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Advertisers Can Save your Brain November 28, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.

According to some German mad scientist, “strong” brands — whatever that means — provoke more pronounced brain activities than do weak ones.

    What surprised Dr. (Christine Born, the German radiologist who who specializes in the use of MRI to study neurological questions at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich) is how little either logo activated the decision-making part of the brain, even though the subjects were required — purely for purposes of ensuring concentration — to answer a question about each image…But the bigger surprise was that under examination by MRI, brains respond just as powerfully to strong insurance brands as to strong automotive brands, says Dr. Born. The result surprised her, she adds, because “cars are a status symbol. Insurance is an abstraction.”

This “study” tested 20 people and four brands, unless I’m getting the details wrong.

    This may be, as Dr. Born says, the first study of consumer brains. (!!??) But previous studies have shown that shopping can alter blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate, says Mr. Silverstein. “We know that a woman’s pulse increases in a Victoria’s Secret store,” he says.

A woman’s? What about a man’s?

    Dr. Born’s previous work included the examination of brain reaction to stimuli among people with and without dementia.

Why am I writing about this? More important, why is the Journal?

    But of the 2,000 or so studies being presented at the radiology meeting — billed as the largest medical conference in the world — the branding study is one of only 16 deemed unusual or newsworthy enough to warrant a press conference.
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