“Buy.ology” by Martin Linstrom

Throughout this book, the author, Martin Lindstrom, attempts to prove to his readers that through neurological testing, advertisers can discover what consumers really want, because sometimes their words aren’t the complete truth.  Each chapter offers a different example of a test done often times through fMRI testing that show which parts of the brain consumers are using when making purchase decisions and simply viewing advertising.  The first of these tests was done on smokers, and whether or not they really understand what advertisements for cigarettes are attempting to tell them.  There were three chapters that really stuck out from the rest of the book that offered a lot of insight into neuromarketing- chapters six, eight, and ten.

Chapter six, entitled “I Say a Little Prayer: Faith, Religion, and Brands”.  Lindstrom references a study done by Dr. Mario Beauregard and Dr. Vincent Paquette who studies neuroimaging in nuns to attempt to discover what the brain looks like when it is experiencing religion.  Lindstrom attempts to draw a conclusion between religious symbology and icons of popular brands.  He references how crosses, angels, doves, crowns of thorns, all symbol religious affiliation and that brands too have symbols that represent them, such as the Nokia ringtone, the sleek lines of iPods and other Apple products, and even the new leathery scent of a car.  Lindstrom and the other two men that led this study discovered that religious symbols and brand symbols evoke similar neurological reactions in terms of which parts of the brain light up when viewing them.

Another important chapter, chapter eight, entitled “A Sense of Wonder: Selling to Our Senses”, examines how scent is a growing form of advertising because it responds differently than the rest of our senses.  With sight, touch, taste, and sound, consumers think before they respond to them, as Pam Scholder Ellen, puts it.  However with smell, your brain responds quicker than you can think about it.  Lindstrom goes on to demonstrate how different generations could have a different connection to different smells.

Chapter ten, entitled “Let’s Spend The Night Together: Sex in Advertising” looks at how sex in advertising is becoming obsolete, and might be running dry soon.  More importantly, He states how consumers might say that an ad with overt sex appeal might make them buy something purchase products, the neurological tests might say something different.  The tests go on to prove that although the consumer’s words say that they like a Calvin Klein ad with a half dressed attractive male on it, they are less likely to buy the product because they know deep down they cannot look that way in the product.  The same theory goes for makeup and beauty advertisements that show extremely beautiful models.   Lindstrom references that despite what consumers might verbalize, the neuroimaging of their brains show that they respond better to ads that show “ordinary” looking people- people that are more like them.

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