Arment Dietrich

Is Neuromarketing Good for Us?

By: Arment Dietrich | November 18, 2010 | 

A recent article in the New York Times illustrates how neuromarketing will soon be a part of our everyday lives.

New studies show there is scientific evidence on how to manipulate the brain’s electrical frequencies when watching TV and, specifically, commercials. This is called neuromarketing.

The idea behind neuromarketing is that advertisers tap into our subconscious, causing deep responses to certain stimuli. (Not far off from subliminal messaging, in my opinion.)

The article explains,Neuromarketing’s raison d’être derives from the fact that the brain expends only 2 percent of its energy on conscious activity, with the rest devoted largely to unconscious processing. Thus, neuromarketers believe, traditional market research methods — such as consumer surveys and focus groups — are inherently inaccurate because the participants can never articulate the unconscious impressions that whet their appetites for certain products.”

Gini Dietrich wrote about the idea of neuromarketing around customer-focused organizations last month so I get that it’s happening. I mean, some of the world’s top brands are already involved in this kind of research (such as Google and Disney).

But personally, I don’t know how I feel about it. If my subconscious responds and wants me to go buy a certain type of shampoo, I must really want it then, right?  Therefore, I would be happy with my purchase?

The concept is not going to get us to go out and empty our bank accounts on buying a boat, but it may persuade you to vote one way instead of the other. If we allow neuromarketing into our advertising efforts, is there a way to draw the line when it comes to more serious things such as politics?  Or is it now up to us, as consumers, to truly educate ourselves? Will the idea of neuromarketing force us to be more intelligent or will it bring us to a zombie state-of-mind?

Is all fair in the neuromarketing war?

  • jennimacdonald

    Great article Molli. This is a major thing that we need to be thinking about and be conciously aware of in the future.

    I do not know how we could draw the line with today’s technology. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.

  • HowieSPM

    I just read your post and have a sudden urge to drive to McDonald’s and buy a McRib. Very strange.

    Human’s are only semi-rational in behavior. I wonder if this ties in with the scary Radium One announcement today. I am curious how much of this really works vs something being sold to Brands …like Facebook Fan Pages! And is it measurable?

  • SamanthaCollier

    I’ve heard about subliminal messaging before (Eat POPCORN) but never this. I’d be interested to see how professional services use neuromarketing in the future. Would their be a disclaimer? 🙂

  • SamanthaCollier

    I’ve heard about subliminal messaging before (Eat POPCORN) but never this. I’d be interested to see how professional services use neuromarketing in the future. Would there be a disclaimer? 🙂

  • HowieSPM

    @SamanthaCollier Trust me there will be no disclaimer Samantha. Not sure if you read about what Radium One is doing but they are going to implant stuff on websites to watch your every move with the ultimate goal of tricking you to become a Fan on Facebook. None of this is Opt In. I was very upset. Consumers do not trust Advertising to Regulate itself. Yet the Industry wants to self regulate. Which we already saw works great ie: Housing and Banking meltdown.

    It should be Opt In. All Advertising efforts should be. I am just dubious on the results. I actually think this technology works better on marketers with the people selling it tricking the marketers/brands into thinking it works. As what Molli wrote about Shampoo. Even if the technology worked how would the Brand know if Molli has no idea why she bought the Shampoo unless of course sales went through the roof. But then if they did wouldn’t every Brand use this and then we are back to square one, because we only can buy so much shampoo.

    And on that note I think the Feds would investigate and people would bring out their guns if the News reports from a Supermarket that everyone inside has their carts loaded up with Shampoo and nothing else.

  • Neuromarketing

    The great potential of neuromarketing isn’t to make our brains want stuff, but rather to determine what we really want and enable companies to deliver that.


  • jennimacdonald

    Yeah I usually have that effect. Thanks for the laugh.

    I was not aware of what Radium One is doing. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I am definitely interested in researching that more.

    I agree that it should be Opt In but with today’s technology and that of the future, theyll be able to get away with not asking for permission.

  • MolliMegasko

    @Neuromarketing This is assuming companies and campaigns are all ethical. The line will be drawn when campaigns know what we want, say it has that so we buy it or vote for it, but in reality, it might not.

  • ginidietrich

    @SamanthaCollier For some reason, I’m craving popcorn.

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