Unit 5- Advertising

This unit lasts three weeks. In the third week all you do is attend a webinar; no work required.

Week 9 - History of advertising

Week 10 - Neuro-marketing

Week 11 - Guest presentation by Carrie Perry about the past, present and future of


Week 9- How do marketers view consumer psychology?

Essential questions:
How do advertisers, product developers, and basically anyone who wants to sell us something see us? What are some of the psychological fundamentals of the human mind as seen through the lens of the advertising world?

Special guest presentation: Carrie Perry, who has been teaching about advertising for many years, will present a GoTo Meeting webinar about the history and psychology of advertising. Here are links to the documents she used the last time she presented to this class:
The links above allow you to view the documents on screen. If you want to download them, the easiest way to do so is to go to the Docs and articles section of this site, and download the specific documents you want.


To prepare for Carrie Perry's presentation, here is some overview information. Let me begin this unit with some personal thoughts.

Every media psychologist has a theory (or two) about how advertising works. I’m no different. I will boil these down to a single point that is depicted in the graphic here: "The goal is to pierce the judgmental mind while simultaneously feeding it."

Pierce the judgmental mind, while simultaneously feeding it. The theory goes like this: we buy based on our feelings, but we also want to be provided enough information about something we buy so that we could justify our purchase to someone else. So, we buy an Escalade because we connect with the power and domination it presents, but we tell ourselves and others about its safety record and aesthetics, and maybe even its reasonable gas mileage, giving all the metal it hauls around.

From here, let's look at  a belief that guides most media persuaders:

We are simple machines when it comes to being persuaded, largely because our emotions reduce us to gut reaction. Marketers tend to see us in very simple terms. To them we are simple machines. People would rather not think. They are already overwhelmed with things to think about. So, they are ready to be told what to do. Besides, is it really possible to conduct a detailed analysis of every product you want to purchase? So, we relax, and let advertisers pierce our neo-cortex and tell us what to do. It is simply easier to do so.

How Jack Trout sees us. The book The New Positioning by Jack Trout makes this case very well. His book is widely considered to be an influential consumer psychology reference manual for marketers. In it, Trout says there are six rules about the consumer mind:

  1. Minds can’t cope
  2. Minds are limited
  3. Minds hate confusion
  4. Minds are insecure
  5. Minds don’t change
  6. Minds can lose focus
From this, we can conclude that people want to be told what to buy (because they can't cope with insecurity and confusion, and have limited ability to focus), want to feel good about it (because they don't like feeling insecure), and want to buy what they already know they want (because minds don't change). So, advertisers need to give consumers what they think they want, and do so clearly in a way that makes them feel secure about their purchase. Are we this simple?

From a more technical point of view...

So, how does this happen?  That is, regardless of how advertisers view us, how do they work their magic?

“Eyeballs on product.” I heard Dr. Isbouts use this to describe what media sponsors were looking for when considering whether they wanted to finance a media project. I am sure if he were involved with a radio project, he would have said ears on product (or inner images, the kind we create when we listen to radio, on product). The goal here is clear: audience members can’t buy something they don’t know about. Eyeballs on product solves that problem. It is another way of saying “awareness.”  From there, sellers hope audience members develop curiosity that leads to identifying need fulfillment, which leads to purchasing.

Some times there is another step involved: need identification. That is, sometimes consumers need to be told that something is a problem, like body odor, or the need for individualized cell phone plans within one family, or the need for continuous GPS connectivity in a car. Then, having convinced a purchasing public of this need, they step forward with a way to fulfill it.

The need for “eyeballs on product” has been true ever since humans have tried to sell things to each other. It is not unlike "location, location, location" as a mantra about where to locate a storefront. What has changed are the means and methods of putting eyeballs on product.

In the days of mass media v 1.0 (broadcast mass media), a good deal of advertising was broadcast advertising. That is, you shoot a scatter shot message into the crowd and hope you hit someone who cares. Gillette would advertise during a football game because guys watch football, and guys shave. Soap operas, so named because they were funded by detergent companies, advertised things they thought homemakers wanted, because they figured that's who was watching their show. These are best guesses, using the scatter shot approach.

The many kinds of marketing

However, as the technology changed, approaches to product awareness changed. In all cases, the goal was to link producers and consumers more intelligently and directly. Here are just a few ways that happens.

  • Niche marketing evolved as we realized we could gather statistics about which specific demographics watch particular TV shows, listen to particular radio stations or read certain magazines and newspapers. So, advertisers would advertise to just a particular segment of the population. No sense selling dish soap to teenage boys.
  • Search-based advertising is what we are all familiar with on Google. We search for "Hawaii" and up comes paid ads on the right hand side of your screen that have only to do with Hawaii vacations. You told the advertisers what you wanted, and they sent that information only to you, or anyone else issuing the same search. Based on what the web already knows about you, it might even know that you have a price range you are working within, or a time of year you typically like to go, as well as a specific Island in Hawaii you like to visit. The Web has learned this from previous searches, from surveys you have filled out, and so on.
  • Push advertising is niche marketing and search-based advertising on steroids. Because the web knows you like vacationing in Hawaii it can send you a notice about a special airfare deal to Hawaii, even if you didn't search for it or otherwise ask for it. It pushed the ad to you.
  • Social marketing occurs when friends introduce you to products because you ask them what airlines you use when you go to Hawaii. This happens face-to-face, via Facebook on a listserv - any number of ways. But essentially you and your friends and acquaintances become the advertisers. Recommendations from friends is a very powerful marketing tool. It always has been. That is why so many people are struggling to understand the advertising potential of Facebook. After all, Facebook greatly increases the number of people in your life that you might consider to be friends, and thus increases your potential input sources greatly.
  • Analyzing our digital footprint - the world of big data. It is no secret that Google and Facebook read your mail or postings, analyze what they find, and provide you commercial options, often on the right hand side of your screen. Their analysis techniques - often called predictive analytics - are getting more and more sophisticated. Consider this recent addition to big data analysis. "Companies like Lenddo and Kreditech are now fully equipped to screen loan applicants through their social networking accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. They keep a critical eye on the people you interact with online, and if any of your social circles are inhabited by delinquent debt payers, your credit score is significantly affected." More here.
  • Neuromarketing occurs when we take specific measures of brain responses to experiences and use these to derive conclusions about what consumers will respond to in media messages, and hopefully in purchasing decisions.

Whatever process you use, the goal is always the same: Eyeballs (or ears) on product. Again, it is not unlike “location, location, location,” except that it happens electronically by bringing the location to you.

Primary viewings: (Family reminder: Watch this with friends and family!)
"...Dr Aleks Krotoski continues her investigation of how the World Wide Web is transforming almost every aspect of our lives. She gives the lowdown on how, for better and for worse, commerce has colonised the web - and reveals how web users are paying for what appear to be 'free' sites and services in hidden ways.

Joined by some of the most influential business leaders of today's web, including Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon), Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google), Chad Hurley (CEO of YouTube), Bill Gates, Martha Lane Fox and Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix), Aleks traces how business, with varying degrees of success, has attempted to make money on the web.

...Aleks explores how web advertising is evolving further to become more targeted and relevant to individual consumers. Recommendation engines, pioneered by retailers such as Amazon, are also breaking down the barriers between commerce and consumer by marketing future purchases to us based on our previous choices."
  • Rapaille and Luntz via the Frontline documentary, The Persuaders. We will hear about consumer psychology from two of the most successful marketing consultants in the business: Clotaire Rapaille and Frank Luntz.
The way the Persuaders is presented on the PBS site, it is separated into chapters. You are going to watch parts of Chapter 4 and Chapter 5.   You only need to watch specific segments of this video, though you are certainly encouraged to watch the entire documentary:
    • The work of Rapaille, from 1:39 to 9:32 of the 4th chapter. This link takes you directly to Chapter 4. Then fast forward to 1:39. Rapaille takes you step by step through his branding process.
    • The work of Frank Luntz. This is found in Chapter 5. You only need to watch the first 10 minutes or so. Luntz shows you how he understands the consumer mind, and uses that understanding to change public opinion, in very practical terms.
If you are interested in the entire video, then click here to gain access to all the chapters. It is well worth the time to watch it. Also, the transcript is for the entire video is available.
  • Cool Hunting via the Frontline documentary, Merchants of Cool. Again, you are only required to watch part of the video, in this case Chapter 1 about how marketers "hunt for cool" to lead trends in teenage purchasing. This link takes you to the chapter on cool hunting. Watch the entire 10 minutes. You don't need to watch the other chapters of the video, but I recommend it- this is a fascinating documentary.
Web resources to consider:

It is not required that you visit any of these resources. They are provided because they provide insight into particular topics in this area of inquiry:

Discuss: Please discuss the following questions in our Moodle forum:

Primary questions:
  • Based on your activities this week, how do you think advertisers view consumers? Why?
  • How has what you have learned this week impact your work as a media psychologist?
Secondary questions:
  • If you are selling something - perhaps an idea, product or non-profit service that benefits society, which techniques and perspectives would you employ to do so?
  • Does the goal justify the means you use?

e-Portfolio posting:

  • None due this week
Other resources

If you subscribe to RSS feeds, consider this one:

  • AdWeek. This puts you in touch with an advertising resource with a very wide audience. As always, just browse what you receive.


Week 10 - Neilsen and Neuromarketing

More information as it becomes available.


Week 11- Neuro marketing

Essential question(s):
What is neuro-marketing? What is its future?

Overview: Christophe Morin, a leader in neuromarketing and a Fielding student, will either speak to us directly, or we will watch a video of his previous presentation to this class.


Neuromarketing is exactly what it sounds like: using advanced neurological understanding to enhance marketing effectiveness.

The work of Christoph Morin

Christoph is a student in the Media Psychology program at Fielding, and a leader in the field of neuromarketing. He will be joining us on Webex on at a time to be determined.

Primary sites to visit:

Visit Salesbrain

We begin this week by scouring the Christoph's web materials, created by one of the leading neuromarketing firms: Sal

rain. Go to the main page for Salesbrain. On the top horizontal menu select "View the Neuromap." Clicking on it will produce the menu that you see to the right. Read through all the options. Pay particular attention to the first one, "The Three Brains." Of particular interest is that ancient part of us that persists, despite our attempts to civilize it, and that responds to carefully crafted advertising. The other options - particularly 6 stimuli, The 4 Steps - will fill in some gaps about how a neuromarketing firm views us as potential consumers.

Primary reading(s):

Next, please read Christoph's paper, Neuromarketing and ethics: a call for more attention and action to raise standards

Primary viewing(s):

Watch Christoph Morin of Salesbrain. This recording does a good job of summarizing his work and the work of his company.

Got extra time?

Also visit, if you have time

Poke around Mindlab.org. From their website: "The M.I.N.D. Labs are a networked consortium of ten labs located in seven countries spanning universities in the United States and Europe. The labs conduct research in human-computer interaction, communication, and virtual environment design. For a summary of the activities at individual labs, choose from the drop-down menu in the top navigation bar."

Consider reading, if you have time

The Political Brain by Drew Westen, which focuses on a very specific application of what we learn from Rapaille, Luntz and Morin: How to get people to vote in particular ways.

Additional materials, if you have time

I have suggested some viewings on the topic of neuromarketing. These are basically ads, thus, I do not claim to vouch for their authenticity.

However, of this I am very certain: it is inevitable that we will marry neurobiology, neuropsychology and advertising. When we do, marketers will know exactly what we like, how we like it and when we like it. So, imagine playing the Technology Innovation Game and combining, for example, Facebook and Neuromarketing, with a goal of increasing sales of Facebook T-shirts (I'm not sure these exist) or column ads.

That is, what happens when biology intersects with buyology? It is a little staggering to think about.

Watch the following, if you have time

  • Brain-Scan Testing of Political Ads - Buyology. From the website: "NEW YORK (YouTube.com/AdAge) -- U.S. politicians and the marketing agencies that serve them are keenly interested in using neuromarketing techniques in their election advertising campaigns. That's one of the points that comes out of the Martin Lindstrom's new Doubleday book, "Buy-ology." The book is actually a report on the globe-trotting marketing consultant's three-year, multi-million dollar research project that exposed 2,000 consumers to branding materials while scanning their brains."
  • Secrets of the Superbrands." Alex Riley, in his documentary, "set out to figure out "how (the world's most powerful technology) brands - such as Apple, Microsoft and Google - have grown so explosively to become some of the world's biggest companies." (Note- last time I tried to watch it, I was unable to.)

Also read, if you have time


Week 11 - Special webinar on the future and psychology of advertising by Carrie Perry