Friday, February 25, 2005

Psychology in Advertising


This 'Age' article suggests that we may soon be seeing the effects of neuroscience in TV advertisements.

Purely because I expect most people to come at this with an instinctive backlash, I thought I would make a post outlining why this might actually be a good thing. In essense, it's a bit like the Euthyphro dilemma - is something good for its own sake, or is it good in itself.

Now, let's take an assumption : my brain works well. If that's true, then advertising that is targeted at my brain better is also better advertising. Not only will the advertisers be happy because they can more easily reach their target audience, but I will be happier, because I will have a better understanding of the product.

There is an implicit assumption in advertising that what sells products is sexyness and price, for example. However, I would buy many more products if I had better information about them (going on the evidence that I usually buy products which pass that test). At least, I think I would.

What I am trying to articulate, although I feel like I am failing, is that customers might also have a better, more enjoyable, and not necessarily a more frantic attitude towards advertising. It is a bad assumption to make that advertisers will more easily be able to exploit people's psychological weaknesses. To assume that, I think, is to do our minds a dis-service.



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