How to build a better meme...
October 28, 2003 8:43 PM   Subscribe

There's a Sucker Born in Every Medial Prefrontal Cortex (NYT link) Neuroscience + Advertising = Neuromarketers. You will consume and enjoy. You will consume and enjoy.
posted by dejah420 (18 comments total)
i'm immune, having fried my own prelobal frontex back when prelobal frontex damage wasn't cool yet.

*stuffs another Hostess® Frosted Donette™ into mouth and slurps Diet Pepsi®
posted by quonsar at 8:52 PM on October 28, 2003

Every time I re-read Vance Packard I'm amazed by how pertinent his observations remain - even though I'm already prepared to be surprised again. Aldous Huxley, on the other hand, has always struck me as encyclopedic and wet.

Hmmm... I love posts like this, dejah, which get me jumping from connection to connection. I should end by confessing that I'm a marketer's dream (read: a real sucker) but my utter fickleness defends me from being a reliable consumer. For instance, I find that every new shampoo - apart from my beloved standard Neutrogena - washes my hair better than the last one. Perhaps extreme brand disloyalty is my own little way of hitting back?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:55 PM on October 28, 2003

Since this is what I do for a living, yes you're right and yes it's a very bad thing. For the last few decades, the advertising-aware percentage of the populace has been extremely irrelevant despite claims to the contrary. They'll read their Adbusters and No Logo and bemoan the branding consciousness of the mindless sheep and all, but for the large part, we really didn't give a shit because it's not like those people were going to buy much of anything anyway.

However, only recently with the advent of incredibly intrusive marketing efforts have the general consumer base become aware of the harmful social effects of what we do. Spam, Work at Home signs littered everywhere, Magazines with 90% ads, a Super Bowl without a game, etc. Which led to the Do-Not-Call list and the growing popularity of PVRs and for people are finally noticing the effects of advertising instead of allowing it to blend in to their daily lives.

We've essentially put way too much sugar on the pill and the public is beginning to gag on it.

Those of us who know what's coming: that marketing and advertising must fundamentally change it's ways (which have served it so well in the 20th century) because its killing the golden goose, are going to adjust or perish. Neuromarketing is going to be a small part of that solution. Creating marketing vehicles that people readily accept is going to be important. I figure in about 10 years advertising as you know it will be a relic of books written by Ogilvy... but people will still buy what we tell them. I sincerely doubt the mantra of "Get what you want, doesn't matter how you got it" will leave the minds of the general consumer anytime soon.

Is advertising and marketing going to become more mad scientist sinister in the next decade? Sure. But it's also going to become less of a obvious burden. It's a tradeoff that's going to have to be made.
posted by Stan Chin at 9:24 PM on October 28, 2003

they'll also know what songs are stuck inside you're head! mesh trucker brain caps for everyone :D
posted by kliuless at 9:50 PM on October 28, 2003

I always suspected Stan Chin was a mad scientist.

From a (cynical) layman's point of view, advertising will always be with us and will always find ways to "help" us make buying decisions. As the general population becomes more aware of methods used by advertising, those methods will simply become more sophisticated to stay one step ahead of the plebs. There will always be a segment of the population that is capable of resisting the call of the advertisers but, as Stan Chin points out, the vast majority will still be distracted by

Ooh, something shiny.
posted by dg at 10:02 PM on October 28, 2003

hey but like i was just thinking what if they implemented bayesian advertisement filtering into our mesh trucker brain caps?

oh and then like hooked them up to theremins..! oooo weee oooo :D
posted by kliuless at 10:24 PM on October 28, 2003

These advertisements of which you speak, do you have to not have a Tivo to see them?

Coercion. Now available on discount at Amazon!

If advertising is going to have less of an effect due to it's omnipresence, how will that affect politics?
posted by dglynn at 12:46 AM on October 29, 2003

There will always be a segment of the population that is capable of resisting the call of the advertisers

Yeah, and while those enlightened people are smugly enjoying their independent thoughts, it turns out that they can be marketed to just like any other segment. Just pander to their prejudices, maintain a rebellious posture, and disguise your advertising as content.

Being anti-advertising is now a lifestyle choice. dglynn's book pitch is a perfect example.
posted by fuzz at 4:13 AM on October 29, 2003

Wha? Hey? Where?

[goes back to sleep]
posted by cortex at 5:19 AM on October 29, 2003

Mefi's Medial Prefrontal Cortex is sleeping now; we're safe for the moment.

Great article, dejah. I would actually like very much to go through the same procedure as the reporter; I think I'm pretty much Miguel's opposite, every marketer's nightmare, but maybe I'm wrong? I would like to see a MRI "lie detector" on that assumption.
posted by taz at 6:38 AM on October 29, 2003

Miguel! Oh, fellow Neutrogena lover! After a decade of using their shampoo and conditioner alongside dozens of other brands, they outshine them all, and at a quite reasonable price! Yes, they have my brand loyalty because of solid quality. I also use their moisturizers, etc. They all work great. Woo, can't believe I'm so excited someone else loves Neutrogena shampoo. (Affirmation, affirmation good, yeah)
posted by PigAlien at 6:43 AM on October 29, 2003

"By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. Thank you, thank you. Just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day they'll take root. I don't know. You try. You do what you can. Kill yourselves. Seriously though, if you are, do. No really, there's no rationalisation for what you do, and you are Satan's little helpers, OK? Kill yourselves, seriously. You're the ruiner of all things good. Seriously, no, this is not a joke. "There's gonna be a joke coming..." There's no fucking joke coming, you are Satan's spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage, you are fucked and you are fucking us, kill yourselves, it's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show."

Yes, this means you.
posted by majcher at 8:16 AM on October 29, 2003

Wheee, PigAlien! Neutrogena is indeed marvellous; even after being bought by Johnson's. I love their hand cream; their Rain Bath (best smell in the universe); their glycerine soap... :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:59 AM on October 29, 2003

You know, I never in a million years would have thought that that Bill Hicks bit about killing yourself if you're in advertising could get any less funny than it was to begin with, i.e. not even slightly, but amazingly, it becomes negative funny after you're seen it trotted out a hundred times by his worshippers.
posted by kindall at 10:13 AM on October 29, 2003

Aldous Huxley, on the other hand, has always struck me as encyclopedic and wet.

Yeah, it's tough to throw Brave New World in without context I guess. :) What made me think of it was Huxley's portrayal of a world where consuming was built in from hypnotic suggestion starting as infants. That consumption became such an overwhelming priority for the security of the state itself, that it was nigh onto hardwired...such that there was an almost physical revulsion to anything old, or worn.

I think a lot of manufacturers and their marketing personnel would be happier if people bought new tennis shoes every 6 weeks, and new clothes every month...or even better yet, disposable clothes that could only be worn once.
posted by dejah420 at 11:11 AM on October 29, 2003

negative funny

It's not supposed to be funny. Die. Now. Seriously.
posted by majcher at 12:46 PM on October 29, 2003

It's not supposed to be funny.

So his own Web site is wrong in calling him a comedian? (Third word of his bio, in case you missed it.) He said the aforementioned bit as part of his act, which, since he was a comedian, was a comedy act. No, he intended for it to be funny. It just isn't, is all, like most of his stuff.

The worst thing that can happen to a comedian is for his cult to start taking him seriously. Unfortunately, Hicks died too late (or too soon -- regardless, his timing sucked) to prevent that from happening.
posted by kindall at 7:27 PM on October 29, 2003

There's just no talking to some people. Enjoy your commericals.

/me steps away, to avoid the pointless "yuh-huh!" "nuh-uh!" "yuh-huh!" that should, logically, follow.
posted by majcher at 9:05 PM on October 29, 2003

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