Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Until recently, I was a brand conscious consumer zombie. I was quite confident that I had turned a new leaf. I am not quite sure of that anymore. I came across this article titled “neuromarketing” by pbs.org. It talks about a study of brain's responses to ads and brands. Apparently, a neurally clever ad campaign can make brain override product quality in favor of brand image. Brain scans are being used to create precision marketing campaigns.

The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. From the moment we wake up in the morning, to the daily commute, to the after office hours, to our favorite sitcoms, we are constantly bombarded with ads and brand images. The radios, the TV, the web are all littered with them. We may not pay attention to a majority of them. The question is are we paying attention at a subconscious level? Why else would we instinctly grab a particular drink or a particular any thing?

To quote Chomsky, "The business world does not spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year to provide information. The famed 'entrepreneurial initiative' and 'free trade' are about as realistic as informed consumer choice."

It is easy to play the victim here. But are we also the villain? Many among us strive to be successful corporate executives. Many dream of making it big. Armed with degrees, we march out into the corporate world. Helping to churn out more marketing campaigns, gimmicks and gizmos, to keep the cycle of consumerism at it’s consuming best. Or should I say consuming worst!

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