Neuromarketing: How advertisers fool your brain

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What is neuromarketing?

Neuromarketing uses the latest neuroscience discoveries to set prices the brain likes and to design advertisements. products, and retail environments that maximally appeal to our senses and emotions.

How does it work?

Neuromarketing targets the subconscious brain.

The subconscious is a somewhat mysterious part of the brain that influences our attitudes, desires, and behaviour below our conscious awareness.

And neuroscientists have known for years that it runs the show.

As for the rest of us, we still assume the conscious mind is in charge. But it’s the subconscious that decides everything and then relays its decision to the conscious mind, which happily takes full credit for all this mental gymnastics. The only reason we fail to see this is because our brain works at lightning speed.

Neuromarketers exploit this phenomenon by designing advertisements, products, and retail spaces that appeal to our unfiltered thoughts, feelings, and motivations.

Neuromarketers hire researchers to measure test subjects’ brain activity while they watch an ad, use a product, or walk around a shop. High-tech equipment–including fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging), MEG (magnetoencephalography) and EEG (electroencephalography)–records people’s unfiltered reactions and bodily responses to whatever is placed in their vicinity.

These tech-mediated reactions provide a vastly more accurate idea of a person’s true thoughts, attitudes, and emotions than do interviews, self-assessments, and surveys. The reason for this is complex, but it’s due to three basic psychological impulses:

Neuromarketing Example

Nueromarketing: How advertisers fool your brain

Employing sound and color to sell more bananas

The human brain loves sound and color, especially when paired together.

Researchers discovered that people look at dark objects more often when they hear music with a strong bass. Conversely, people tend to look at light objects when they hear music with higher frequencies.

A large supermarket used this insight to see if they could increase banana sales with a specific use of color and sound.

Researchers created two shelves for the bananas–one black and one white–and altered the usual supermarket music to include easily recognizable high and low-pitched sounds.

The results were unequivocal: people bought twice as many bananas when the music contained higher frequencies and almost twice as many bananas from the white shelf.

The reverse happened with the low pitched music and the black shelves: customers bought half as many bananas from the black shelf and almost half as many bananas when the music had more bass tones.

Nueromarketing: How advertisers fool your brain

Neuromarketing’s darker side

Nueromarketing’s power has a downside, especially when it’s used to exploit children’s hidden desires and vulnerabilities.

Food companies now combine social media and online games with sophisticated neuromarketing tactics to make their snack food irresistible to children. These companies use brain scans to find why children prefer one snack to another and why they bought the preferred snack in the first place.

New research suggests that this kind of junk food marketing commandeer’s a child’s brain and has an adverse affect on their health and metabolism. Obesity specialists such as Professor Kelly Bronwell are worried:

There is very interesting neuroscientific research looking at the impact of sugar on the brain. If one proved that the brains of children are being hijacked by marketing, it could open up possibilities for legal action. Companies could be held liable for being engaged in illegal activity if it causes harm.

Professor Kelly Bronwell 

Where to from here?

People worry about their privacy. We largely accept that companies track our purchase history and behaviour, but when we see these same companies or organizations use methods that invade our innermost thoughts, feelings, and desires, it engenders mistrust and suspicion. This can lead to a huge consumer backlash.

Neuromarketing is a powerful tool, but it’s not a magic bullet. Despite all the hype, there is no “buy button” in the human brain that neuromarketing magically presses.

Some key points

  • Neuromarketing uses the latest neuroscience discoveries to set prices the brain likes and to design advertisements. products, and retail environments that maximally appeal to our senses and emotions.
  • Neuromarketing targets the subconscious brain.
  • The subconscious brain makes decisions and relays these decisions to the conscious brain.
  • Our true feelings, desires, and attitudes live in the subconscious realm.
  • Neuromarketers exploit this phenomenon to design ads, products and retail spaces that appeal most keenly to our senses and emotions.

Neuromarketing: How advertisers fool your brain is published with the permission of Cybermedia.live

Related Article:

Superbrain: I’ll have one of those thanks

Claire Bell

Claire Bell is the health and wellbeing editor of Midlifexpress. She is the author of Stone Age Secrets for Mind and Body and Comma Magic. Print and ebooks available on Amazon.

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