urinal, and the party is the hopping mens room culture). Car X doesn't make me a sexy, rich, race car driver. Nikes and Gatorade don't make me any less of a nonathletic geek. And the last time I drank a liquor that was advertised I didn't get suave, unless suave really means rowdy, sweaty, and hitting on fat chicks.

Advertising usually goes for cheap psychological gimmicks, rather than actually explaining why Pepsi is better than Coke, or telling me why a crappy plastic mop is better than the one I own.

In short, they lie. Advertising is just manipulation, and I, for one, do not like to be manipulated. If advertising actually told me WHY I need the product, I might be convinced, giving a genuine need.

Also I think there is a backlash because it is EVERYWHERE. You can't escape it, EVER. Every bus (school, or public), every show, every game, every webpage, the sky, the roads, etc... all deluge us constantly with the same cheap psychological gimmicks. They are tacky, ugly, and distractive (the latter being the goal).

They also lead to a superficial culture, since people actually buy into them. I once knew a girl who had a Nike "swoosh" tattooed on her arm, and a Calvin pissing on a Chevy logo on her truck. I asked her why. She told me that she agreed with what Nike stood for (crappy over-priced tennis shoes mad in asian sweatshops?), and that anyone who didn't like Ford was a pussy. We are bombarded with these stupid images so much that they HAVE TO influence our psychology, self, and culture. Its another step away from reality. Branding isn't real. /rant

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (0)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#22961300)

Advertising usually goes for cheap psychological gimmicks, rather than actually explaining why Pepsi is better than Coke
Can you explain it? Most of the stuff in the world is essentially the same, but there is something to be said about the emotional attachment people make with products. Its something that you just can't ignore, because it will happen at some level, advertising or not.

Also I think there is a backlash because it is EVERYWHERE. You can't escape it, EVER. Every bus (school, or public), every show, every game, every webpage, the sky, the roads, etc... all deluge us constantly with the same cheap psychological gimmicks.
And it pays for everything - free Web pages, free TV, etc.

They also lead to a superficial culture, since people actually buy into them
These are the morons that subsidize the things you want.

She told me that she agreed with what Nike stood for (crappy over-priced tennis shoes mad in asian sweatshops?), and that anyone who didn't like Ford was a pussy.
How is that different than any other fanboi type? Look at all the Apple lovers on this blog... or Windows Bashers (Would be funny to have a Tux pissing on the Windows Logo on your Truck)

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (0, Offtopic)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960966)

I need social acceptance
Indeed - the neuromarketers recently cottoned onto this and did an online neuro-study of peopl's needs and insecurities. The finds may surprise you [flickr.com]

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22961040)

Yeah, I don't see anything unethical either. If I kick you hard enough then the scream is still completely voluntary, right? I only helped you to let the scream out. Everybody has the need to scream every now and then, it's cathargic and healthy. I just got my kicks in before everyone else.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (4, Insightful)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22961384)

Their objective is to provide you with information that makes you want their product ...

In my days, the objective of marketing was to boost profits, and the ultimate wet dream was to find a means to make people addicted.

CC.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959980)

"Get Out Of My Brain!"

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (2, Insightful)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960288)

Huh? I must have missed the part where the subjects were forced to participate.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1)

neonmonk (467567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960830)

Leela: Didn't you have ad's in the 20th century?
Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio. And in magazines. And movies. And at ball games and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts and written on the sky. But not in dreams. No siree!

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22960950)

You keep right on tolerating that huge marketing cock, my friend, stroke it and tease it. Just don't come running, crying to me when it fucks you up the arse.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22961094)

Well yes, that would have been very easy to miss. Advertisments are very few and far between. Newspapers and magazines are only chockful of them, screen real estate is only half taken up with advertisments. Television airtime for direct advertizing is about 20 minutes on the hour.

So, they managed to find 6 willing subjects out of the 6 billion that are going to have to live with it and you think there's no big problem?

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (4, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959992)

The only probable result is that marketing campaigns will seem even more boorish and annoying to demographic outliers as the campaigns become tuned to the desires of core members of the target demographic.

No skin off my back... I haven't actually paid attention to a commercial for years, and I only read print ads that are in scientific and tech related publications.

While on the subject, I have often thought it would be nice if ads were filled with enough technical data about a product to perform a comparative evaluation against similar product ads. I doubt that will ever happen, though.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22960190)

by enough technical data you mean more naked women?

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (4, Insightful)

Selanit (192811) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960342)

No skin off my back... I haven't actually paid attention to a commercial for years, and I only read print ads that are in scientific and tech related publications.

Interesting. I'm sure the marketers are pleased. The less conscious you are of their message, the less capable you are of resisting it.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1)

ethergear (1130483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960496)

Arrrgh, I just spent my last mod point. What you say is quite true.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960904)

I'm guessing that prolonged exposure eventually leads to complete ignorance of them. Especially if your smart, or have had basic training in rhetorical/persuasion techniques.

I keep a book by the sofa that I read every time a commercial comes on. Often I walk out of the room and go pet my cat, or answer an email when a commercial break comes on. Often my roommate comments on a commercial that was just on, and I have no clue what they are talking about. 30 years of them have rather dulled the novelty, and academic training in social psychology and rhetoric have made most of their tactics transparent.

Even before I got Adblock, I stopped paying attention to the headers and side-bars on webpages. They were a perceptual hole, literally.

I did, though, stop watching sports. Too many adds.

When I buy a product I always buy the cheapest, unless I read enough third party reviews recommending a specific brand.

When something becomes ubiquitous enough it becomes mere background.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22960368)

The majority of americans claim that they don't pay attention to ads, and that they don't affect them. But why, then, is hundreds of billions of dollars spent on advertising in the US?

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960854)

IIRC, a research showed that people spend so much on marketing because everybody else is doing it.

Ads don't have that much of an effect anymore, but if you stopped advertising, you might disappear.
Most of the advertising money is therefore spent on keeping the status quo — seems a waste of resources to me.

Scary when applied to politics (1)

catchblue22 (1004569) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960530)

I find this sort of methodology quite disturbing when I imagine it used in political campaigns. In fact, I suspect it is already being used.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1)

ardle (523599) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960542)

it would be nice if ads were filled with enough technical data about a product to perform a comparative evaluation against similar product ads. I doubt that will ever happen, though.
In fact that's how advertising started out! [nyud.net] There's a really interesting documentary, The Century Of The Self [google.com] , that describes how advertising moved from that style to the situation we have today.
We could learn a lot from these guys ;-)

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1)

darknb (1193867) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960676)

Parent quote:
The only probable result is that marketing campaigns will seem even more boorish and annoying to demographic outliers as the campaigns become tuned to the desires of core members of the target demographic.

No skin off my back... I haven't actually paid attention to a commercial for years, and I only read print ads that are in scientific and tech related publications.

While on the subject, I have often thought it would be nice if ads were filled with enough technical data about a product to perform a comparative evaluation against similar product ads. I doubt that will ever happen, though. /Quote (i suck at the commenting on slashdot SORRY!!!)

(disclaimer: i have tendency to sound saracastic/arrogant in print. so i would like to say that i respect the parent and am only attempting to present a rationed argument against his/her position /disclaimer)

It doesn't seem like a problem, but it is. Demographics is an old term and they dont target them anymore. What they do target are lifestyles, groups of people who act and think a certain way but are not defined specifically by age, race, culture, etc. You say you don't pay attention to the ads and your right, the ads dont ask you to pay attention, they are trying to affect your emotions. Its not subliminal advertising, which turned out to be a bunch of hocus pocus.

When a marketing firm, PR division*, or advertising consulting group wants to sell a product they have a focus group where they ask people to describe the deep emotions they feel towards different products. They dont ask people what they would want in a product or why they would need to use it. This is because people are liars about ideals. With this new brain scanner they won't even have to ask you questions anymore, they can just show you the image/playthejingle/readthebrochure and then get the emotions right out of your head. They wont tell you the truth about products because they dont really think they are moved by advertising. To get around this problem they only ask questions of the focus group to elicit emotional responses that can then be divided into lifestyle groups and the firm can determine how to market the product. This is why they will NEVER do a scientific evaluation of products again, because that will not sell you a product. Reasoning with you is not nearly as effective as depending on you to lie to them, yourself, and your ideals. 'I like to think of myself as a modern enlightened liberal man, but this doesn't stop me from ocassionly slipping up and buying a Big Mac, or a Starbucks Latte.'

Okay, so they target our emotions and don't reason with us as human beings. Who gives a shit? Well, its kind of a problem in that it makes you a non-participant. In a perfect capitalist market demand is met by supplying what people need, this is determined largely by the consumer through the power of his wallet. An over-simplification, but i think we can agree its true. However, they no longer ask you what you need through reasoned argument or appeals to your ideals (things that you would consider rational). This means that not you, but your emotions are participating in the market.**

We don't live in a consumerist society, we live in a DEMOCRACTIC consumerist society. This is where marketing becomes the skin off my back. If appealing to emotions rather then ideals works in the market then why not the democracy? And it did, very well. Regan and Thatcher both polled very poorly with the demographics, however they fit people lifestyles very well. Whereas people were telling the polls that they supported welfare, social services, and govt. regulation of the market, they did not in fact support these things and the campaingers knew this. Clinton thought he could cut the military budget and raise taxes on the middle class to pay for welfare, his approval was destroyed. He hired a marketer, started giving speeches about adding V-chips to our TV sets, and dismantled the welfare system... he got a second term. Maybe you disagree about welfare, thats fine, it would be nice to argue about it some time...Rather then a marketer studying our deepest emotions to see what will poll fucking better. Im a liberal but i can say i am damn proud of George Bush at least he has the decency to stand for an ideal in the face of polls. Yeah I wish he would change his mind in the face of overwhelming evidence, sure, but not because of a poll.

Imagine for a second, no matter your opinion on the subject, that the threat of global warming and its links to the oil crisis are all clear cut and true. What should YOU do about it. Well as my economics professors likes to my class when he comes in with a fresh New York Times article about the sudden green craze. 'You dont have to do anything. Like in the 70s oil crisises, its not peoples sudden environmental concern that made us more green, but market forces. Oil prices went up, people burned less oil.' And here i thought i would have to care about world issues.

I have to wonder now, what exactly I am for. Why do i have ideals and beliefs if they are not needed? If the market forces can do my electing and conservation. And the democracy need only look into my head without a word, why the fuck am I living? I am a non-participant.

Yeah I'm fairly lefty, but I could deal with a democracy based on capitalism. Just please, please reform marketing. If capitalism delivers what the masses want, then why is the entire western landscape covered in advertisements and why are are our elected officals all focus-grouped to a congealed mess. I have never heard a human say they wanted either of these things.

Please ask EPICAC what humans are for.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays
he invented the term "Public Relations"
**note: this is not to say there are not exceptions, like linux, that sidestep marketing in favor of conversion of the masses through sheer quality. =D

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22960058)

All Americans suck because of their illegal advertising schemes.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1)

ramul (1103299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960240)

its been going on for quite a while... 'EEG , EKG + product = ??'
not very exciting if you ask me.

Re:It probably isn't illegal now ... (1)

Pinckney (1098477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960280)

Why should the government be the one to decide who I cannot permit to scan my brain?

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22959726)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
gauge the emotional power of various images [goatse.ch]

Similar to Interface (5, Insightful)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959728)

This is similar to a major plot device in Neal Stephenson's Interface [amazon.com] (don't worry, no referral).

In the book the people backing the lead character's bid for the presidency have a virtual "focus group" of people across the nation that watch his speeches. They are able to make adjustments to the speeches in real time by monitoring the reactions of the focus group's vitals.

I, for one, think that truth is not only stranger than fiction, but quickly becoming creepier as well.

Re:Similar to Interface (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959808)

Attributing that book to Neal Stephenson is like attributing Back To The Future to Steven Spielberg.

Re:Similar to Interface (1)

Heavy Machinery (65932) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959856)

Although the first thing that came to my mind when reading this was "what a pity that Philip K. Dick isn't alive today to see truth slowly but surely becoming stranger than fiction..."

Good point about it getting creepier as well!

Re:Similar to Interface (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959872)

I, for one, think that truth is not only stranger than fiction, but quickly becoming creepier as well.

Seems like cheating doesn't it? I don't see how it could ever be ruled illegal, unless you are monitoring viewers brainwaves when they haven't consented to it.

The only way around it is to educate the public on how to tell when they are being manipulated by this sort of marketing technique, eg the phrases and other tricks that are used to trick your brain into believing or wanting something which you otherwise wouldn't want. That sort of education would be beneficial on many many levels in terms of helping the general public 'wise up'...

DENIED (1)

Amocat (1210616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959752)

So, how will these marketing shrills handle the reactions when people start getting violently angry about these techniques?

Re:DENIED (0, Troll)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959776)

The same way anyone would when confronted with an insane reaction - call the cops.

Re:DENIED (1)

relikx (1266746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959926)

The proletariat will be too busy watching American Idol to care. There are many ways to quell fears with truth, lies, and advertising and I have a sinking suspicion that the public will happily lap up these responses and go back to self-loathing. Remember, marketers are only doing this to make you happier and your life better...

Ah Slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22959754)

Where junior college losers who work at Best Buy congregate to talk about technology, because they're... er... somehow qualified to hold opinions about... um... anything. Yeah, that sounds about right :)

Banks use it (3, Interesting)

Max von H. (19283) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959780)

Until a few months ago, I was working for a finance training institute. One of the courses was teaching neuromarketing techniques to bankers, specifically in the way it's used to 'sell' certain kind of less-than-stellar banking products *cough* subprime loans *cough*.

Seems to be working...

why not skip the bullshit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22959790)

and just employ hypnotists to force people to buy your crappy products god forbid that a product would be sold on its genuine merits advertising really is one of the nastiest traits of "capitalism" (if you can call it that at this point)

Re:why not skip the bullshit (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959816)

If there ever was a product that is justified to use "if you buy our product, attractive women will sleep with you" then it is alcohol.

Re:why not skip the bullshit (3, Funny)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959918)

Alternatively: "if you buy our product, you will sleep" seems a bit more reasonable, considering that the girl I met in a bar once didn't seem to think that me being drunk was a very good reason for her to sleep with me. I met another girl once, but I was sober and forgot how to talk.

Re:why not skip the bullshit (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959984)

Well, you only think they're attractive.
In this case, the goggles actually do something!

As long as you leave before you sober up... (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 6 years ago | (#22961024)

Is there really any way to prove they weren't?

Re:why not skip the bullshit (2, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960420)

...and just employ hypnotists to force people to buy your crappy products. God forbid that a product would be sold on its genuine merits. Advertising really is one of the nastiest traits of "capitalism" (if you can call it that at this point)
Remember - before you bitch too much about capitalism - that complaining about people subtly influencing your choice means that you have a choice. Sure it's nasty,sleazy, distastful, etc, but it is an inevitable side effect of you having a large amount of freedom about how you live your life and them having free speech.
Compare it to the other economic/political structures where one or both freedoms are missing.

Re:why not skip the bullshit (1)

ishark (245915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960846)

Compare it to the other economic/political structures where one or both freedoms are missing.

They are the same. In both cases you have a social system which encourages predatory behavior towards its own members, something which tends not to be a great strategy if you want long-term stability. As a matter of fact, the other economic/political structures you refer to aren't faring too well right now, but this does not mean capitalism works well, only that it takes longer since exploiting it is more complex.

False dichotomy (1)

happyhamster (134378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960864)

"inevitable side effect"

Your argument presents false dichotomy and is invalid. You assume that our only two choices are current capitalism with all the crap that comes with it, or some generic non-free state. How about a sane, regulated capitalism that works FOR the society and not just uses the society as a source of profit for the few? How about socialism with SOME elements of market economy and political freedom to avoid stagnation while keeping citizens happy and secure?

And no, socialism does not automatically mean totalitarianism.

A bit overboard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22959800)

This seems like an expensive solution that could be solved by something cheaper. Something like... oh, I don't know... asking the guys what they think?

I'm all for interesting technology, but it still surprises me a bit that Jack would actually pay to create an ad campaign this way.

Any more... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22959862)

holes in that study and the Swiss Cheese would be minus the cheese.

The "Neuromarketers" Said (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22959884)

"I thought I'd pick your brain 'cuz your nose was far too easy!"

Cue the chorus... (4, Insightful)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959906)

...of people who believe advertising doesn't affect them. Why would such incredible sums be spent on it if it were ineffective? Advertising is the most pervasive system of propaganda ever developed, and to pretend it doesn't affect us -- all of us -- is to bury one's head in the sand.

More than to brainwash us to buy individual products, the main work that advertising performs is to condition our basic assumptions about how we as individuals relate to other individuals and objects. Almost all ads say similar things to us; things like that freedom can be reduced to that of the marketplace, that our individuality is defined by our consumption choices, that we are always, always lacking *something* in ourselves but that happiness and completeness are only a purchase away...

And no, I'm not trying to deny the influence our marketing-saturated world has had on *me*. I just resent it, and the marketeers who helped create such a system.

Re:Cue the chorus... (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960180)

We are not productive anymore, they don't need us to make things anymore, it's all automated. What are we for then? We're consumers. Okay, buy a lot of stuff, you're a good citizen. But if you don't buy a lot of stuff, you know what? You're mentally ill! That's a fact!

Re:Cue the chorus... (2, Insightful)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960192)

You're too angry, bud.

Try this. I make my own vodka. I don't sell it (A, great flavor, B, uncle scam would assault me with the full weight of its bureaucratic thugs... thus, I withhold the goodies for my own consumption.)

I'll give free advice. If you spice vodka and mix it with various fruit juices (or plain water) it becomes rum. Depending on the mixtures, pure vodka can become pretty much any other drink. Just get some nice wooden barrels, proper filtration techniques and materials and distill away. (Something which you can, for the most part or a very tiny cost, make all by yourself, or the help of an industrious friend.)

Help yourself man.

I'll add a little more, I make my own wine, I often cook, I'm not great at all forms of cooking, yet, but I'm pretty good with some things (it is a LOT simpler than you think, and if you're a man, sane women will appreciate your company all the more for that skill)... but that doesn't mean that sometimes I don't go out and spend a week or more in the wild, with only a gun, a knife, a single bar of unscented soap and my knapsack for company... I have friends who take their bows, a knife and nothing but that for months on end... I'm not as tough as they are, yet. By the same token, I also occasionally enjoy going to a fancy restaurant... sometimes just to a burger joint. Its all about choices.

And short of not consuming food or air, or water, you DO always consume something, some of it is freely available in a pure form, and other stuff requires that human labor or inventivity (tool use) be applied to it in order to make that resource usable.

Stop bitching about marketing, and instead try to develop an immune system for yourself and those you love. Be immune to subliminal advertising by spotting what they are doing to you subconsciously. When you're actively looking for the pitch, you become incredibly hard to sell to. If you take it far enough, you will become impossible to sell to, even if the seller is honestly selling you something worthwhile at a good price.

Also, learn to haggle. America and the west are heading back to independence, and the vast unwashed masses will be dragged along kicking and screaming.

You have a hatred of the market, which generally just exists to fulfill wants and needs. What you may want to try is to develop the ability to make informed choices, as to what to patronize and what to avoid. What to make for yourself, and what to let others make for you... The market has existed for 6000 years that we can mostly verify, and probably much longer. Neither You nor I, nor the "anti establishment" groupies won't kill it. Rather understand it as a force, and figure out how to NOT be taken in by those who play dirty.

Personally I like having liquor in the house. Tobacco too... not cigarettes mind you, they're too cheap, too poorly filtered, and too likely to get you addicted, cigars and pipes/filler are expensive and thus reduce the smoker to actually having a reason to do it, rather than as a way to fidget... fidgeting is free using just hands and feet. I like having a pool table, a computer on which I can log into other computers and we can bitch about the unfairness of the world. Personally I like being able to shave my beard, and brush my teeth. I don't think very highly of toothpaste but I make a few of my own concoctions that do less damage and leave less crap on my teeth, and won't cause me fluorosis. I like soap. I like deodorants. I buy some, but I know how to make all of them. Amusing? Why should it be? Humans are inventive. We're the apex super predator EXACTLY because we're tool users, not just another animal. We're THE animal in our entire ecosystem. We got out of the mud through our usage of tools, especially that most important tool, that thing inside our skull. Yet once we all got out of the mud, many seem to have forgotten how and why we did it, and many are stuck bitching about how unfair the world is, rather than doing what the winners of this little game are doing. Using their all important tool inside the skull to better him or herself as each individual owner of the particular skull feels to his or her liking.

Good luck to you. Buy it, make it, or just plain refuse to have it, live or die, but do so on your own terms.

Re:Cue the chorus... (1)

bit01 (644603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960492)

Stop bitching about marketing

Enough with the nonsense. Unsolicited marketing is stealing ever more of the time of our lives and the time of our life is the most precious thing we have.

Modern unsolicited mass marketers are scum. It's no accident that marketers rate very low in respect surveys. Most unsolicited marketers should be in jail for fraud - almost all ad's on hot media like network TV are fraudulent, not to mention the fact that puerile consumerism crowds out much more important concerns like intelligent government or responsible parenting - too much noise can destroy free speech just as much as too little message.

You have a hatred of the market,

No, he has a hatred of unsolicited mass marketing. One of the evil things that marketing parasites have managed to do is to conflate unsolicited and solicited mass marketing drivel and also conflated a free market with unlimited, unsolicited advertising.

which generally just exists to fulfill wants and needs.

If only. The vast majority of unsolicited marketing is purely to create unnecessary, artificial needs. Everything from stupidly overpriced gym shoes to polluting 4WD's to massively overpriced cosmetic products.

My fix? They should start actually enforcing anti-fraud laws on the individual marketers. Not companies. That and "mind share" advertising should be very heavily taxed. Unsolicited marketing is a form of mental pollution and they should pay through the nose for polluting our mental environment or be forced to clean up the mess.

---

Some people believe with great fervor preposterous things that just happen to coincide with their self-interest.
-- Judge Frank Easterbrook, Coleman v. CIR (7th Cir 1986) 791 F2d 68 at 69 [and quoted in several subsequent court decisions]

Re:Cue the chorus... (1)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960754)

almost all ad's on hot media like network TV are fraudulent

All things on TV are fraudulent, people knew this under communism. How come so much better people like western intellectuals actually watch TV? Aren't you people supposed to have side stepped outright dictatorship?

not to mention the fact that puerile consumerism crowds out much more important concerns like intelligent government or responsible parenting

Government of the few fallible mortals over the many fallible mortals, regardless of how often they cycle in and out, is either fraudulent, violent or both. Never benevolent. Government produces nothing that people cannot have amongst each other for free. Government however requires either fraudulent confiscation of property (taxes, eminent domain, bullshit drug laws, malum prohibitum crimes, etc) in order to sustain the ever growing bureaucracy.

Sort of the old adage. To retain control of a system, you must exert ever increasing amounts of control... until you reach the tipping point and the system collapses. All you had to do in the first place was let go. Of course, letting go of a free lunch is NOT what "intelligent government" is about.

Responsible parenting exists. Most of those "responsible parents" don't have TV in their homes. It is telling when several executives of top Japanese companies do NOT have TV service in their homes.

- too much noise can destroy free speech just as much as too little message.

Free speech cannot be destroyed, it can merely be masked. Everyone hears all the messages, some are just louder than others. This has been preached by every prophet and every wise man in history. "Tune out the noise of he world and listen to the quieter voice." Translate it how you will, but it still means the same damn thing.

No, he has a hatred of unsolicited mass marketing. One of the evil things that marketing parasites have managed to do is to conflate unsolicited and solicited mass marketing drivel and also conflated a free market with unlimited, unsolicited advertising.

Agreed... Mass marketing drivel. EXACTLY, so why are you watching that mass marketing drivel called TV?

Why don't you go outside, go for a swim, go get laid, go watch TV or teach your kids something, or have some kids or go raise a dog or shoot some squirrels and make a tasty soup? Oh wait, because TV's got ya, and even if it was commercial free, it would still have you by the nuts until the day you drop dead.

Everything from stupidly overpriced gym shoes to polluting 4WD's to massively overpriced cosmetic products.

Still wearing the same spit shined boots I've worn since I was in college... that or my underpriced, half off expensive hiking boots. 5 years running now, both pairs in top notch condition. Maybe instead of buying expensive, they ought to hammer a few pairs and see which lasts. Having a relative who works leather and makes boots out on the eastern block helped.

Polluting 4WD's amuse me, I use mine. I live in the boonies and I really don't want to care for a horse. You know the greatest pollution is produced by people's shit being dumped in their drinking water, treated or not, and all that power to run your TeeVee produces a LOT of pollution. If you didn't watch TV or leave it running for your kids to be braindamaged by it, you'd cut half your pollution print off by a goodly portion.

Try taking cold showers while you're at it. After all, you're complaining about the evil of consumerism, but until you've taken some steps yourself, and can apply them religiously to EVERY aspect of your life, you can't be one to talk. I generally walk the walk when it comes to my own talk. Hell my computers have been saving a LOT of power since I dropped Windows as my desktop OS. I don't game much anymore and coupled with TeeVee, I have more free time, between contracts than I know what to do with.

Hell I'll probably start another business just because I got nothing better to do :) You'll probably still be upset at the evil marketroids by then. You could, instead put your skull contents to use figuring out something people might want or even (gasp) need, and then provide it.

Some people believe with great fervor preposterous things that just happen to coincide with their self-interest.
-- Judge Frank Easterbrook, Coleman v. CIR (7th Cir 1986) 791 F2d 68 at 69 [and quoted in several subsequent court decisions]


Lovely quote. Isn't it interesting how the people who want to tell others how to live, who to fuck, what to drink, what to smoke, how to talk, and how to dress or shave are the same people who decide that we need "more" law enforcement, more government and more laws? Guess it is the law enforcer's self interest that makes him want more laws to enforce and more potential criminals made with the stroke of a pen, eh?

Funny, when that was done by a dictator its "evil" but when the tyranny of the majority does it, its considered "good and lawful". Funny how the "common good" is an ever shifting, subjective target, isn't it?

Typo... (1)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960772)

Why don't you go outside, go for a swim, go get laid, go watch TV or teach your kids something,

Typo copy and pasting. Should read as follows:

Why don't you go outside, go for a swim, go get laid, or teach your kids something,

Re:Cue the chorus... (1)

slig (1233832) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960218)

Well the alternate world where there's no cash/consumption economy is a scary place for some, and it's in the best interest of people who subscribe to that model to keep it alive any way they can. As an extension of the humans which created it, economics is a pervasive, organic, living thing in itself. The best defense would be to maintain the mental barrier against the innocuous manipulation of marketers, or at least try and confuse their data.

Re:Cue the chorus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22960374)

Advertising doesn't affect me because it doesn't reach me. I don't watch TV or listen to the radio. I don't touch junk mail, dead wood or electric. My browser has a good ad blocker. My mind has an excellent ad blocker that skips anything resembling an ad when reading a newspaper or walking on the street. I can't honestly remember the last time I was exposed to an ad. Take that, advertisers!

Recursive? (1)

PJ The Womble (963477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959920)

Isn't it rather bad scientific method to test (n) out on users of (n), then measuring effect rather than cause?
Or is this just a really good argument to dismiss marketing generally as pseudo-science?

Re:Recursive? (1)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960314)

They are not trying to win an economics nobel prize, they are trying to sell whisky.

This whole tinfoil hat discussion is way overboard. This is just a high tech version of a focus group study, which is something advertisers have been doing for ages. So long as they are only measuring brain activity of volunteer subjects instead of their actual customers, they can do whatever the fuck they want.

When does it stop being everyday spruking... (2, Insightful)

distantbody (852269) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959944)

...of a 'useful' product and just start being actual manipulation to buy shit-on-a-stick?

Here I guess.

Of course the thought of some trailer-tr@sh soaking up the latest food-o-matic-slicer-dicer-3001 suggests we're way past that point. However, if even educated people are enticed, then that might be the sign that it is more manipulation that advertising, and it shouldn't be allowed.

Actually I guess that even being edumacated hasn't been less-and-less protection in the past few decades...but I wouldn't bet on seeing US governing bodies making any changes to reduce that.

advertise
1. to announce or praise (a product, service, etc.) in some public medium of communication in order to induce people to buy or use it: to advertise a new brand of toothpaste.

manipulate
1. to manage or influence skillfully, esp. in an unfair manner, eg: to manipulate people's feelings.

This is creepy, but what's really new here? (5, Insightful)

Conspicuous Coward (938979) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959968)

Yes, marketers using technology to quite literally get inside your head is a very creepy prospect. But marketers have been using everything at their disposal to get into your head since forever. How is this different?

Personally I find the fact that there's a multi-trillion dollar industry working full time in an effort to manipulate my conscious and subconscious mind into believing that corporation X is my friend and that I desperately need they're crap in order to be a worthwhile individual already is creepy enough.
The fact that this industry's influence is so pervasive they can subject each of us to thousands of hours of their propaganda before we're even old enough to think makes that doubly so. There is good research showing that more 4 year olds now recognise the mcdonalds logo that most common animals or shapes.

I also particularly love this

to gauge the emotional power of various images, including college kids drinking cocktails on spring break, twentysomethings with flasks around a campfire, and older guys at a swanky bar'. The results were used to fine-tune an ad campaign for the maker of Jack Daniels.
Scientific research on how to better push drugs. Lovely. You'd think there were more serious problems for neuroscientists to be working on than how to get more people to destroy their brains with JD. I also love how this fact elicits absolutely no comment in the article, imagine the media reaction if the same technology was found being used to push marijuana.

Re:This is creepy, but what's really new here? (1)

MikeUW (999162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960002)

If I had mod points, I'd mod the parent up as insightful. I also find it disturbing that research conducted in higher education institutions is being mandated by rich corporations looking for more efficient ways to get richer.

Re:This is creepy, but what's really new here? (1)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960236)

Well who else is going to pay for those buildings and expensive hardware those college kids are using to keep from doing something actually useful to themselves or others?

The fact that somebody (Jack Daniels) actually found a way to benefit from it, good for them. The fact that Jack Daniels feels the need to do this makes me laugh.

What most of you don't realize is that the audience JD is targeting would have already decided they were going to somehow acquire liquor and drink it. JD, to my knowledge just needs to sway these people to THEIR side. I can see no other logical reason that people would view these ads.

Then again... I have a lot of time in my life, I don't watch TV.

Re:This is creepy, but what's really new here? (1)

PopeGumby (1125507) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960018)

I guess it comes down to who sponsored the study? only the advertising R&D budget of quite large companies would be able to sponsor this sort of thing, so alcohol companies would be my first bet, possibly tied with cigarette companies?

Re:This is creepy, but what's really new here? (1)

relikx (1266746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960112)

Full disclosure, I work in advertising/marketing.

Your over-simplification of the industry being solely focused on _manipulation_ shows your fears are more grounded in Orwellian fantasy than reality.

There's no denying advertisers are pushers pure and simple. You underestimate the tacit symbiosis that exists in certain consumer segments and the respective products at hand though.

Are there ethics in this profession? Not especially, but the problem is that the modern system of content delivery is firmly rooted in this bargain and it won't go away any time soon.

I unfortunately have to default to the fact that this is one of the maladies of modern society and technology but I can't help but feel disdain for a consumerist society that happily chokes this stuff down, making our jobs much easier.

Just kidding about the over-simplification part, at least we all have front row seats for the disaster that is our society.

Re:This is creepy, but what's really new here? (1)

blueadept1 (844312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960254)

Thank you for your insight. I got modded down -1, troll for my comment from a marketing perspective. Enjoy what's coming for you next. I would argue that there are ethics, but there is a difference in what we feel is ethical relative to the general public.

Re:This is creepy, but what's really new here? (1)

tiks (791388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960564)

My real concern with this is that while this form of marketing is just another way of 'getting to you' but there are longer term (& subtler) aspects of it. I'll elaborate it, Basically every other form of marketing is creating a hypothetical situation which is biased towards the product being pushed. but it still has to go through the assimilate-evaluate mechanism of brain. Worst that can happen to a subject is that they will remember a particular product/tune longer term & hopefully (for the marketer) till he has to make a purchase decision. The evil of these approaches is that the scheme bypasses the mechanisms created through life experiences and directly impresses an idea upon the mind. This in longer term , I think, will have the same kind of effect on brain as something like gambling or cigarette addiction.

There is another way of looking at it, its basically that any given situation can be broken up into variations of gross to subtler aspects. In my experience if you keep playing to grosser aspects sooner or later you will start getting grosser responses & that i think is the real damage such approaches.

Re:This is creepy, but what's really new here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22960874)

Scientific research on how to better push drugs. Lovely. You'd think there were more serious problems for neuroscientists to be working on than how to get more people to destroy their brains with JD. I also love how this fact elicits absolutely no comment in the article, imagine the media reaction if the same technology was found being used to push marijuana.

I just had to reply.

The problem is not that neuroscientists don't have better things to do, it is that they don't have any funding to do it. There is lots of really good science that is lost by not being done. Not because there is better science to be done or it isn't interesting enough, but simply because it isn't funded. Instead marketing has the money to spend and the desire. So the neuroscientists are left with a choice either do the science or do no science.

that is so not right (0)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22959974)

Any scientist working on this program should have their fingers taken off with bolt-cutters. This sort of predatory marketing is a crime against the human soul.

Re:that is so not right (2)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960256)

There was a fellow, sometime ago, wrote a book called "The Monkeywrench Gang".

Irony is... he had a "recipe for freedom"... went something like this:

"How to be free, kick in your TeeVee brew your own beer, kill your own meat, build your own cabin, and piss off the front porch whenever you damn feel like it. That is how to be free."

I feel damn disappointed only that I forgot the guy's name. Good philosophy. If you can't do it yourself, then WTF are you bitching about? I was like this too, some time ago. Always bitching about the unfairness of the world. Kept me from actually living my life.

Instead of bitching about road blocks, find dynamite, instead of bitching about a river to cross, find a ford, instead of bitching about lack of time, cancel your cable, take your tv outside, and either shoot it (if you have a projectile weapon) bash it to pieces (if you have a good strong arm or a heavy melee weapon) or hook it up to a surveillance camera that you aim at your mailbox.

Voila, now you know where the mail is, and you rarely have to watch TV more than a few seconds to know all it can possibly show you. And you can finally catch that little shit from next door who keeps stealing your mail and your fear spewing newspaper! Happy joy! All of a sudden you have LOTS of time available.

Worked for me. :)

20 minutes (1)

stox (131684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960042)

20 years, Blipverts here we come.

Obligatory Futurama Reference..... (2, Funny)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960076)

Prof: Farnsworth: "The ads get into your dreams the same way this liquid gets into this egg." (sticks syringe into egg. Egg pops and splatters) "Except instead of liquid, it's gamma radiation!"

Wow. I thought that level of unleashed marketing was only good for cartoon humor.

As we all know... (1)

nexuspal (720736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960160)

IQ has increased 3 points per year for quite a while now. If nothing else, these improved marketing methods will increase this "increase in knowledge" so to speak. This has been a game that we've played since the inception of man, ever improving manipulation methods to meet ones own ends.

read it (1)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960170)

"The Tunnel Beneath the World" by Philip Jose Farmer

One day in the office (2, Funny)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960200)

[Non descript Office worked walks up to a door marked "Marketing Dept" then opens it.]

Marketing Dept "BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINS"

[Office worker quickly shuts door scratches head then opens it again]

Marketing Dept BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINS WE WANT MORE BRAAAAAINS"

[Office worked shakes head and quickly heads down the hall.]

Focus groups wil now be even weirder (1)

ZWithaPGGB (608529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960204)

As if the self selection of losers with nothing better to do than get free junk when the rest of us are working hadn't already skewed how we were being pitched in favor of the lower part of the distribution that ensures the average IQ is 100, now ads will be dictated by those so dumb they are willing to let their minds be hooked up to machines.

When will the ad agencies realize they are marketing to the outliers at the low end of the intellectual, and therefore the socioeconomic, spectrum? Or will Adwords and Overture actually get ALL the ad budget before they figure out no-one with any money cares what they put on TV?

how would it be extrapolated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22960224)

> roughly extrapolate how a consumer reacts to products and advertisements

If I killed the last door to door salesman by strangling him with his own entrails and forced him to watch his own slow death by supergluing his eyelids to his extracted fingernails sharpened and driven into his skull near his eyesockets, how would that be extrapolated?

Death of a Salesman, Birth of a Marketroid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22960334)

If I killed the last door to door salesman by strangling him with his own entrails and forced him to watch his own slow death by supergluing his eyelids to his extracted fingernails sharpened and driven into his skull near his eyesockets, how would that be extrapolated?

"The cycle for cyanoacrylate adhesives that started with test subject William Loman has reached its endpoint. A new applications with a different target market will have to be found to drive demand for this product, owing to the diminished size of its legacy userbase."

Perhaps I'm missing something... (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960290)

But do you really need elaborate ad testing methods to sell alcohol? I was under the impression that it just had to not taste like ass while still keeping a reasonable price compared to the other non-ass-tasting brands.

Who's marketing to whom?? (4, Insightful)

bjbest (808259) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960344)

I've seen the news stories on neuro-marketing before. My purely "gut" feeling is that try to collerate imagery with brain activity, and trying to find the magic solution to push the "buy it now, buy it now button in your mind is all a bunch of baloney and it proves that the "neuromarketers" have successfully marketed themselves to major advertisers.

The neuromarketers dazzle the advertisers with high tech research tools and high-concept pseudoscience and charge a lot of money for the privlidge. Quite a scam.

What upsets me is that the waiting lists for MRI scans for legitiment medical uses can be weeks or even months long (in Canada at least), while these expensive machines, and the scarce qualified persons that operate them, are tied up for completely "frivilous", and likely totally useless purposes.

That's fine... (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960608)

Most consumers aren't using their brains anyway.

Waste of potential (1)

urIkon (1073202) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960764)

Sad that something that (I believe) has a lot of potential with media and entertainment is pioneered to sell you shit.

Re:Waste of potential (1)

urIkon (1073202) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960776)

Sad that something that (I believe) has a lot of potential with media and entertainment is pioneered to sell you shit.
*I meant potential outside of research and medicine.

Hype alert (3, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960766)

This article, or possibly the book he reviews, makes some startling leaps of conclusion. What the researchers have done is to compare brain activity to mental activity; nothing new in this, just another step on the way to understanding. The advertising agency has used this to evaluate which kind of adverts seems to work best, on average, with people; nothing new in this either, but now they are trying to use another data source than before.

The article then jumps from these admittedly interesting results to start musing about 'what if "they" could read or even influence your mind as you walk into the shop' - which is of course utter nonsense. As things stand now you still require expensive machinery - you cannot 'scan' people's thought as they pass, and it is not likely that it will ever be possible to pick out individuals in a crowd anyway; and you cannot subject people to strong magnetic fields etc on a daily basis, it is simply too bad for their health. Put on top of that the fact that our actual thoughts are not something that can be easily interpreted from the electrical state of your brain - even if one could work out a precise rule book that would allow us to read the thoughts of one person, there is no guarantee that the same rules would work for somebody else. Each person has a unique brain, which is why they have different taste, reach different conclusions from the same facts and behave in different ways. What you can do is see some of the basic ingredients of our state of mind - how much anxiety, elation, sexual arousal, hunger etc - but one can't really tell what decisions a person will make, at least not in much detail. The complexity in doing this is as great as or even greater than predicting the weather.

So where does this leave things? The advertising agency now believes they can design better marketing campaigns because they have used 'scientific data'; but the fact is that all they can hope for is to strike a chord with an average of people. This doesn't really change a thing - it is not difficult to predict average behaviour, but it is next to impossible to predict what an individual will do. As far as I can see, this is just an advert: an advert for the agency.

Neuromarketing? (1)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960882)

In other words, the corporations are paying people to go looking for exploits in our brains. Full disclosure and all that, right? The problem is that once they've found the exploit, you can't just go and get a patch from the vendor. They're not full disclosure either; a better analogy would be those zero-day trading scenes where crackers sell exploits to the krasnaya mafiya.

Just why should this be legal?

(If you want to be picky about it, it's more like privilege escalation than rooting.. but I'm straining the analogy. And note that the market only works if we're "rational actors" - totally bug-free.)

Re:Neuromarketing? (1)

tinkerton (199273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22961424)

Apart from legal issues, if advertising/PR/propaganda would become highly effective by whatever means, could we still allow it?

I tend to worry more about the actual effect than about the legality - but maybe I shouldn't. Anyway, I think the metaphor is useful, exploits are being found and used all the time, and we need patches. Not necessary legal patches, education patches.

Sometimes Slashdot is pathetic... (3, Insightful)

NEOtaku17 (679902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22960934)

Why is it that Slashdot's first reaction to these types of studies is "there should be a law!"? What ever happened to free speech? Seriously, if you don't like ads DON'T WATCH THEM! Stop demanding that the government outlaw everything you find uncomfortable or annoying or else don't complain when religious people try to regulate your life and control what you watch and say.

Re:Sometimes Slashdot is pathetic... (1)

Tranzistors (1180307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22961304)

Geeks don't watch ads, that is why we live in basement, pirate movies, use ad-block etc. But outside of trenches there is almost nothing we can do to prevent ads from getting to us.

"Neuromarketers Pick the Brains of Consumers" (1)

ardor (673957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22961250)

Is George Romero making a new movie?

Harvard helping marketers sell booze? (1)

Cuppa 'Joe' Black (1000483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22961496)

"At McLean Hospital, a once prestigious psychiatric institution ..."

There, I fixed that for them.
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