Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Beginner's
Pocket Guide to
Anon E. Mos

For those who have been and those who are yet to come.

"Authority is power that is explicit and more or less 'voluntarily’ obeyed; manipulation is the 'secret' exercise of power, unknown to those who are influenced. "
C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (1956)

" To illuminate the mechanisms of propaganda is to reveal the secret springs of social action, and to expose to the most searching criticisim our prevailing dogmas of sovereignty, of democracy, of honesty, and of the sanctity of individual opinion. "
Harold Dwight Lasswell, Propaganda Technique in the World War (1927)



Larzarsfeld and Merton said that people, in particular Americans, “stand in peculiar dread of the power of propaganda”; they quoted British observer, William Empson, who described people’s reaction as “a curiously girlish attitude toward anyone who might be doing propaganda. ‘Don’t let that man come near. Don’t let him tempt me, because if he does I’m sure to fall.’”(Lazarsfeld and Merton, 1948).

Propaganda according to the Institute for Propaganda Analysis is an “expression of opinion or action by individuals or groups deliberately designed to influence opinions or actions of other individuals or groups with reference to predetermined ends.” (Lee and Lee, 1939)

The truth is propaganda is everywhere and in everything. And the sneaky part is that it is not often recognized as propaganda. Propaganda according to its definition would have been around since the beginning of time; selfishness comes naturally to humans and it only makes sense that people

would try to sway other people’s opinion and actions to their advantage, a trait that comes so naturally that it is evident early in childhood. And I believe the only reason propaganda gained fame was because everybody’s eyes were opened to its immense power during the world wars and it had finally been given a name to call and identify it by.

The thing about propaganda is that is gives people spirit, it can give them hope, and it is posed to unite them under whatever stance they take. The age-old story that comes in different versions from different cultures, talks about a stick or a twig that is easily broken when on its own but a bundle of sticks have greater resistance.

There is incredible power in unity. Entire dynasties have fallen because people united against the authority, because people grew tired of being suppressed and propaganda was used to show them the way out (Horkheimer and Adorno, 1944). But sticks placed together are just sticks that happen to be near each other. There is no power or strength in them because they can be picked apart, one by one. The power in the bundle of sticks lies in what binds them, a leader, a common purpose, and a goal (Wirth, 1948). Propaganda brings this power.

What makes propaganda so effective is its psychological prowess. Because it is manipulative, it is extremely cunning and devious. It uses “magic words,” words that the audience identifies with, it uses omnibus, equivocal words, words that mean different things to different people, and it plays on people’s fears, weaknesses, and needs. People have always wanted to fit it to be a part of the group to identify with a belief. No idea or opinion is original, it all came from somewhere, from the past and is shaped by our environment and culture (Lee and Lee, 1939).

This means that no one and no idea is truly unique and each person is influenced by another (Bernays, 1928). For propaganda to work it requires intimate knowledge of the audience, it comes disguised a family, as a friend or as leader and it says this what you need, this is what you have to think; it creates the impression that this is what everyone is doing and therefore what you should be doing or thinking (Mills, 1956). It makes itself the new fad or trend; it uses build-up words, words that build interest and raises enthusiasm, words that are sincere and evoke empathy, and words that endear the audience to the message (Horton and Wohl, 1956). It is on this basis that propaganda takes hold of mass groups of people, because nobody wants to be left out. And propaganda is able to do so because mass opinion is not the gospel truth, it is merely a mass consensus.

I believe that propaganda is very much alive and kicking in the world today, it did not die at the end of those world wars, it merely found a way to dig its

heels in deeper and perform in more subtle ways. Harold Lasswell described propaganda as “sophisticated to the extent of using print,” but this was in 1927 when the trending technology was print. Advertising and public relations has been linked to propaganda and rightly so because they are the exposed arms of propaganda; in the 1930’s advertising was known as “the propaganda menace” (Peters and Simonson, 2004), because back then propaganda was so closely linked to Nazi and Communist beliefs and was a threat to their democracy. Today, propaganda has the wealth of mass media technology at its disposal, anything and everything is exploited including the internet. The propaganda is so subtle that is not often recognized. Lasswell also said, “to illuminate the mechanisms of propaganda is to reveal the secret springs of social action, and to expose to the most searching criticism our prevailing dogmas of sovereignty, of democracy, of honesty, and of the sanctity of individual opinion” (1927). This is the true reality of propaganda.


Propaganda is everywhere.


Propaganda is used to influence the actions or opinions of people. Any opinion can be manipulated.

Propaganda is a quiet yet deadly weapon, it can crush the will to fight by escalating depression disillusionment and disagreement. Propaganda is one of the most powerful weapons in the world.


Propaganda can control the germination and development of opinion. DO use propaganda to spike the mood of any situation to the extremes. When people are uninterested, propaganda motivates them, and when they are interested, it compels them to act on it.


1.  Name Calling.    Use degrading language to ridicule any opposition, label them in negatively way that will not be questioned.

2.  Glittering Generality.    The use of words that merit; positive words that inspire and evoke empathy and the impression of simpatico.

3.  Transfer.    Project and link the emotion, the symbolism related to an event, person, or item, with what you talk about to create the same emotional reaction.

4.  Testimonial.    You need a spokesperson to endorse your message, someone with authority on the subject, authority gained from knowledge or experience. For a positive outcome, this individual has to be favored by the audience.

5.  Plain Folks.    Position yourself as one of the people, a commoner that is not so different from the audience; you will give the impression that you are speaking for the people.

6.  Card Stacking.    When defending or providing support for your message only address and emphasize the positive parts of it to reinforce your message, ignore and deny anything negative.

7.  Band Wagon.    Use the argument:"everybody is doing it."


Do not limit your message to just words, music and art can be effective too. Beware of "propaganda phobia," DO NOT ever use the term "propaganda," it does not help them like you.

DO NOT threaten your audience's self-image, you will have no success at all in your persuasions.

To change what people think you must look at the whole picture, do not disregard any detail in their lives, you must do research and be knowledgeable on everything about them. Your research affords you intimate knowledge of them and reveals a personal angle with which to use to persuade them to follow you.

It is important that at all times the subject of the propaganda is loved, admired, and favored. There should be sincerity and heart built into the message to build rapport with the audience, so that the audience gets the impression of realness and a sense of sympathy to the subject; speak to the heart of the people. In return, the audience will grant you their loyalty. However your job does not end here, the

audience needs to be convinced fully believe, to act upon this message.

Where to Begin:
STEP 1:  :  Analyze the problem. Examine the audience, the message and the idea: thorough research is the best support.
Know the group leaders and their importance. Know the habits of the group: your success is in educating them to the new ideas, changing cliches, overcoming prejudices. Break it down so that they can understand and identify with it.

STEP 2:  :  Make it effective:This is where the research comes in, make sure your message is coming across in an effective manner, that you are persuading people to follow you.

STEP 3:  :  Make sure that all the group/opinion leaders are on board.
Remember: People’s opinion are rarely their own, they are influenced by their surroundings and demographics.


Provide comfort and calm, a sense of unity for those supporting the message. And for those who are against, do not let them unify, put doubt in their own message.

Cast your message in a favorable light, make the people want to love your message.

Use Omnibus/ambiguous words, their varying meanings will benefit you.

The repetitive use of chosen “magic” words (key terms) forms habit.

Be enthusiastic about your message, especially when you deliver it, make it seem interesting otherwise you will gather no audience because your message will not stand out.

Remember: Public opinion is not the complete truth, it is only what the majority thinks. Don’t forget that you can change this.

Never show your hand, who you really are, use the people they communicate with everyday, the people they trust, so that they are manipulated so personally.

Your role is to advise or command. Your manipulation should be unknown to those you are trying to influence.

The public, the people you are trying to manipulate should not be individuals, just those who change other people's opinions matter. Your manipulation should give the impression to those being manipulated that this is the desire of the majority of them.

Do not speak to people when they are alone, the message will not be effective then. Make sure that the message is delivered when there is a group. Discussions in a group can reinforce the message, especially if the opinion leaders are present.

Convince them and always remind them that your message and idea is strong, good and profitable.

You may use varying forms of deceptions to tell your message, but never get caught in a lie:
Slant any information by selection and emphasis; Boast; Make empty promises; Use flattery; A disguise of righteous is effective; Enthusiasm; Straight-forward lies, and Inventions.

Make sure that they believe that they are serving a just cause, that victory is certain and that their loyalty to you will be advantageous to them.

Exploit whatever victory you achieve, to fortify your message and in down times, remind them of your victories to pacify their doubts.

Recruiting will always benefit you.


When you have to tell the truth DO editorialize, mingle truth and half-truth with omission, throw in some commentary and evaluation, sprinkle a little truth into your propaganda and you've told the truth (according to you).

Nothing kills your credibility faster than getting caught in a lie.


Always focus on the goal, do not get distracted.

Never reveal that you are a propagandist.

Propaganda is generally known to go hand-in-hand with deceit, DO NOT get caught in a lie.

Always be aware of the public opinion, of what people think about you.

If the people turn against you in the end, know that it is because you would have taught them how

to do so.

Beware: there will be many others trying to accomplish the same goals as you. There is confusion in the world already because of conflicting propaganda.

Beware of the media, it can be used to your advantage and it can be your downfall. The media says so much already, they are so competitive and exaggerate that they trivialize issues and even cancel each other out. The media is not trusted, do not rely solely on the media to disperse your message.

Beware of CRITICISM: You will surely crumble under it, especially if your idea is morally wrong. Confidence must always be kept even in the light of defeat; the unity of all minds is very important.

Keep a close eye on those who are loyal, watch their attitudes and behaviors at all times so that they never lose faith.


Propaganda maybe used for good or for evil, obviously as is evident from its role in shaping history. Because of its manipulative characteristic, propaganda is said go hand in hand with deceit (Horkheimer and Adorno, 1944). But propaganda can be used for good- I believe this. Sometimes what the majority of people think is right may not be what is best for them and sometimes someone has to rise to the occasion to change their minds. To change public opinion requires changing clichés, changing prejudice (Bernays, 1928), and any random individual on a soapbox will not suffice. This is not unlike trying to feed vegetables to a child, they will not want it because it is not attractive nor is it sweet but they need it for their health. So parents avail ploys like “the airplane spoon,” or disguising the vegetable- pills, vegetable/fruit juice, etc, or even employ a punishment and/or reward system, all to compel the child to do what is best for its health. The child may not like it now, but the child will be grateful for it in the future. Sometimes the end justifies the means.

In my eyes, propaganda is like a flourishing gold mine, it holds so much promise. Yes, today propaganda is used in a more subtle manner but it still exists; the media tells us what to think, what to say, how to act- they control us. It could even be argued that the news is not really the news, that what we are made to believe, as the gospel truth is editorialized information, the truth is sprinkled with omissions and half-truths, commentaries and opinions.

The Nazis and the Communists were able to use propaganda; it was especially effective in their news, to sway people in ways that have drastically changed history, in horrific ways during the world wars. I am not saying that I support them, I am merely commenting on the power they had over their people that they gained through propaganda. Had the Nazis made the right moves they would have succeeded in annihilating a complete race, all with the help of propaganda. Propaganda today does not need violence; instead, it has mass media that is more powerful weapon that makes persuasion easier. My point is that propaganda has so much potential today, it can be used for good or for evil, but this latent

power is out and anybody can harness it for anything, even something as trivial as salad dressings (Bernays, 1928).

So in the end we should be questioning if what we are getting is really the truth. How do we know that the monopoly of authority, the “small circles of men” who run the major news outlets, Viacom and Time Warner, for example, are not making the decisions on what we should know, on what should be important to us? How do we know whether our entire lives are based on propaganda? How would we know if someone is using propaganda to manipulate us? How would we know what to look for? What are the signs?

The Seven ABC’s of Propaganda Analysis, provide a some guiding rules to determine what is or is not propaganda (Lee and Lee, 1939):
1.  Asertain.    Figure out what the conflict in the situation is.
2.  Behold.    How do you feel about this conflict? What is your immediate reaction to it?
3.  Concern.    Stay current with the news and the conflicts around you.
4.  Doubt.    Don’t believe that your thoughts are your very own,

everything influences the way we think.
5.  Evaluate.    Ask why we think and act the way we do.
6.  Find the facts.    Before you decide anything make sure you have all the facts.
6.  Guard.    Look out for confusing words, words that may trap you, words with cryptic meanings.

Good luck to you!

Government Transparency and Participatory Democracy Highlights from the Obama Administration

 The shift from mass communication to networked communication has changed culture by increasing the need for the appearance of federal government transparency.  As Web 2.0 technologies and social media technologies increase in prevalence, it is nearly impossible for the government not to utilize these new tools.  Several presidential administrations have made significant efforts to improve the ease of transparency of government.  President Lyndon B. Johnson oversaw the Freedom of Information Act adopted in 1966 (5 USC § 552).  President Bill Clinton led the “Reinventing Government Initiative,” which included such activities as “Access America” that “laid out a series of actions to serve the public on its own terms and give agencies tools to operate an electronic government” (Kamensky, 2001).
Here's an interesting response to Turkle's Op-ed piece in the NY Times.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Luke Miller's Final Project!

A Perfectly Practical Pinterest Perspective

Megan Carroll + Rebekah Magill 

In a world of endless transition, communication remains a solid constant. From technology to cultural trends, the progression of media is largely responsible for shaping life as we know it. Using one of today's emerging revolutions, Pinterest, we are able to visually represent these effects, and modernly catalog the milestones of history. 

1900s:  The decade where the first transatlantic radio signal was sent.  The audion was invented allowing for live radio broadcasting, improving radio signals amplification and enhancing signal reception. Radio communications, or wireless telegraphy, were put into use by the world's military and naval forces.  This decade also introduced the Ford Model T, the beginning of aviation, color photography, the subway, air conditioning, vacuum cleaners that suck (instead of blow), and neon lights to name a few things.
1910s:  By 1910, many suburban homes had been wired up with power (telephones) and many new electric gadgets were being patented.  The Titanic sinks, U.S. enters World War I.  Thomas Edison introduces the Kinetophone designed to merge the motion picture camera with the phonograph. The first cross continental phone call was made.  Electric starters, stainless steel, the tank, gas mask, and bra were invented. Superhetrodyne tuners allowed radios to tune into different radio stations and led to the official implementation of radio tuners.  Motorized movie cameras replace hand cranked movie cameras.

1920s: The Roaring Twenties were a time of radical change caused by the many changes happening in technology with new advancements, discoveries, and inventions.  The new technology of movies with sound and color led to the fast growth of Hollywood and Cinemas.  Prohibition laws were passed, making the consumption and possession of alcohol illegal.  Prohibition led to some of the most well known gangsters who opened illegal bars called speakeasies. The most well known gangster of the time was possibly Al Capone.  This period also saw the growth of the Ku Klux Klan and the growth of the Vigilante groups who took the law into their own hands and lynched victims most often black without any trial.  Beginning of the Great Depression in 1929.

1930:  The 1930’s started out with the Nation facing the Great Depression and the dust bowl. Franklin D. Roosevelt became president and his “New Deal” helped heal our country. Thanks to inventions such as the FM radio, and tape recorder, the possibility of radio advertisements grew. The decade also learned how the media could affect the people, thanks to Orsen Welles dramatic “War of the Worlds” broadcast. The photocopier, the jet engine, the ballpoint pen, and drive-in movie theater were all inventions that changed our nation. The decade also saw advertisements directed towards women’s perception of their figures.

1940s:  During this decade there was much advancement in technology, mostly thanks to World War II efforts. The Atomic bomb was created, the first nuclear reactor was developed, and the speed of sound was broken. Both synthetic Cortisone and synthetic rubber were created because cost for the natural substances rose drastically due to the War. Other important inventions were the computer, the microwave, and the Polaroid camera. Because of the Second World War, popularity in political advertisements grew; the nation was trying to get support for its cause by asking people to buy war bonds and support the troops. Another development in advertising was the encouragement of women working outside of their traditional jobs.

1950s: During the 1950s communication was rapidly improved by several highly technical innovations. Advancements in electronics made television available to almost everyone. Then electronic engineers developed systems of broadcasting and receiving broadcast signals in color.  Television brought the moving picture into people's homes and transformed the way people received information.  Television transmitted ideas faster than ever before. Television exposed people to other cultures and worldviews and provided information that would play a major role in shaping popular public opinion.  Martin Luther King, segregation ruling, Fortran computer language, diet pops, credit cards, solar power.

1960s: The 1960s were a time of political, social, cultural and psychological change. Social movements, civil rights issues, student protests and the Vietnam War gained notoriety through national publication, specifically via television. TV's effect on politics, advertising and public perception continued to grow during this time, via national broadcasting. Also dubbed the “Swinging Sixties,” the decade experienced the fall/relaxation of social taboos like sexism and racism that had grown in previous years. The “Psychadelic” counter-culture of the 1960s popularized boisterous style, drug use and the creative expansions of film, art and music.

1970s: The 1970s saw the rise of political scandal through media’s growing reach. Amid Richard Nixon and The Watergate Scandal, social culture became disillusioned and less optimistic than in the decade before. The availability of cable TV allowed trends like the women’s movement and social consciousness to became more accurately depicted in living room programs.  Minority entertainment also emerged among televised broadcasts and disco/soul entertainment to combat racism and the fall of segregation. The 1970s became a time of trust in the media as more people were able to see, first-hand the political and social happenings of the generation.

1980s: Society of the 1980s embraced a new conservatism in social, economic and political life characterized by the policies of President Ronald Reagan. Scandals, sex and violence were abundant in movies, as well as in the radio, television and print news. Consolidated media became a growing trend with major networks, like CNN, emerging, and advertising glorified notions of wealth, beauty and success, that few could actually attain. “Yuppies” also emerged with an explosion of blockbuster movies and cable entertainment networks like MTV, which introduced the music video and launched the careers of many iconic artists.

1990s: The birth of the Internet. The 1990s is widely regarded as the Information Age, characterized by the ability of individuals to transfer and access information freely—bridging past and future decades. Digital technologies like pagers and cell phones emerged to aid in personal communication. The rise of the sitcom in television reflected society’s real-life values and issues, and influenced many of the era’s fashion trends. President Bill Clinton’s affair scandal inspired a media blitz and Y2K left many skeptical that the century’s conclusion would be the last of technology.

2000s: The 2000s jumpstarted an era of globalization and networked communication. The rise of the Internet allowed people to interact with others, express their ideas, explore foreign lifestyles, become digital consumers, perform research and experience the world without leaving home home. Social Networks like Facebook and Twitter have contributed to the immediacy of media and changing face of personal identity. Integrated content—Web, music, videos—has also grown with the real world becoming synergized with the online world.  

Face-to-face vs. Facebook communication

Face-to-Face vs. Facebook Communication

Today there are multiple ways a person can choose to converse with another person. One of the most popular ways is communicating through social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Skype. Many high school and college students will use the term “Facebook me” when talking to their friends to the point that “to Facebook” has unofficially became a verb that many people have started to use. Facebook has unofficially become a place where users can reconnect with old friends, develop new friendships, and also de-friend users. When I was deciding on a project subject for this course, I randomly came across multiple statuses about misunderstandings and people stating that they wanted to de-friend individuals. This made me want to analyze the differences between face to face and Facebook communication. This paper will describe what communication is, what Facebook is, and if Facebook has taken the place of face to face communication.

Communication is the exchange and flow of information and ideas from one person to another. It involves a sender transmitting an idea, information, or feeling to a receiver. In order to have effective communication the receiver needs to understand the exact information or idea that the sender intended to transmit. Communication problems occur when someone fails to communicate or process, which will lead to confusion. Face to face communication remains the most powerful human interaction (Merkle & Richardson, 2000). Even though technological devices are wonderful, they can never replace the intimacy and immediacy of people conversing in the same room


For my project, I wanted to look into the idea of disconnecting from the network: how network disconnection is different from mass disconnection, why we desire to disconnect, if it's a feasible option in today's world and what other solutions can mitigate this need.

I changed direction about two weeks ago, but am very please with how this turned out. I developed a multimedia project in the form of a website I coded. It contains references, text, comics, images and graphics I've made as well as three stop-motion videos I created (I was the most excited about these). Hopefully it presents an interesting and visually compelling argument on disconnection.

If you are using IE7 or anything older, there may be some technical glitches since those browsers require separate styling.

My site:

Fringe Groups Seek to Seduce Mainstream

The Networked Media and Food Marketing to Children in the United States: A History in Images

Enjoy! I couldn't get all pages to upload...they just turned up black. As if you didn't already know that I am technologically inept. Anyway, if you want to see the whole thing, just let me know!

Killing Us Softly | Networked Media

Below you will find a creative project exploring the depiction of women in networked media.

By: Kelli Britten, Belinda Wright, and Xu Ye

The Drive to be Thin--Women in Advertising

There have been countless studies and articles written about the effects of the portrayal of women’s bodies in the media and self-image. It’s a hot button topic that never truly gets resolved. Even in the last few week, Ashley Judd slammed the media for speculation over her “puffy” appearance after a TV morning show appearance. 
I think many of us would agree that models in the media and used in advertisements are “too thin,” but what is keeping us as an industry from making a change? Through television, magazines, billboards, and other media, women frequently encounter images of female beauty that are highly uncommon and largely unattainable. Physical appearance is clearly important to women’s lives. Attractiveness is linked with higher popularity and better relationships (Gurari, Hetts, Strube, p 273).
We discussed this at some length as we reviewed articles on visuality in the mass media era. What sparked an additional interest in this for me was Jean Kilbourne’s article, “The More You Subtract, the More you Add.” As we watched a video on Kilbourne in class, I was shocked to see my own patterns of describing my relationship with food in a way that she identified as so common.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Expansion of the Geek Culture

The Expansion of Geek Culture
Alexis Zoe Waters
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Spring 2012

            I find myself in a new world, well there is no real new world in front of me, just a bunch of pixilated images enticing me to continue to explore this new environment. My avatar surveys the world I have entered and instantly I feel as though I am a newborn wanting to get into everything. I become more familiarized with how to control, alter, and explore the new world. I am unable to fight off the urge to strip myself of the generic clothing generated to get you started and begin to play dress up with my avatar. I ponder for a moment deciding whether I want my avatar to reflect myself, or be something completely spontaneous and new. After several moments of thought I decide to sport some black leggings, a nice grey top, and of course long brown hair with bangs. My avatar begins to transform from dull to having personality and life. Indeed, Lexy Frequency becomes a representation of Alexis Waters. Confidence gives me the courage to commence my second life.

“Close Friends Share Salt Together?” -- Friendship Under the Context of Networked Media (By Amber Li&Amy Lu)

“Close Friends Share Salt Together?”
Friendship Under the Context of Networked Media
Ziqian (Amber) Li & Beixi (Amy) Lu
Option 2 – Multimedia Essay

The development of networked media has enlarged our social networking venues, and thus adding new meanings to what means to us as friendship.
In this multi-media essay, we are trying to explore the meaning and value of friendship under the context of today’s networked media, and further investigate how such media landscape has altered people’s social behaviors. After a considerable amount of literature review and artifacts analysis, we argue that networked media has redefined the friendship, and significantly shaped people’s social behaviors targeted to friends – people adjust their way of developing friendships and interacting with friends.

The History of A Friendship  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Culture of Accessibility in Higher Education in the Era of Networked Communication (Media Essay - Stephanie Herzog)

The Culture of Accessibility in Higher Education in the Era of Networked Communication

            The world of higher education with it’s traditional image of the nearly impenetrable ivory tower and brick and mortar campus that was for many decades out of reach for those who were not high socioeconomic status, white males, has seen a dramatic transformation in relation to access within the past twenty years due to the evolution of online higher education. This media essay will address how the shift from mass communication to networked communication has changed the culture of accessibility in higher education, both in terms of awareness of higher education opportunities as well as the actual attainment of higher education.
            Accessibility takes a binary approach through looking at two different aspects of access in relation to higher education and what about the culture of access has been changed since networked communication arose. First, how do potential students gain literal access to college in terms of information gathering, the application process, and also arranging details about classes and campus life? Second, how do students access their actual education in terms of classes, research, and working with faculty and peers? In regards to both awareness and attainment within higher education, the shift from an era of mass communication dominance to a world of networked communication control has drastically reshaped the landscape of higher education.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Filtered Media - Final Project

Hi everyone,

If you'd like to take a look at the full website we've created, just follow this link:

Thanks for taking the time to check it out!

Frances, Ashlee and Tianyang

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Neurotechnology is being used in marketing. Check out a paper I wrote a couple years ago, and google Martin Lindstrom.

Neuroscience and Market Research: Neuromarketing
Ashlee S Muller
University of Nebraska – Lincoln
ADVT 884
Graduate Research Paper
9 July 2010
Neuroscientific methods have long been used within the social sciences, especially neuropsychology, but they are just beginning to be used in conjunction with marketing research (Reimann, 2009). New advancements in the field have allowed scientists to look inside the brain and observe what is going on. They can see how the brain functions, processes information, and how emotions influence behaviors – like buying choices. The application of neuroscientific methods to market research is called consumer neuroscience, or neuromarketing (Marci, 2008). After gathering neuroscientific data, the logical next step is integrating it into a marketing plan. The goal is to take the scientific findings of the neuromarketing study and use them to prepare an advertising strategy that will win over consumers (Walvis, 2008).
The most common method of gathering neuromarketing data uses a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) brain scanning machine that produces a color-coded image of the brain taken while participants are exposed to different stimuli including product advertisements, branded packaging, etc. Scientific interpretation of the resulting image by trained personnel reveals the participant‘s unconscious feelings about the brands or advertisements in the study (Lovell, 2008).
Other methods for research include the electroencephalography, or EEG. EEG measures brainwaves with a headband-like sensor. Many times the EEG test is combined with other measurement tools including eye-tracking systems, and galvanic skin-response metering. Compared to fMRI methods, using EEG is more affordable and convenient. However, some are convinced that the EEG provides
less-impressive data than could be gathered from traditional means like focus groups and questionnaires (Frazier, 2007).
The concept of neuromarketing was first proposed by Jerry Zaltman in the late 1990s. The article Inside the Mind of the Consumer, published in the June 12, 2004 issue of the The Economist credits Zaltman for propositioning the union of neuroscience and marketing. 2001 marked the first official opening of a neuromarketing division within a marketing firm (Wilson, et al., 2008). The October 2008 Campaign article, Is Neuroscience Making a Difference?, by Caroline Lovell says that there are now more than 90 neuromarketing agencies worldwide.
The article The New Ad-Buying Measures that May Be on Tap This Fall, written by Andrew Hampp mentions that neuromarketing is one of the methods that marketers are looking to to expand reach negotiations with network advertising sellers for the Fall of 2010. The article talks about how A&E networks will become the latest network to partner with a neuroscience company. Their goal is to measure the eye movements and brainwaves of consumers to determine their emotional engagement with programming and advertising. A superior audience may no longer be rated on size alone; it may now be looked at from an engagement or impact perspective, which may influence the negotiation process in advertisement purchasing (Hampp, 2010).
Why has neuromarketing become relevant?
Over the last few years the scope of market research has changed. With the increase of digital correspondence – via social networks, blogs, forums, etc. – we have become a ―listening economy.‖ We have changed the way we think about and
use information. Where there was once a simple consumer, we now see reviewers and publishers with blogs, fan sites, and forums online, and as a result the way we brand our products is becoming increasingly more consumer-centric. In that respect it has become even more imperative that we know what the consumer is thinking (Smith, 2009).
Data gathered in a 2009 paper by Joel Rubinson of the Advertising Research Foundation stated that from 2003 to 2008 the mission, vision and scope of research have changed. He provided the following key words, the first group derived from a global Research Leaders Summit in 2003, the second from a series of leadership meetings and industry forums in 2008 and 2009.
The following lists are from The New Marketing Research Imperative: It’s about Learning, Joel Rubinson, 2009:
2003 key words:
 Accountability
 Relevant
 Differentiated
 Science
 Measurement
 Models
 Knowledge
 Calibrated
 Valid
 R4 (i.e., right information, right place, right time, right form)
2008/2009 key words:
 Human
 Synthesis
 Science
 Sharing via social media
 Learning
 Listening
 Storytelling
 Categorization (i.e., how humans learn about new things)
 Risk taker
 Strategy (i.e., where to play, where to win).
The conclusion that Rubinsin draws from this is the following:
―The shift in research strategy in only five years is profound, from an emphasis on report-card accountability metrics to becoming a learning organization that puts the human at the center of marketing thinking.‖
Rubinson also says that emerging mental models – including neuroscience, anthropology, and behavioral economics, which have contributed to the knowledge of how people interpret messaging – is one of the major reasons that there has been a shift toward learning (2009).
As the advertising world becomes more consumer-centric it is going to become increasingly more important to understand what the consumer is thinking.
―…neuroscience seeks to understand the neural mechanisms underlying complex thoughts, such as reasoning, decision making, object representation, emotion, and memory, which overlap with marketing notions such as positioning, hierarchy of effects, brand loyalty, and consumer responses to marketing.‖ (Perrachione, 2008)
Rubinson predicts that accurate forecasts and accountability metrics will no longer be enough to create memorable marketing in a learning economy (2009). However, others are quick to point out that in order to incorporate neuroscience into marketing it is important to think about the limitations. The methods are scientific and the neuroscientists will be the ones to determine which questions can be answered within the limitations of the technology (Perrachione, 2008).
Why should researchers consider neuromarketing?
―Consumers will never, ever tell the truth. It‘s not because they‘re lying – because they‘re not – they‘re just unaware,‖ says Martin Lindstrom, author of Buy-ology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy (2008). Our brain works automatically, processing information without our direct awareness. This emotional processing takes place in parts of our brain that are secluded from our language center, which makes it difficult for us to articulate the real reason why we are making decisions (Marci, 2008). ―Eighty-five percent of decisions…are made in the nonconscious part of your brain,‖ says Martin Lindstrom (2008).
Neuromarketing seeks to ―bridge the gap‖ between customer surveys and qualitative research, and what consumers are really thinking. The article Neuroscience: A New Perspective by Graham Page, suggests that neuroscientific techniques have value to researchers in several instances including the following:
The following descriptions are taken from Neuroscience: A New Perspective,Graham Page, 2010:
 Sensitive Material: Qualitative and survey methods are most vulnerable to distortion when sensitive material is involved. Methods that don‘t rely on explicit questions can reveal unstated attitudes more effectively.
 Abstract or “higher order” ideas: Consumers may find it difficult to express some of the abstract ideas at the heart of some brands‘ positioning. Implicit association methods are useful to probe for ideas that participants might be too self-conscious to verbalize, or simply unable to articulate.
 A need to probe for transient responses to ads or brand experiences: Consumers are great at talking about the gist of an ad or brand, but they may not be able to explain how they got there. Eye-tracking and EEG can help researchers fill in the blanks by identifying the focus of attention and illustrating the highs and lows of emotional and cognitive response to a piece of creative.
 A need to understand consumers’ feelings: When questions are framed correctly, consumers can talk about their feelings in response to surveys and qualitative research. But neuroscience-based methods can an additional level of detail about the timing of these responses and their origins.
The following is an example of how neuromarketing can be used to answer difficult questions in the advertising world. As reported by Dr. Carl D. Marci, Director of Social Neuroscience at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in the article Minding the Gap: The Evolving Relationships Between Affective Neuroscience and Advertising Research, studies comparing sugared colas have eluded to the fact that brand preferences and emotional memories are stored in the same parts of the brain, areas that override the areas that deal with taste alone. He states that the results of this study provide evidence that there is a neurological basis for brand preference choices, and that neuroscience can help sort out the details. Other studies have tried to sort out the basis of personal preferences, the importance of context in advertisements, as well as the recall of advertising content (Marci, 2009).
What are the major issues surrounding neuroscience and marketing?
There are many critics regarding the application of neuroscience to marketing. Some of the extreme have introduced the idea that neuromarketing might lead to ―consumer zombies‖ who are influenced by ―hypereffective advertising campaigns‖ that have been crafted from the information provided from the studies (Senior, 2008). However, the fact is that consumers will still possess the power of their own free will, and that there are many other nontransparent tactics already in place, but it is not to say that this activity will not increase with the popularity of neuroscientific methods in research (Wilson, 2008).
Some are critical of the methods altogether. When a consumer is hooked up to machines and presented with a decision between products, or an advertisement they are in a completely different environment than they would be when it actually
counts. The things on a subjects mind when they are wired up to a machine are likely to be 100 percent different than then things on their mind in the middle of a grocery isle. These subconscious differences may influence their decision to go a different direction than identified under the scientific study (Miley, 2008).
Other issues surrounding the use of neuromarketing are those of ethics, which has been termed neuroethics for the purpose of the neuroscience community. Some of the factors that are being examined include subliminal advertising, manipulating consumer behavior without their knowledge, and ―seductiveness‖ of ads – can the consumer resist the temptation? Some researchers propose a ―code of ethics‖ for the neuromarketing industry, which could translate to the academic industry as well (Senior, 2008).
What factors need to be considered for a neuromarketing study to be successful?
It is important to remember that neuromarketing research is science. Marketers and those involved need to approach their goals with that in mind. Several factors need to be followed to assure that the research is carried out in a successful, truly scientific fashion (Senior, 2008).
First, appropriate studies need to be designed. ―All neuromarketing research needs to have a strong theoretical background with a clear experimental hypothesis,‖ say Carl Senior and Nick Lee in an editorial written for the Journal of Consumer Behavior (2008). It is important that neuromarketing studies are designed in this manner so that criticism of the validity of the experimental procedure can be avoided down the line (Senior, et al., 2008). The following are some of the factors that should be considered as methods are being put into practice:
First, the experimental team should pay special attention to who they decide to include in the study and how they are recruited. Each study as a specific niche – it‘s important that the subjects for that study fit into that niche. What is the variable of interest? Choose participants based on that. If it is a male interest variable, studying female participants is of no consequence (Senior, et al. 2008).
Second, projects should be reviewed by Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) before they are implemented. For legal purposes, a full appraisal of risks is needed from the appropriate authorities. And on that note, the researchers should practice discretion while creating their studies. An appropriate neuroethical system of values should be adopted and upheld throughout the research (Senior, et al., 2008).
The final thing that needs to be considered for a successful study lays in the hands of the marketing company. It is important to look for experience when seeking out a company to perform the research. Making sure the scientists involved are familiar with the limitations of the technology will make for a more successful outcome. They scientists should also be aware of how neuroscience can add the most value to a proposed question (Page, 2010).
What are the benefits for marketing and advertising?
According to Gemma Calvert, a professor of Applied Neuroimaging at Warwick University and co-founder of the neuromarketing consultancy Neurosense, neuroscience will save brands money, ―It‘s not a litmus test—it‘s a damn sight better, in terms of predictability, than other techniques (Page, 2010).‖ This thought is furthered in the article Neuroscience: A New Perspective. The author concludes that neuroscience research will soon become a standard tool in the marketing researcher‘s
tool kit. However, the learnings from neuroscience can only be used to their fullest potential when they are combined with the knowledge we gain from traditional sources like surveys, focus groups, and interviews. The trick is to use the right inference at the right time (Page, 2010).
Robin Wight, the chairman of The Engine Group, thinks about the benefits in a bit of a different fashion. He suggests neuroscience will transform how we assess marketing. ―The marketing industry has failed to get beyond the rational mind model of communication,‖ he says. ―We are not rational creatures; we are rationalizing creatures. If we are driven by our unconscious decisions, how misled is an ad that focuses on the conscious mind?‖ (Lovell, 2008).
The bottom line is that neuromarketing can offer insights into issues like distribution channels, pricing policy, ethical branding, etc., places that consumers have a hard time articulating an issue (Senior, et al., 2008). The following is an example from Martin Lindstrom, founder of a firm specializing in neuroscience (2008).
A stereo-equipment manufacturer had their customers rate the quality of their remote. Participants did not rate it favorably and they could not explain why. Martin‘s neuroscientific research revealed that there was activity in these participants‘ brains in the area associated with touch. This led them to the conclusion that the remote was too light – an associated quality of poor craftsmanship. After the remote‘s weight issue was addressed, customers began to rate the remote more favorably (Lindstrom, 2008).
What do the marketing agencies think?
There are varied opinions about the utility of neuroscience in marketing research. There are ethical issues, environmental consistency issues, interpretive issues, and methodological issues, but what do the people who work in the marketing and advertising industry think? Here are thoughts from three different individuals working in the agency world:
The following quotes are taken from Is Neuroscience Making a Difference?, Caroline Lovell, 2010:
―I love the concept of neuromarketing. However, there are a few tiny weeny issue-ettes that need considering. Conventional research is expensive enough. Having to stick to every respondent into an MRI scanner…might be pushing clients‘ budgets a little. Also, existing qualitative and quantitative methodologies can be criticized for using far from real-life conditions. But squeezing someone into a terrifyingly noisy plastic tube and forcing them to watch an ad is about as far from their sitting room as you can get.‖
Creative – Damion Collins, executive creative director, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
―I don‘t think it will massively revolutionize what we already know about human behavior. A lot of the companies that will use neuroscience are big companies that have a little imagination and hope it will magically provide consumer insights. But it‘s dangerous when used predicatively. Hooking people up to monitors treats them like laboratory rats. People have always looked for the Holy Grail to predict what will make people buy stuff but it has eluded us: selling stuff is an art rather than an absolute science. We reject advertising when it‘s pumped into our living room. Who is going to volunteer for it to be rammed into their brain?‖
Planner – Andy Nairn, executive planning director, Miles Calcraft Bringshaw Duffy
"Neuroscience is an absolutely intrinsic part of our planning process. Frankly, it sometimes confirms what we instinctively know, but I still think there‘s value. We thought there was something missing in the media
planning process in that when you think of the rationale for a media channel selection; a lot of it is about research, coverage and statistics. But it doesn‘t take into account the ability of a channel to stimulate and influence our brains. It sounds a bit Machiavellian and slightly scary but it is a totally sensible way to look at things. The danger is to turn it into too much of a science. People still need to think creatively about solving problems.‖
Media Planner – Jonathan Fowles, exectutive planning director, PHD Media
―Neuroscience will round up the picture rather than completely change the story,‖ says Graham Page, executive vice-president, Global Solutions, Millward Brown. Marketers and advertisers should use the neuroscientific research they have gathered in conjunction with other more-traditional methods of research, not in place of it. Neuroscientific nuggets should be reserved for the places that they will add value to the message (Page, 2010).
Many new papers and articles on neuromarketing are suggesting that marketing will be transformed, both in practice and in how we interpret the effectiveness of messages, but the truth is (according to account planner, Andy Narin in the quotes above) ―…selling stuff is an art, rather than an exact science.‖
Works Cited
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Miley, M. (2008, October 27). Ad experts not so quick to buy into ‗Buyology.‘ Advertising Age, 79(40), 4-5.
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