So yesterday I got myself down to the inaugural (I think) Future Human event, which promised much but delivered little. The title was the rather seductive ’Advertising at the Frontiers of Consciousness’, which I guess sounds like a Josh Wink song or the sort of stuff that makes planners happy. What happened was an amble through neuroscience principles and semiotics with some pretty heavyweight people, but nothing you hadn't heard about or read before. I'm increasingly becoming disillusioned with talks, especially one's you pay for or are on subjects that you know even a little about. My basic conclusion was 'the answer lies somewhere between the two', as it generally does for everything. Sadly (for economists) we don't live in a world of absolutes, and neither the science of neuromarketing or the cultural context of semiotics has all the answers. My favourite quote of the night was 'neuromarketing teaches advertising to suck eggs', which is kind of true in that the best work ticks all the science boxes without really thinking about it.
Science-fiction writer Matthew De Abaitua’s far-out vision for the future was ‘automatically generated micro-targeted message customised by our own existence that nudges your behaviour at relevant junctures’. Hmm, that just sounds like the Architect talking about search. To be fair De Abaitua did see evolution of search as the future, but still.
The case study about Bird's Eye in NZ using neuroscience to determine that 'the Frozen moment' part of a bombing ad was what consumers responded to, and then extending that moment and sticking the logo after it was interesting. Again, not a revolutionary use of neuromarketing in advertising, but interesting nonetheless.
The middle section of the event was devoted to watching TV ads and either looking at how they affected the brain or the neuromarketing techniques (memes and the likes) that they used. Mat Riches, who made sure my spare ticket didn't go to waste, noted that their examples seemed to underline the impact that TV can have as a channel in marketing.
Slightly related, it was interesting to see the discussion around Mark's 'To TV or not to TV?' post this afternoon. It's worth reading the post and more worth reading the comments. Personally, I prefer watching stuff on a big lovely screen than on a laptop screen, especially Blu-Ray films. I like having music telly on when I'm doing other stuff. I like not having to find a new stream for live sports events. I like vegging out when my brain's been on full power or full party. I like watching ads in situe to see what pops up.