Wednesday, August 29, 2012

When the testing stops, the manipulation stops too?

Recently read an article on Campaign Brief with regards to the latest 'facial coding technology' by Milward Brown.

Says Daren Poole (global brand director for Link, Milward Brown's existing copy testing solution): "Traditional methods of measuring emotion are not always capable of capturing a true emotional response. Facial coding allows us to track how a person really responds, rather than what they claim to have felt. There's no substitute for a real smile, laugh or frown and for the first time in Australia we can measure this all in the viewer's home environment. 

"Facial coding as part of Link can measure factors such as how well it captures a viewer's attention, how they respond to it and ultimately provide guidance in the analysis of the ad's impact on the brand. If a campaign is pushing the boundaries in terms or humour or controversy this is a controlled means to test how consumers really respond."

Neuromarketing is almost like the perfect matrimony between science and art.  Finally, marketers can make scientific sense out of the art business (called communication or more crudely some say, advertising) via MRI scans.  Getting neuro-scientists to decipher brain activity when 'respondents' are exposed to different storyboards, subsequently helps them to put the dollar on the best one that brings the most profitable emotion home (kaching).

It may sound fine and dandy and even awesome initially, as Morgan Spurlock professed after one of these scans, that he wanted a Coke but didn't know why (The Greatest Movie Ever Sold).  That is how powerful an ad message can be.  More explanation of the usage of MRI scans in marketing here:

Now.  Let us pause for a minute.  Let's take a minute to consider the effects of such testing in Political Marketing.  Are we still in awe?  Let's take another minute to consider the result of neuromarketing in say... pharmaceutical business?  Are you just burnt out from 21st century-living that a good old vacation can't fix or do you really need to be fixed with a drug?

I always felt FGDs fall short of something - people are back-rationalizing what they did in a room with a two-way mirror hence making findings a lot less accurate.  Gives you a sense of direction but hardly provides any crux to the issue.  But to now pay them to sleep through scanners?  Hmm.

I've always thought marketing or advertising as a courtship.  Between us and the consumer.  You don't really know what makes them click unless you put (a hell lot of) effort in trying to understand their world.  It's like a real relationship isn't it?  No effort, no depth.  If you don't bother finding out what they like, dislike, what makes their heart pulpitate and what makes it stop, you'll never develop that dream partnership of a companion they truly want to exist!

Well, hang on a sec.  That's where neuromarketing comes in.  Pay them, scan them, and they'll fall in love with you because amidst of the 10 storyboards of words, surely you must have said something right.  And them walking out of the room, falling in love with you but have no idea why.  And yea, you sustain that relationship as long as they don't fall in love with someone else.  And you extrapolate the findings and make hundreds and thousands and millions of others fall in love with a can of whatever-you're-selling.  Brill.

But that takes away so much romance isn't it?  Whatever happened to good old ethnography?

Neuroscience in consumer courtship - aye or nay?

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