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Buyology: Truth and Lies about Why We Buyby Martin Lindstrom
Synopses & Reviews
How much do we know about why we buy? What truly influences our decisions in todays message-cluttered world? An eye-grabbing advertisement, a catchy slogan, an infectious jingle? Or do our buying decisions take place below the surface, so deep within our subconscious minds, were barely aware of them?
In BUYOLOGY, Lindstrom presents the astonishing findings from his groundbreaking, three-year, seven-million-dollar neuromarketing study, a cutting-edge experiment that peered inside the brains of 2,000 volunteers from all around the world as they encountered various ads, logos, commercials, brands, and products. His startling results shatter much of what we have long believed about what seduces our interest and drives us to buy. Among his finding:
Gruesome health warnings on cigarette packages not only fail to discourage smoking, they actually make smokers want to light up.
Despite government bans, subliminal advertising still surrounds us – from bars to highway billboards to supermarket shelves.
"Cool” brands, like iPods trigger our mating instincts.
Other senses – smell, touch, and sound - are so powerful, they physically arouse us when we see a product.
Sex doesn't sell. In many cases, people in skimpy clothing and suggestive poses not only fail to persuade us to buy products - they often turn us away .
Companies routinetly copy from the world of religion and create rituals – like drinking a Corona with a lime – to capture our hard-earned dollars.
Filled with entertaining inside stories about how we respond to such well-known brands as Marlboro, Nokia, Calvin Klein, Ford, and American Idol, BUYOLOGY is a fascinating and shocking journey into the mind of todays consumer that will captivate anyone whos been seduced – or turned off – by marketers relentless attempts to win our loyalty, our money, and our minds. Includes a foreword by Paco Underhill.
When the scientists of the future look back at the advances of recent years, they'll be most impressed by what we've learned about the brain. The incarnate soul has been reduced to an intricate network of cells, speaking an obscure electrical code. The question, of course, is what to do with all this new knowledge. Doctors hope that it will lead to medical breakthroughs; philosophers are revising old... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) theories of objectivity; political scientists are updating their models of voter behavior. And now, in a turn that's both inevitable and disconcerting, the tools of neuroscience have entered the world of advertising. In "Buy-ology," marketing guru Martin Lindstrom argues that the ad campaigns of the future should tweak their messages to manipulate the brain. This isn't a new idea. In 1958, he writes, television networks banned subliminal advertising after reports surfaced of movie audiences consuming much more Coca-Cola and popcorn when exposed to fleeting images of "Drink Coca-Cola" and "Eat Popcorn." (The images were reportedly flashed for three-thousandths of a second, far too fast for conscious awareness.) Although the whole thing turned out to be a hoax and subsequent research found that subliminal advertising was rarely effective, the point had been made: The public had been forced to consider the possibility that many of our decisions are shaped by forces beyond our control. Lindstrom wants to reinvent subliminal advertising for the 21st century, finding new ways to bend the unconscious to the corporate will. The fancy name for this approach is neuromarketing, and he argues that the endeavor is entirely benevolent, just another tool to help us "better understand ourselves — our wants, our drives and our motivations." It's hard to judge Lindstrom's optimism, since neuromarketing is largely a phenomenon of the private sector, which doesn't publish in peer-reviewed journals. Much of "Buy-ology" is based on brain-scanning research funded by "some of the most respected companies in the world," which paid Lindstrom and colleagues millions of dollars to investigate the effects of advertising on the brain. If "Buy-ology" itself is any indication, these companies got ripped off. It's not that the book doesn't have interesting moments: I enjoyed learning about how slices of lime got indelibly associated with Corona beer and why the logos plastered on race cars are so effective at getting consumers to buy particular brands. However, what makes these stories interesting is that, unlike the rest of the book, they aren't shackled to pseudoscientific explanations meant to encourage larger advertising budgets. Take mirror neurons, a much-hyped circuit of cells in the pre-motor cortex. These cells have one very interesting property: They fire both when a person moves and when that person sees someone else move. In other words, they collapse the distinction between seeing and doing. That's an exciting idea, but Lindstrom isn't content to stick with the science. Instead, he uses mirror neurons to explain everything from the atmospherics of an Abercrombie & Fitch store (the "large blow-up posters of half-naked models" make your "mirror neurons fire-up") to the smell of coffee in the morning, which causes these cells to "see a cup of Maxwell-House." Lindstrom cheapens the mirror neuron hypothesis by turning it into a justification for almost every successful marketing campaign: Even the triumph of the iPod is merely mirror neurons at work. He also oversimplifies his explanations of brain-scanning experiments. He describes his own research in breathless prose as "the largest, most revolutionary neuromarketing experiment in history," but his data rarely hold up to closer examination. For instance, he thinks it's incredibly profound that images of well-known brands, such as Harley-Davidson, trigger the "exact same patterns of brain activity" as does religious iconography. These data, however, clearly say more about the limitations of brain scanners and Lindstrom's experimental protocol than about brands or God. After all, motorcycles typically trigger very different feelings than pictures of nuns and church pews. If these things all look the same in a scanner, then you've missed something important. When he's not trying to sell his own research, Lindstrom can be a charming writer. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of advertising history and an abundance of real-world business experience. Unfortunately, in "Buy-ology," he gets seduced by the explanatory power of brain science. Perhaps his next experiment should look at why those pictures of the cortex produced by brain-scanning experiments can make people believe such silly things. Reviewed by Jonah Lehrer, author of 'Proust Was a Neuroscientist,' and 'How We Decide,' to be published in February, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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Book News Annotation:
In this paperback edition of the 2008 New York Times bestseller, a marketing expert goes beyond traditional market research to explain consumer behavior. Drawing on studies using functional brain scanning techniques, Lindstrom discusses links between religion, superstitions, subliminal advertising (yes it's lurking), and buying behavior. In a new chapter, he argues that today's recession will have a long-term impact on shopping habits. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Marketing guru Lindstrom draws on a three-year study of people from around the world to overturn many of the assumptions, myths, and beliefs about what genuinely stimulates consumers' interest in a product and compels them to buy.
A guide to the effective use of sound in marketing, revealing the surprising ways sound can influence our emotions, opinions, and preferences
A surprising look at the hidden power of sound, revealing how people and brands can use it to inspire and persuade and#8212; or annoy
From horror movie scores to national anthems to the crunchy sound of potato chips, sound and music greatly impact how we feel about our lives and the messages and products we encounter every day. With the right tools and understanding, anyone can cut through the meaningless noise competing for our attention and learn to use sound as a rich storytelling strategy.
You donand#8217;t need to be a musician or a composer to harness the power of sound. Joel Beckerman explains how companies, brands, and individuals can strategically use sound to get to the core of their mission, influence how theyand#8217;re perceived by their audiences, and gain a competitive advantage. The key to these sonic strategies involves creating and#8220;boom momentsand#8221; and#8212; transcendent instants when sound connects with a listenerand#8217;s emotional core.
The Sonic Boom draws surprising insights from real world examples: the way Disney parks score every second of their guestsand#8217; experience; how Chiliand#8217;s restaurants uses lessons from evolutionary psychology to sell tons of sizzling fajitas, how the sound of a special edition Mustangand#8217;s engine is designed to make drivers feel like action-movie heroes. Sure to appeal to fans of Made to Stick and This Is Your Brain on Music, The Sonic Boom offers readers a powerful new vocabulary for sharing impactful messages with sound.
About the Author
MARTIN LINDSTROM was voted one world's 100 most influential people of 2009 by Time Magazine for his work on neuromarketing. With a global audience of over a million people, Lindstrom,one of the world's most respected marketing gurus, spends 300 days on the road every year, advising top executives of companies including McDonald's Corporation, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company and GlaxoSmithKline. He has been featured in The Washington Post, USA TODAY, Fast Company, and more. His previous book, BRANDsense, was acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the ten best marketing books ever published.
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