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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|

Revealed: How Steve Jobs Turns Customers into Fanatics

Marketers gaze in envy at brands like Apple. The firm that began with the Mac built some of the first home computers [doh, thanks, alert reader!] has turned their customers into legions of fanatical evangelists. But, without a Steve Jobs at the helm, or with fewer resources than Apple, is building that kind of loyalty possible? I’ve got good news: while having a visionary and charismatic CEO is a big plus, it isn’t necessary to build a fan base, or even a fanatic base. One big secret of Apple’s success lies in an experiment conducted 40 years ago. […]

By |August 25th, 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|

Guard Your Reptilian Brain!

Every year or so, some fuzzy-thinking critic reads an article about neuromarketing, becomes extremely agitated, and tries to raise the alarm about marketers turning consumers into mind-controlled zombies. The latest push of the neuro-panic button began with an article on a site called Truthout (fresh out of truth, perhaps?). Truthout seems to be a sort of conspiracy theory haven that seeks to use “the ever-expanding power of the Internet… to spread reliable information, peaceful thought and progressive ideas throughout the world.” Here’s their take on neuromarketing: […]

By |February 1st, 2010|

You Are What You Choose

Based on the title and cover art, which shows a head stuffed with objects, I anticipated that You Are What You Choose would be chock full of decision-making insights based on neuroscience and behavioral research. Instead, de Marchi and Hamilton mostly talk about their TRAITS system for categorizing individuals and then predicting subsequent behavior.

By |December 17th, 2009|

Obama’s Victory, McCain’s Neuro-Loss

There’s little doubt that some macro political factors were decisive in driving Barack Obama’s presidential victory over John McCain. Notably, just as the divisive Iraq war seemed to have turned the corner and started to work to McCain’s advantage instead of Obama’s, the economic crisis gave Obama a whole new issue to blame on the Bush administration and, by inference, on McCain. And there’s little doubt that Obama’s run as a black candidate brought huge numbers of voters to the polls who might not otherwise have participated (no, I don’t mean the deceased or fictitious ones!). Could McCain have overcome this double whammy? It would have been difficult. But, when political marketing experts write the history of this campaign, I think many will lay the blame on John McCain’s failure to light up the amygdalas of the voting public. […]

By |November 5th, 2008|

Neuropolicy Center at Emory

Emory University has announced the establishment of a new Center for Neuropolicy. The focus of the entity will be on the intersection of brain science, individual decision making, and politics.

A new Center for Neuropolicy at Emory University will […]

By |July 11th, 2008|

Will Obama’s “Fight The Smears” Backfire?

A few weeks ago, Barack Obama’s campaign announced a new website, Fight the Smears, ostensibly to provide quick facts when negative rumors or allegations about Obama crop up. Many believe that a factor in John Kerry’s loss to George W. Bush was that he failed to counter negative “swift boat” allegations about his combat record quickly enough. I’ll leave the question of whether Fight the Smears is neutral and factual as opposed to partisan spin to the political pundits. Rather, I’d like to focus on the neuromarketing aspects of this effort: could Fight the Smears end up promoting the very allegations it is trying to quash? […]

By |June 25th, 2008|

Minds Think Alike – Perhaps Too Much!

Did you ever wonder why some people have such insight into the behavior and feelings of others? Certainly, some of the great advertising execs, copywriters, and other pros seem to have it, particularly for certain groups or markets. But are these insights always accurate? It could be these individuals are projecting their own values and feelings onto other people to produce this apparent window into their emotions. Researchers have found that if you know a little about someone, and find that person similar to yourself in some way, your brain behaves very differently if you are asked about the emotional responses of that person: […]

By |March 20th, 2008|