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Politics is Simple: Vote for the Tall Guy

Our decisions aren’t always as rational as we think, and choosing a presidential candidate is no exception. Researchers at Texas Tech have found an innate preference for candidates who are more physically imposing. This tendency is considered to be an example of evolutionary psychology, in which modern-day humans still exhibit behaviors developed in our hunter-gatherer days. (Or, simply put, “caveman politics.”) […]

By |October 18th, 2011|

Rivalry Marketing

Sometimes the best thing for a brand is an enemy: a rival brand that can be the focus of advertising. The other day, Mark Gallagher and Laura Savard at the BlackCoffee blog put the advantage of focusing on a rival succinctly: […]

By |January 6th, 2011|

Avoiding Death by Powerpoint, the Neuro Way

Conference-goers know that at any given meeting, they will be subjected to a range of presentations – some interesting, others, well, not so interesting. Conference organizers don’t like to offer a podium to inept or boring presenters, of course – bad performances will drive away the paying customers. The approach conference organizers usually employ is to poll the audience about each presentation, asking about the content, the quality of the presentation, and so on. This is done after the fact, but at least low-scoring presenters can be crossed off the list for the next conference. Of course, this constant polling (often by paper questionnaires) is tedious and annoying for the conference attendees.

In a departure from old-fashioned paper, the Association of National Advertisers and Innerscope Research conducted an experiment at their recent Creativity Conference. Some audience members were wired up to capture biometric readings – changes in heart rate, breathing, skin sweat, and motion. These measures were captured from a lightweight band around the wearer’s lower rib cage, so the monitored individuals didn’t stand out in the crowd and likely forgot they were being monitored. […]

By |December 21st, 2010|

Subliminal Negativity Works

People hate negative advertising. So why do advertisers (notably political campaigns) keep doing it, and why does it work? We covered this in Why Negative Ads Work, but our brains hold yet another answer, as a test […]

By |December 7th, 2010|

Neuro-Politics: Chinese Professor Ad

It’s not common for mainstream media to analyze ads from a neuromarketing standpoint, but Adam Hanft at Salon does just that for the fascinating “Chinese professor” ad. Sponsored by a group called Citizens Against Government Waste, the ad illustrates one possible result of over-spending by government in an environment where deficits are financed by borrowing from foreign nations. Hanft terms the ad a “cinematic wake-up blast from the future.” […]

By |October 26th, 2010|

When Marketing Stinks

Olfactory marketing has been used for years, and usually the objective is to use appealing scents and create a positive branding message. Not always, though – one politician is conducting a campaign that, well, stinks. Carl Paladino, the Republican nominee for governor of New York State, has sent out a mailing that smells like garbage. […]

By |September 17th, 2010|

Why Politics is Hard

If you were asked to judge a policy proposal for addressing a social issue, which would be more important to you, the content of the proposal or the party that wrote it? Most of us would answer that the […]

By |August 20th, 2010|

Are Political Views Hard-wired?

We know that political marketing – the art of persuading voters to support your candidate – is perhaps the most challenging and least productive form of marketing. A couple of years ago in The Neuroscience of Political Marketing, I described how research shows that political ads seem to go through an “emotional filter” that, in essence, causes voters to discount messages that are inconsistent with their current beliefs. Thus, an accusation that one’s favored candidate took money from special interest groups is likely to be dismissed as a partisan smear rather than evaluated rationally. If that wasn’t enough to frustrate political marketers, there’s now sketchy evidence that our political views may be determined by more fundamental brain wiring attributes. […]

By |September 19th, 2008|

Neuromarketing Podcast

Last week I did an interview with Robin Young of Here & Now, a radio show distributed by Public Radio International and aired on about 50 U.S. stations. The topic was the use of neuromarketing to evaluate political ads, and also featured Dr. Stephen Sands of Sands Research discussing the firm’s EEG analysis of TV commercials for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. The neuromarketing segment of the show is now available for download at the links below. […]

By |March 14th, 2008|

Red Brain, Blue Brain

Just in time for analyzing Super Tuesday primary results, political neuromarketing is back in the news. CNN ran a story, Reading Voters’ Minds!, on how Lucid Systems is attempting to measure real voter attitudes with various techniques borrowed from neuroscience and medicine. (You can tell CNN was excited by the story because of the exclamation point in the title.) Unfortunately, the information presented in the CNN story looks like another case of overhyped neuromarketing data: a tiny sample size and subjective conclusions.

With a title that satirizes CNN’s breathless headline writing, Slate’s Daniel Engber points out some of the study’s limitations in Obama Builds Lead Inside Voters’ Brains! Neuropundits weigh in on Super Tuesday:
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By |February 6th, 2008|