Monday, March 24, 2008

creepy research re subliminal branding

A joint study from Duke University and the University of Waterloo suggests subliminal messages work for established brands like Apple and Disney.

One study gave 341 students a "visual acuity test," where they were asked to track a multicolored box on a screen while keeping a tally of numbers that appeared in the center, reports CNET.

Unbeknownst to them, the students were sometimes exposed to either an Apple logo or an IBM logo for 30 milliseconds before the box appeared.

After the test students were asked to list all the uses for a brick they could think of. Those who saw the Apple logo were more prone to give creative responses than those who saw the IBM logo.

Researchers also tried a test with logos from The Disney Channel and E!, a celebrity channel. Those that saw the Disney logo behaved more honestly than those who saw the E! Channel logos.

From Subliminal Branding Can Alter Behavior, Study Finds in MarketingVox


narthex said...

Oh branding can be such a sneaky thing. Did you ever think about the implications of looking at the back of any mirror polished iPod and seeing yourself and the Apple logo superimposed on your face?

bobcat rock said...

really interesting, if sometimes scary area to investigate. great article. (so great that i thought flagging it would be a good thing to do; little did i realise this actually meant "objectionable content". really hope i "unflagged" it successfully. i'll go now... promise not to touch anything on the way out...)

Jim said...

This seems suspect to me. I would find it of more value if the same person gave more creative responses when shown the apple logo than the IBM logo.

suttonhoo said...

jim: I hear ya. it's tough to establish a control for something like "creativity", let alone qualify it.

narthex: I hadn't, but you're absolutely right. and you reminded me of this »

bobcat: well gee thanks -- and if my google rank takes a nose dive I know who to blame. ;)

Aric Mayer said...

If we are more creative seeing the Apple logo for 30 milliseconds, imagine what sitting in front of it for 40 hours a week will do!

Seriously cool branding test.

narthex said...

suttonhoo: oh that photo link was too funny!

aric: ah, that is what is wrong with me. i have spent years being surrounded by the apple logo!

and then said...

i wonder what logo your sister has been exposed to, before writing her card?

Derek said...

very interesting research. kudos to disney and apple for being masters of the branding game.

in regards to disney, i can tell you that they didn't include anyone from socal in that study. disney isn't a good corporate neighbor. had we been included in the study, it might have a different result.

but disney is the master of all branding. they have it down to a science. need proof? two words: hannah montana.

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