Funny Cartoon about Consumer Motivation


The funniest humor is based on truth, and answering the “why?” question is one of the biggest challenges market researchers face. As Motista blogger Alan Zorfas notes,

But the “why” is hard. Unlocking the “unconscious” motivators that lie beneath the surface requires time, money, expertise and “brilliant” insight. We look at our latest Marketoon from Tom Fishburne and empathize with the marketer hero. Her eager disposition hints at the enormous pressure she’s under to get the next campaign into the market fast to impact next quarter results. She impatiently waits for the moment when the consumer “reveals all.”

Zorfas might be reading a little too much into Tom Fishburne’s cartoon, but there’s little doubt that marketers want to get “why” answers via better means than focus groups. Can neuromarketing fill that void? Maybe. One firm, Olson Zaltman Associates, uses a “psychotherapy” technique to dig deeper into consumer motivation. Who knows, maybe hypnosis actually would be worth a try! 🙂

From Moments of Truth Cartoon Hypnosis: Bridging the Connection Gap

  1. Daniel Castro says


    I just bought Brainfluence, I’m on page 61, it’s great!! Congrats.

    I’m applying concepts from your book (as well as lindstrom, Marc gobe, ET al) in the pharmaceutical industry in colombia. Anything you need it will be my pleasure.

    Please keep your amazing blog up!

    Kind regards from Latin America


    1. Roger Dooley says

      Glad you are enjoying Brainfluence so far, Daniel! Thanks for letting me know!


  2. Dhaval says

    This is embarrassing but I just don’t get it. Could you explain the joke?

  3. Roger Dooley says

    Dhaval, the hypnotist has produced a trivial finding (keys) instead of creating a deep understanding of consumer behavior as the market researcher requested. The level of humor is more “smile” than “guffaw.” 🙂

    If you follow the link to the original post, the blogger has an even more complex explanation.


  4. Sylvia Halsey says

    Wonder if so much research and energy should be spent trying to get people to buy more “stuff”? How about spending a fraction of the research and energy on helping people make informed choices about their consumption of natural but limited resources.

    1. Roger Dooley says

      If there’s a profitable business model that serves that goal, Sylvia, I’m sure someone will pursue it. People buy stuff because they want to, and businesses try to furnish the stuff people want. While occasionally advertising may create the “want,” even then it’s addressing some kind of need. Far more often, though, ads are mostly about trying to get consumers to buy one brand vs. another.


  5. Jeff says

    Well, if you believe his PR, Clotaire Rapaille uses hypnosis as an essential part of his process for cracking the cultural “code” for whatever marketers are trying to evoke, elicit, or sell.

    How successful his client’s have been with his information is up for debate, but there’s no doubt that Rapaille himself has been incredibly successful at selling the virtue of his method to his clients. And that may well be part of the joke, too : )

  6. Roger Dooley says

    Interesting, Jeff, but maybe not all that surprising. Gerald Zaltman originated the idea of using a psychotherapy-like interview to delve into real consumer feelings about brands. Why not hypnosis?


  7. AHB says

    This actually makes a lot of sense, since psychoanalytic therapies and methods (such as hypnosis) are more oriented towards the ”discovery of the self” (vs the resolution of psychological conflicts/symptoms in cognitive or behavioural psychotherapies). The only problems I see about this idea are i) the length of the interviews, ii) the number of ”patients” in order to get a statistically reasonable opinion, iii) the interference with other ideas (as illustrated in the cartoon, the human mind is complex!)

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