One of the arguments in the book revolves around the absurd pricing of advertising during big public events like the Super Bowl. If advertisers weren't concerned about the common knowledge aspect of their messages, they would air their ads when the cost per viewer is lowest. And you do see this with non-social goods, which tend to be advertised during off hours. But companies producing social goods like beer pay much more per viewer for prime-time and Super Bowl slots in order to get their product into the cultural zeitgeist. If you see something in a Super Bowl ad, you know most other people have seen it too.
 PDF of the original 2001 manuscript: http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/polisci/cpworkshop/papers/Chwe1.p...
With advertising, it's not so clear whether people derive value from buying the same beer everyone is buying (although for certain products, sure). Is someone more inclined to buy a Corona or a bag of Doritos from merely knowing that others have seen the ad?
Then again, if the ad is particularly funny or surprising then knowing that others know about the ad certainly makes it easier to casually converse about the ad with others. Maybe then I'll buy a corona just for shits and giggles, who knows. If this is what is meant by 'entering the culture', then maybe this theory holds water. It just seems like a really expensive way to do it.
Maybe you choose your household cleaners just to impress your guests. You wear Axe Body Spray because of what it communicates about you ("Hey girl, I'm wearing Axe Body Spray right now"). I don't need bystanders while I drink Corona in order to feel like I'm the kind of guy who'd rather be chilling on a beach far from the daily grind. I'm making a statement to myself about the kind of person I am, one who endorses those values or that fantasy.
There's got to be a way to take the bystander out of the equation. If we want to maintain the idea that we are all rational thinkers -- only "culture" is irrational, or other people's subconsciouses! -- how about: the advertiser is selling us a bit of meaning, thereby increasing the value of the product. Meaning is hard to obtain, and making purchasing decisions based on advertisements is one way for rational individuals to obtain this scarce resource.
I don't agree with your point about non-immunity. Cultural imprinting works because it leverages the desire that humans have to portray a certain image or belong to a certain group.
As rational humans, we can eliminate the pull of such ads by building our own understanding about the group the ad is appealing to, and how that ad appeals to the group. Equipped with this understanding, we can find far more effective ways than drinking Corona to portray the image of being chill and relaxed.
Alternatively, we can reconsider our willingness to be included in that group. Once we realize the only thing binding Corona drinkers together is their collective vision of some beach, we might realize that there's more interesting people to drink with.
>>>> The problem is that there's no escape, no immunity, from this kind of ad. Once we see it — and know that all our peers have seen it too — it's in our rational self-interest to buy the advertised product.
No it's not. That's where non-immunity falls down. For one thing, peer pressure is still only one factor in choosing a product, and we can still use our rational brains to weigh it against other factors. It only adds to the information at our disposal, but doesn't necessarily outweigh other information.
We might decide that tasty beer is more important than personal image, or that the social impact of our beer choice is either negligible or not worth paying extra for.
> Beer, soft drinks, gum, every kind of food (think backyard barbecues). Restaurants, coffee shops, airlines. Cars, computers, clothing. Music, movies, and TV shows (think about the watercooler at work). Even household products send cultural signals, insofar as they'll be noticed when you invite friends over to your home. Any product enjoyed or discussed in the presence of your peers is ripe for cultural imprinting.
Your choice of coffee shop or fast food communicates something to your peers if you're seen there, which, as far as I know, is often fairly uncommon, depending on your situation. It's nice to be culturally aware, but that doesn't constrain your consumption of music, movies, and TV too much (especially music) unless you watch very little. Nobody notices what brand of sneakers you're wearing... at least, I rarely even look down that far, and I can't believe other people are that different. Household products? Maybe once in a year.
Nor do I find all of the anecdotes convincing.
Bed sheets - sheets themselves may not be the hottest product category, but I've seen many mattress and mattress store commercials. Tempur-pedic, Sleepy's (I have heard that jingle so many times I doubt I will ever forget it), etc.
Gas stations - don't advertise because usually you don't have multiple stations right next to each other. Since the service is a commodity, everyone goes to the closest station.
Why not two-faced - because it's easier to remember something if it's clear, well-defined, and repeated often, and that includes unconscious associations. No need to bring in cultural factors.
Yes, but at least around here, mattress ads actually try to convince you about the quality of their products, by talking about the technology and showing how work. I've never seen an ad that was just a person sleeping peacefully, Corona-style.
Nobody notices what brand of sneakers you're wearing... at least, I rarely even look down that far, and I can't believe other people are that different.
Really? Do you know many teenagers? I don't look at them either, but I can tell you that both my sixteen-years-old brother and most of his friends definitely do.
Anyway, there are lot's of forms of advertizing. From informative "talk to your doctor about ED" to simply memorable. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVcbasIb8lQ
However, the cultural inception idea is not about some sort of Pavlovian response. You don't actually get to taste what's for sale in a supermarket, so it's an abstract choice. And with little to no information to work off of you make a split second decision after split second decision which is draining. In that situation simple familiarity is worth a lot. Similarly, your not actually going to test drive every car in your price range on the market.
That said, signaling is a big part of advertising. If nobody knows you just spent 20k on a watch it's harder to justify the purchase.
I think this article is specifically referring to branding advertising as opposed to educational, informative, direct response, etc...
re: watch purchases, those that spend 20k on watches are usually people who can appreciate the amazing craftsmanship, mechanics, and art form behind it. Here is a mindblowing video of a Corum Golden Bridge being made. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOdmoGoh3ck
I am not discounting the status symbol of owning a $20k watch...but I could just as easily impress lots of people with a TAG watch for 1/10th the price. or a Patek Phillipe for half the price.
However, for comparison Intel is manufacturing at 14 nm which means their features size is ~30 atoms wide. Or ~1 million times more precise than those watches and few people care. High end watches became a status symbol in the 16th century and technology has simply progressed to the point where there low tech by comparison.
Anyway, people who buy 20k watches are generally the kind of people that can afford to buy them. It's simply not a major purchase to most of them.
There are plenty of people that can afford to purchase them that don't as well. I think you need a deep appreciation for the art to be comfortable dropping $20k on a watch even if its a drop in the bucket for you.
While I disagree with the article for other reasons, your post is missing a fundamental point. Your behavior is based on what YOU think these products say about you socially, not whether they actually do say those things.
Believe it. Many are.
>We may not conform to a model of perfect economic behavior, but neither are we puppets at the mercy of every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a billboard. We aren't that easily manipulated.
Yeah. Yeah we are.
It looks like the author of this is just some random engineer without a lot of backround in marketing or persuasion psychology. That's a shame because he's clearly interested in it and it's a really cool field. Like the author, I'm not going to cite specific sources in this comment, but anything in it is probably covered in Cialdini's Influence (a fantastic starting point for persuasion psychology) or Gass & Seiter's Persuasion (which is not as easy to read as Influence but is a better textbook).
First off, advertisements definitely do work via simple association. Humans use liking as a heuristic for virtually all decisions (we decide in favor of things we like), so increasing liking increases purchases fairly reliably. A warmth appeal like a Coke ad with smiling faces will reliably create an association between Coke and positive emotions just because that's how humans are wired. If you activate two concepts together, you link them. This is just how humans work and is the basis of most of cognitive psychology. Many, many things make sense once you start to see things in terms of co-activation and priming.
The author calls this emotional inception, but that's sort of... not a real term, so I'll just call it association, which is the actual term. You do associate Coke with positivity after seeing it often enough. That's the basis on which observational learning works, and observational learning is pretty obviously a thing. If you don't believe me on that you can pretty simply replicate some Banderas experiments with a 6 year old if you happen to have one lying around.
The current cognitive model of persuasion closest to the truth (IMHO) is Kruglanski's Unimodel. But it's too complicated to explain here and the older models will work, so I'll use an older model here for the purposes of explanation. Older persuasion models posited that there were two routes to compliance: the central route, through the target's careful, rational consideration of options, and the peripheral route, through cognitively quick decisions made mostly on factors that are heuristic. This is a natural way of viewing things in a System 1/System 2 algorithms vs. heuristics world (for more on this see Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow).
Humans almost never spend enough time on a decision for it to be considered rational in any way. Humans are wired with a fairly small amount of heuristics and we use those for literally everything. Liking, availability, and conformity are all we can muster in most cases. The author dislikes this, but doesn't offer any reason why it isn't true, and doesn't present any science as to why it isn't true, so... sorry man, but you might just have to accept humans aren't rational. I know it might be difficult to be a libertarian after that, but I'm sure you'll deal.
Because of this, virtually all advertising is targeted at the peripheral route. All of the mechanisms the author discusses are peripheral cues: Associational priming to create liking, mere exposure effects, appeals to authority (sorry, saying 4/5 doctors recommend X is not a rational cue to buy X), brand image, resource expenditure (as if people who buy more expensive engagement rings are less likely to cheat -- I'd bet money the opposite is true!), and finally, what the author calls cultural imprinting, but is actually something like a mix of self-image manipuulation. Because of the mechanisms used for observational and social learning, images that don't actually give us food can create these cognitive links that later do cause us to buy products.
When you see the Corona add, you notice a few things. The first is probably the attractive person of the gender you're attracted to. The advertisers nicely put two of them there, so you could be anything but asexual and have something to salivate over. You notice the open space and clear skies, and the beach, something you probably have a positive association with already with lots of nice sensory cues. Very last, you'd notice the text, which you have to manually process, and you'd notice that it says "Find your beach", which implies that drinking Corona will make you feel similar to these things. The ad has communicated that Corona will make you attractive, calm, and relaxed, which are all nice things on their own. The ad also does, as the author points out, establish another association on the meta-level, between people who drink Corona and people who have these qualities. This isn't terribly different from any of the other aspects of the ad, though, and it's certainly not a different mechanism. Ultimately it all comes down to making associations.
I really hope the author and other interested people get into the actual science behind persuasion. It's a really fun field and it's very rewarding.
But the truth is most effects and mechanisms are overemphasized and exaggerated, because it makes a more compelling story. That is not to say that many of the mechanisms and factors that are reported aren't real or influential, it's just that they are over-hyped, over-appreciated or less understood than the academics reporting these studies back to the public care to admit.
You are putting far too much weight on the power of association in advertising. Much of the benefits of branding can be explained in a much more parsimonious manner. If given the choice between a and b, you will probably pick the one that is more familiar to you. Advertising works best if it gets people's attention. If you think people drink Dos Equis because people subconsciously think it will make them as cool as the Dos Equis man, you've been drinking the Koolaid. No, it works because it's funny, memorable and it gets a lot of exposure.
Pepsi markets way more than Coke. It's adverts are usually funnier and all around 'better'. However, that only works on a raw customer who's never built an association. I like coke, I think Pepsi is too sweet. If Pepsi is half off and come isn't, sure I'll grab a case of pepsi because it's now an unequal choice.
This is the same for everything. Marketing is only brand awareness. It does not sell a single thing. I will not see an advert for ladies tights and go "oh, as a man I really need a pair of nude tights!" You can market it all you want, run it for every second of every advert break of every day, put a billboard outside every window of my house, play audio on police speakers. I'm not gonna buy a fucking pair of tights.
However, the day I'm at the store and my wife sends me a text and says "I need a pair of tights for tonight" I'm probably gonna remember the company who raided my house in swat gear and strapped me into a chair and Clockwork Oranged me.
On a perfectly level playing field, marketing is an advantage by making the field unlevel. However, between massive conglomerates where everyone on earth knows the competing sides and everyone has tried both, marketing is just maintaining the field. Whomever stops marketing risks being mistaken as no longer around.
It's no different than me picking between two friends of mine who both do roofing. If I haven't seen Bob in six months, I'm assuming he's dead and I just hand it to Joe I saw on Tuesday.
Advertising is just a large scale way of saying "hey, I'm still here! I'm just waiting on when you're ready."
The notion advertising sells anything is absurd. The notion that not advertising costs you sales is very real.
So in other words, advertising gains sales. Half-full vs. half-empty.
Advertising doesn't generate additional sales for an existing player it merely maintains the status quo. Not advertising destroys the status quo and loses you sales that existed when people become unaware you even sell a product.
Little parenthesis: if you're interested in a subject, make the effort to read about it from well established sources (very often, books). The author of the posted article relies on sources like LifeHacker and pop psychology journalism to build his knowledge and make his claims, but those are clearly shallow, insufficient, and inaccurate.
I feel like this is a problem that the internet has created- it makes it possible to feel knowledgeable in certain topics after reading a lot of informal web pages on a given topic, but very often that content is far from being authoritative. Reading less blogs/pop journalism/etc. and more books from established academics is one of the most beneficial moves you can do for the depth and accuracy of your various bodies of knowledge.
You're just justifying laziness. Software engineering does not, in fact, qualify you to comment on human minds, which are very different from software. Presumably you wouldn't accept design advice from a doctor because of some claimed way to bring medical practices to bear on software engineering.
He's writing a blog post, and you don't need to be qualified to do that.
"Influence" is a fine book and I encourage everyone to read it including the OP. But that does't mean OP did something wrong, or was lazy, by using his finite amount of time to write up his thought.
They are not always cheap or in ebook form so libraries are useful. They require more effort to read than popsci books but you learn so much more and they are considerably easier to digest than academic papers.
This is sad but true. I wonder, in the end, what is the purpose of the scientific journals where academic papers get published? Long ago I hoped that the purpose was to bring the knowledge created to all those who are interested. Why else would anybody publish anything if not to make it available to others. Then I discovered these journals are all paywalled. And in December the Elsevier vs Academia.edu incident happened. I find the situation disappointing.
Knowledge created in academia should be available to everyone to the benefit of mankind. I think that is part of the academic spirit.
I feel it is important to realize that this person is posting an article on this subject (and you are reading it) because it strays from the commonly known, not because it is ubiquitous.
Filling your knowledge base with the exceptions is a good way to make yourself knowledgeable on a lot of incorrect or unsupported theories.
Emotional inception vs. cultural imprinting might instead be considered a partition of the subconscious "association" space into first and second order effects, which are of course concurrent, and both of which are "quick" heuristics. Cultural imprinting is then the simulation mechanism underlying self-image manipulation, as you mention.
(as an aside, more Kruglanski references would be helpful, and maybe less ad hominem)
I also feel like you're using the word "rational" differently to the author. It seems like he's using it to mean roughly "sensible", and you're using it to mean something more like "well-reasoned". We don't spend a lot of time on our decisions, but that doesn't mean we're making bad decisions. If system one is causing us to make good decisions without thinking about it, that seems like it falls under the author's idea of "rational", but not yours.
The first points he makes about a lot of advertising simply being true or intended to be true are very valid, and sidestep persuasion theory altogether (since it is chiefly concerned with persuasion via heuristic).
The point about cultural imprinting (or whatever you want to call it) is, again naively quite insightful and explains brand advertising rather well. Of course a lot of this cultural imprinting is simply intended to trigger standard persuasive principles sometime down the line. (Corona is a beer drunk by relaxed, young, attractive people; that's the crowd I want to identify with, so I'll drink Corona -- this is classic social proof, one of Cialdini's six principles. And, incidentally, this works best on people being forced to make a decision that makes little difference, such as pick a beer or laundry soap.)
So the problem isn't so much that the thesis is wrong, as that it is naively right, but is simply explaining the mechanism by which existing theory in fact applies.
I see this article as basically working the same way. Brands advertise "hey, if you're a chilled out guy drink this beer". Someone decides they want to be seen as a chilled out guy, so they go and buy that beer to reinforce the image they want to convey.
> First off, advertisements definitely do work via simple association... A warmth appeal like a Coke ad with smiling faces will reliably create an association between Coke and positive emotions just because that's how humans are wired.
That sounds like if I was bombarded of pictures of people smiling drinking coke I might forget that it tastes like crap and want to drink it.
So perhaps the social experience someone has when they turn up as the "chilled beer guy" is more valuable to them than the other fuzzy associations the advertiser tries to convey - because the advertiser is making associations that don't have much impact compared to the impact of a real life, human interaction. That's what the guy is talking about when he basically says that the flaw of the 'association' argument is that there's insufficient feedback, only visual cues rather than, say, receiving a massage.
So to summarise I think you're overly confident regarding the power of association by ignoring the social proof aspects and consistency of self image that come with knowing that other people have the same brand associations. I think it's entirely plausible that someone would use those associations as a short cut to convey the self image they want to.
Commitment/consistency pressure is another well-studied technique; more used in sales than advertising for obvious reasons. It's also a peripheral cue rather than a central cue.
I think the article is an attempt to make human behavior in the face of advertising seem economically rational. It's explicitly so, in fact. This just isn't true.
>hat's what the guy is talking about when he basically says that the flaw of the 'association' argument is that there's insufficient feedback, only visual cues rather than, say, receiving a massage.
You are ignoring that observational learning exists. You should study this concept (observational learning specifically) and then come back to this article and make a more informed judgment.
It certainly seems that you have made your opinion on coke, and that it's a strong one. Pictures of smiling people won't obviously overturn that, they don't have that large power, but in this case, you are not a target group.
However, imo majority of people don't have that strong opinon, and the less of that they have, the proportionally larger the weak influence of advertising will become.
If only that were the case, that would be grand. The opposite tends to be true more of the time. http://www.psych.nyu.edu/gollwitzer/09_Gollwitzer_Sheeran_Se...
Personally, I think there are probably goals more suitable for using social pressure for, and goals more suitable to keep secret. But I've still kept most of my goals secret until I have at least an MVP so I don't fall victim to the short-ciruiting mentioned in the article.
How do you know? The "science of persuasion" sounds like something I will read about tomorrow in an article about problems with replicating its results.
Not to mention that not spending enough time on making a decision can be rational, as in rational ignorance.
How can you know anything, spindritf? Indeed.
Attaining any absolute proof is generally regarded as impossible in the philosophy of science due to the problem of induction. As such, science has shifted from logical positivism (requiring verification of ideas as truth) to falsificationism (judging ideas on the amount of evidence in favor of them up to the point at which they become falsified).
Now, the mechanisms I mentioned have been replicated many times, by different researchers, and are mostly between 30-40 years old, but if the pop science press has entirely turned you off anything but LHC results because you pattern-match it to "something that might have problems replicating" you could also reassure yourself based on the massive, billions-a-year advertising industry that is largely based on a combination of artistic talent and these principles. If this doesn't convince you that these results are at the very least operationally useful instead of "true" in some Platonic sense, I don't know what could.
Indeed, heuristics exist because they worked over the course of human evolution. But those heuristics might not be best now, nor are they unable to be manipulated by advertisement.
Could you offer some references?
I mentioned two books in my first comment. Read them. They summarize about a half century of research.
k. Who are you, random pseudo-anonymous hacker news commenter? And why are your links superior?
On the internet, anyone can claim that what they are saying is what is actually correct. And no matter how much they think what they are saying is actually correct, the burden of proof is on them, not the reader, to prove it.
If we assume for a moment that 4/5 doctors really do recommend X, and that X is something related to one's health, why is it not a rational cue to buy X?
What you want is a bunch of statisticians looking at the research and patient outcomes.
(If a bunch of statisticians looked at the research and patient outcomes and disagreed, then that would be an even more sensible reason not to. But in lieu of that, we expect dentists to have a reasonable idea what they're talking about.)
What actually happens (or so I hear) is that dentists are asked "do you recommend brushing twice a day with toothpastes such as toothident", and they say yes, because even though they've never heard of toothident, brushing your teeth is a good idea.
So an ad that seys "4/5 dentists recommend toothident" doesn't actually mean that 4/5 dentists recommend toothident, and is not a sensible reason to buy toothident. But the way people interpret the ad is a sensible reason to buy toothident, it's just false.
No! Just because they think it works doesn't mean it does work. Toothident might be the first toothpaste that comes to mind but that doesn't mean it's better than any other toothpaste - and it might be worse than other toothpastes. Perhaps the toothident company just have much better pens and sticky fixit pads than the other toothpaste companies.
Toothident is more likely to be recommended by 4/5 dentists in a world where it is better than other toothpastes, than in a world where it is worse.
So by Bayes theorem, if we see that 4/5 dentists recommend toothident, this is evidence that toothident is better than other brands of toothpaste.
It's not necessarily strong evidence, but it is definitely evidence. (And I do actually think it's fairly strong, if you can get 4/5 dentists to specifically recommend that one without priming them.)
Edit- Also dentists are not necessarily particularly rational. I know a dentist who told me that she rejects evidence based medicine and thinks that we should use traditional Chinese medicine instead. She isn't Chinese, she is a British middle-class hippy and when I asked her about the effect on rare species, she said that rare species are never used in Chinese medicine. I then asked her if she supports evidence based medicine when her patients are anesthetized, or does she think the dosage should be guessed and she said she didn't know what that had to do with it. Also, 5 is a tiny sample. From a sample of 5 dentists, 4 might tell you that the second coming of Christ is imminent, but that would tell you very little about either Christ's travel plans, or the opinions of dentists.
This is false and it is dangerous.
Dentists are not experts in toothpaste; they're not experts in the latest toothpaste research.
A dentist recommending toothident will probably have no idea about whether toothident is better or worse than some other toothpaste.
For a real world example of this see knee arthroscopy for rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors would recommend this surgery over other treatments until placebo controlled trials found little benefit.
"X out of Y experts recommend $THING" would be a terrible reason to chose $THING over $OTHERTHING unless you have imformation about why they recommend it and how they made that decision.
I can think of plausible mechanisms that would discriminatingly push an unusually good toothpaste to the top of dentists' recommendations. Offhand, I can't think of any that would discriminatingly push an unusually bad toothpaste up there.
By "discriminatingly", I mean that e.g. advertising would work just as well for a good toothpaste as a bad one. But "the evidence suggests that this toothpaste is actually really good" is more likely to show up for a good toothpaste than a bad one. And I can't think of anything which is more likely to recommend a bad toothpaste than a good one.
So if I think there's a 90% chance that toothident is only recommended because of advertising, then I have no reason to think that toothident is particularly good or bad; but if there's a 10% chance that dentists do actually have a reason to recommend toothident, then I should use toothident, because I have no reason to favour anything else.
Certainly there are cases where this goes wrong, but I never claimed it was infallible.
The more noise there is relative to signal, the less effective this method gets, but it's still better than any other strategy (in this toy model).
Take nine 0s and a single 1, then generate ten random numbers, identically distributed however you choose, and add one of them to each of your starting numbers. Ask someone to pick out where the original 1 was. However you generated the random numbers, their best strategy is to choose the largest resulting number.
Probably tapping out here.
If it's all just associations, then when I want to feel happy, I would go look at Coke ads, not buy Coke.
I'm not being pretentious, but when I look at the stuff I buy (and I'm as materialistic as the next person, slightly obsessed with 'design', and attached to a brand like Apple), none of it I've seen in ads.
Advertising uniformly has the effect of pissing me off and can even turn me off brands. And I'm not a unique snowflake, my wife is exactly the same.
I honestly cannot fathom why any intelligent human being would be influenced by something as unsubtle and obvious as advertising.
There was a McDonalds ad on the radio a while back which had a combination of, not unpleasant but slightly annoyingly pronounced voices talking about their breakfast menu. I couldn't stand it. Tended to switch the radio off when it came on. And yet here I am, years later, telling you exactly which brand it was advertising and what it was advertising.
For example, next time you're on a road trip and you have a choice between mcdonalds and a lesser known chain and you are hungry, you'll be more likely to go to the familiar McDonald's.
Or you might even tell your friends about how much you don't like McDonald's ads, but in the process you just told your friends about McDonald's, thus perpuating the chain.
Brand recognition is definitely important but I don't think there's anybody in US past the age of 6 that doesn't know what McDonalds is. Well, maybe excluding Amish, but even that not sure. So all that theory "you told you friends about McDonalds" sounds nonsensical - I doubt there is somebody on HN who didn't know what McDonalds is and if there is, this information is probably useless for him as he doesn't have any McDonalds around him anyway and he never traveled anywhere where McDonalds is (because otherwise he'd already know about it). Of course, there's a marginal case of a traveler from a remote rainforest village coming into US for the first time and immediately visiting McDonalds basing on his past HN experience, but come on - does it really happen often enough for McD marketing to spend any time thinking about it?
Like all knowledge, this is probabilistic. Variance exists and a mechanism that will reliably cause an effect will not cause that effect to the same degree to 100% of the human population. Individual differences do exist.
>I honestly cannot fathom why any intelligent human being would be influenced by something as unsubtle and obvious as advertising.
Then you are ignorant of the workings and mechanisms of a very massive industry and research area. That is not a thing to be proud of.
I'll bet it is. ;)
In all seriousness, have you seen tangible benefits in your interactions with others from your interest in persuasion?
When I was adolescent I went to a(my first) music concert, it was an incredible experience, I even met my first girlfriend there. I was surprised that it was Coca Cola everywhere.
For me this was freedom(from my home environment), adventure, joy, friendship, and even sex.
Way more than pixels on the screen.
Today is not Coca Cola. I do B.A.S.E jumping, love going downhill with my bike and when I go to see or meet the Gods of the trail or Skydiving doing incredible things(them,not me) I see REDBULL EVERYWHERE in the events they participate.
Pixels on the screen are probably not that good, but they affect millions at the same time.
Lots of people watch porn, even when it is just "pixels on the screen".
A significant part of the advertising industry do not use pixels at all, they use text, they are called "copywriters" and what they do is tell stories.
Look at an ad for a product you own (e.g. iPhone) that you perceive as conveying some form of emotion. Now, go use that product.
Do you feel the emotion portrayed in the ad?
To make this more scientific, expand the above test to a few hundred people. Query their emotional state with a survey (or possibly by facial expressions, if that's considered an accurate means of evaluating emotional response). Do this for a number of products, ensuring that boring products (e.g. household cleaning products) are included to rule out emotion generated from the intrinsic properties of the product. Then check for the existence/non-existence of a correlation between the emotion felt and the emotion portrayed.
I have an idea for a more accurate experiment. Survey a number of people about what brands of some product they buy, if any. The product should be something that does not currently have many ads for it (like bedsheets), so that cultural imprinting is not a factor. Then send them a weekly email newsletter on some random topic. Each newsletter would also contains ads for a certain brand of that product.
The people would be split into two groups. For half of them, the ad for the product tries to associate the brand with a positive image. For the other half, the ad tries to associate the brand with a neutral image, while otherwise keeping the text the same. This splitting into groups ensures that “honest signaling” is not a confounding factor.
To ensure that the participant opens the newsletter and sees the ads, participants would be asked to search each newsletter for a piece of information and reply to the email with that information.
After three months of the newsletters, participants would be surveyed again about what brands of the product they buy, if any. If emotional imprinting theory is accurate, the participants who were shown the positive images should have increased their purchasing of that brand of product more than the neutral-image participants increased their purchasing.
It is the same flaw as to say 'clouds cannot be of this or that particular shape, they are always of this or that'.
There are too many 'variables' in what we could call the [naive] psychology of a mind or so called Froidian psychology. Any undergraduate cognitivist would tell.
It is not the naive this-OR-that 'logic' according which mental processes work. It is this-AND-that logic.
BTW the author probably should study Wikipedia article about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is, of course, yet another oversimplified model.)
Brand perceptions and this cultural imprinting he refers to are driven by word of mouth, media coverage, and third party validation... Once we have a perception- ads reminds us of it.
Yes, ego and peer pressure are strong emotional drivers of purchase behavior but so are dozens of other emotions we satisfy with various purchases.
Things to Google:
- LessWrong "Applause Lights"
- Burning Man Ten Principles (specifically, Decommodification, Radical Self-Expression, and Participation)
PS - I really like the point about "you need to know that everyone else knows what this means..." - that's a good point!
"You're never alone with a Strand" seems like a reasonable counter.
> Q: Have you ever seen an ad for bed sheets? Can you even name a brand of bed sheet? If ads work by emotional inception, wouldn't you expect to have seen at least a few ads trying to incept you with the idea that Brand X bed sheets are going to brighten your day?
Yes, I do see ads for bed sheets and for bed sheet makers. The author is just looking in the wrong places.
By the same theory we should rarely ever see ads for mattresses too, since their "consumption is purely obscure". And yet, I'm bombarded by ads for mattresses everywhere.
I had such a strong emotional response to it that I remember watching it for the first time vividly from when I was little.
Corona is a lighter beer, which is what you want on a hot beach where you're sweating and thirsty.
Corona - 4.6%
Heineken - 5.4%
Budweiser - 5.0%
Think of Chick Fil A. They've taken a strong stand on same sex marriage. They've made a cultural imprint on you in that you either support or don't support that lifestyle. So far so good right?
However, you also feel something about that. You're either happy or upset about their brand. So not only are you associating that brand with your lifestyle, you're also having a feeling about that brand.