DDB Hires Earworm Expert

Just in case you didn’t have enough goofy ad jingles stuck in your head, ad agency DDB has added an earworm expert to their staff. The Omnicom unit has named Daniel Müllensiefen, a lecturer in psychology, music and computing at Goldsmiths University their “scientist in residence.” Actually, Müllensiefen’s brief goes far beyond earworms, those catchy tunes that rattle around in your head all day after you hear them on the way to work. DDB says that the new position will be part of an effort apply neuroscientific theory and psychological testing to enhance client ad campaigns, making him their resident neuromarketing expert.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on understanding people,” said Sarah Carter, strategy director at DDB. “This will help us with the emotional side of advertising that tends to be overlooked by clients in favour of messages and more rational things.” [From FT.com - DDB uses science to make ads catchy by Tim Bradshaw.]

The “scientist in residence” gig isn’t full time – Dr. Müllensiefen will only spend about a day a week at DDB. (And no, that’s not the eminent academic in the picture. The image is from a “big head” campaign created by DDB to tout its own creative success.)


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— who has written 985 posts on Neuromarketing.

Roger Dooley writes and speaks about marketing, and in particular the use of neuroscience and behavioral research to make advertising, marketing, and products better. He is the primary author at Neuromarketing, and founder of Dooley Direct LLC, a marketing consultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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5 responses to "DDB Hires Earworm Expert" — Your Turn


Brendon B Clark 22. September 2010 at 6:07 pm

Yes, it’s becoming quite the thing. I’ve just started dealing with an agency that promotes a “unique” approach. Their model is based on brain science, they say, and creating memorable ads.

To do this, they say, they are creating efforts that “target the hippocampus” as this is a key memory structure. This keeps their ads memorable.

The disturbing thing is that the staff, unfortunately, have no idea what this means, whether it’s accurate, or how even you might actually go about “targeting the hippocampus”, or even if this is the right thing to do,let alone figuring out if they are achieving what they promise.

At least your guy (above) has some credibility!

I would have thought that an ad should get me to DO something. Some of the most memorable ads I’ve seen didn’t achieve much of anything at all, except being memorable…

Cheers Roger.


Roger Dooley
Twitter: rogerdooley
22. September 2010 at 10:11 pm

>> Some of the most memorable ads I’ve seen didn’t achieve much

Maybe the problem is your hippocampus, Brendon – you should get it checked! ;) Thanks for stopping by!



Nick 24. September 2010 at 1:01 pm

That image is awesome!


Guilherme 4. November 2010 at 12:55 pm

I believe it’s a well think strategy to use a psychology prfessional as a way to make more catchy ads. But i still think that nowadays the best way to catch the audience is to generate content that actually mean somenthing, that will help it to get through some problem, or simply make it happier. I trully believe that Content is what gonna separate advertising into 2 ways: “catchy” ad, that cannot create a true relationship with the target; or an ad with content, with will increase the confidence and really work with people minds.
(sorry for the english mistakes, if any.)

Guilherme is a copywritter @ Ezcuzê Propaganda, Brazil.


val 12. December 2010 at 5:20 pm

I’ve just worked on the project where I had to build a “coming soon” page and there was a requirement for a “catchy, repetitive” tune. That’s what we did: My Best Mortgage Rates
I think it does meet the definition of “Ear Worm” :-)


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