Stop Projecting Human Qualities On Inanimate Objects

Marc Babej points to this Seed Magazine piece that debunks the idea that brands have personalities.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and Harvard University discovered that despite being told over and over again, the American public won’t really be “lovin'” their meal at McDonalds, doesn’t actually believe Disneyland is “happy” and isn’t under the impression that United Airlines’ skies are all that “friendly.
The research team found that while the same words were being used to describe people and products, different regions of the brain were activated when subjects were talking about one or the other. The fMRI scans detected that there was a greater neural response in the medial prefrontal cortex regions of the brain when applying the adjectives to people. But when focusing on brands, like Wal-Mart, Starbucks or Ben & Jerry’s, the left inferior prefrontal cortex was activated, an area of the brain known to be involved in object processing.
“We didn’t expect that,” said Fred Feinberg, a University of Michigan statistician, regarding the different brain regions that responded to the stimuli. “A lot of prior theorizing said that objects can have personalities, especially brands.”

In other words, we now have scientific evidence that clearly shows customers to be intelligent beings. The study which will indicate that most MBAs in brand management roles are not, is pending.
[via Tom Asacker]

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Chief Storyteller at Bonehook, a guide service and bait shop for brands. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • dan

    Actually, the MBA study is more than pending, it’s been delivered. See AdAge.com for how most MBA’s fail at marketing.