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]

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.

Comments

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