What Super Bowl Advertisers Are Learning From Brain Scans

Corporations are learning about the way our brains respond to advertising, and they’re finding out that they don’t work the way we think they do. And that’s just the way the advertisers want it.

In order to help corporations study the way your brain works, FKF Applied Research has partnered with the Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, to “measure the effect of many of the Super Bowl ads by using fMRI technology.”

Why is this research important to advertisers? According to FKF’s website it, “shows clearly that what people say in focus groups and in response to poll questions is not what they actually think, feel and do.”

It seems that brands live in a specific part of our brains, the same part that responds to the logos of sports teams. And we all know how rational we are about loyalty to sports teams. Ahem, Chicago Cubs?

What does this mean for you?

According to The Situationist, it’s pretty grim:

Corporations don’t exactly have a good track record when it comes to learning counterintuitive information about human decision making and then using it responsibly. Rather, the best approach for maximizing shareholder profit is to discover some seemingly-illogical detail about the human brain, use that knowledge to sell more widgets, and then convince the public that their na

ve (and incorrect) beliefs about how they make choices are, in fact, correct.

The fact that your brain may not behaving how you think it does is a hard pill to swallow. We’d like to think that all our decisions are rational and objective. Surely, YOU aren’t manipulated by advertising, right? Not YOU. —MEGHANN MARCO

The Big Game: What Corporations Are Learning About the Human Brain
[Situationist]

Comments

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  1. Ford Edsel, anyone?

  2. B says:

    This isn’t exactly ground-breaking research. All it means is that branding is important and consumers will chose a brand or product based on irrational reasoning. Just try remember that next time you chose between Coke and Brand-X cola.

  3. zuvembi says:

    The fact that your brain may not behaving how you think it does is a hard pill to swallow. We’d like to think that all our decisions are rational and objective. Surely, YOU aren’t manipulated by advertising, right? Not YOU.

    I know I’m just as susceptible as anyone else to advertising. That’s why I go to a fair amount of trouble not to be exposed to it. I haven’t missed not hearing commercials on the radio or television. If it wasn’t for billboards and ads on the internet, I’d see very little advertising. At least those don’t have sound… Yet.

  4. theckhd says:

    “Surely, YOU aren’t manipulated by advertising, right? Not YOU. -MEGHANN MARCO”

    Well, now that we’ve read the results of this research, maybe not. Once you’re ‘in the know,’ the advertising techniques don’t always work the same way anymore. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll react rationally and objectively, but you may not react in the intended or normal fashion either.

    If an average person subconsciously equates the NFL logo with eating, but someone reads an article explaining this connection, it’s not impossible for them to dissociate or alter that link due to the new conscious information they just acquired.