Did you know that those gruesome images on cigarette boxes actually stimulate smokers’ cravings?
There’s a new brand of marketing research starting to gain momentum called ‘Neuromarketing’, which I find very illuminating. This entails researchers placing respondents inside fMRI or EEG machines (if you’re a big fan of House, you’d probably seen them before) to gauge their actual responses to certain stimuli. If I’m not wrong, machines like the fMRI identify the flow of oxygen to certain parts of the brain to gauge a person’s neurological response. For example, if you’re feeling guilty, there will be an increased flow of oxygen to your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain that controls that particular emotion. I’ve never liked using questionnaires, you hardly ever get a genuine response – well, at least I hardly ever give a genuine response (oops!). Neuromarketing circumvents this problem because well, want to bluff also cannot bluff.
Apparently, these researchers found that health warnings stimulated smokers’ nucleus accumbens, generally known as the ‘craving spot’. So, images of cancer-ridden lungs actually promote smoking! Who would have thought? Martin Lindstrom’s book, Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, is an excellent account of neuromarketing’s rapid progress. I find it fascinating, don’t you?