The Advertised Mind: Ground-Breaking Insights into How Our Brains Respond to Advertising


* Draws on the very latest research into the workings of the human brain

In "The Advertised Mind," the author draws on information about the working of the human brain from psychologists, neurologists, and artificial intelligence specialists to suggest why "ad-liking" is such an important factor in establishing a firm memory of an advertisement and predisposing consumers to buy the brand that is being advertised.

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* Draws on the very latest research into the workings of the human brain

In "The Advertised Mind," the author draws on information about the working of the human brain from psychologists, neurologists, and artificial intelligence specialists to suggest why "ad-liking" is such an important factor in establishing a firm memory of an advertisement and predisposing consumers to buy the brand that is being advertised.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Of all the books I have reviewed for this column over the past two years, The Advertised Mind is certainly one of the most interesting... [Erik du Plessis] has carried out some intelligent research, drawn some valuable conclusions, and explained complex subject-matter without resorting to spin, posturing or unnecessary jargon. Highly recommended.
Fast Company
Recall and persuasion are today's primary measures of ad effectiveness. Du Plessis makes the case that emotion is actually the foundation of both, a major shift that he says today's advertisers are reluctant to accept. ... Go ahead and pick it up ... the book will give you a competitive advantage.
Readers' Choice June 2005
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Groundbreaking Insights Into How Our Brains Respond To Advertising
Exploring the latest scientific discoveries in brain research and advertising effectiveness, advertising researcher Erik du Plessis explains how the human brain processes advertising, and encourages readers to find new ways to apply the latest advertising research. The insights he arrives at include the concept that emotion is critical to advertising because it is critical to all human thought, and it helps determine the depth of mental processing that takes place.

The Advertised Mind begins by explaining that there has been a major shift in what neurologists understand about how we pay attention. Instead of simply looking at "higher intelligence," scientists are now looking at our most primitive and instinctive reactions. Du Plessis explains that the latest brain research indicates that there is a new paradigm that centers on the idea that emotion governs all our behavior, drives our unconscious reactions, and determines what becomes conscious. In other words, du Plessis writes, "Emotion feeds into, shapes and controls our conscious thought."

When we pay attention to something, such as advertising, we remember it, and it has a permanent impact on the contents of our brain. "And what we have paid attention to and remembered in the past, we are more likely to pay attention to in the future," du Plessis explains, "so attention and memory create a feedback system." He writes that the first task of an advertisement is to be noticed so that it can be remembered. "Since emotion plays a key role in the directing of our attention," he adds, "the task of the advertisement is to evoke emotion in us."

Du Plessis points out that emotions can be broken down into either negative or positive ones. Since we are all programmed to look for pleasurable emotions and reject negative emotions, he writes that the emotions an advertisement generates in us must be positive ones so we "like the advertisement."

Research and Science
After recounting the recent history of scientific research into the brain and the way it remembers, du Plessis describes the conclusions he has reached from the lessons taught by the most groundbreaking scientists. He suggests, "Emotion not only shapes our unconscious reactions to advertising; it also feeds into, shapes and controls our conscious thought about brands, products and services."

The second task of advertising, du Plessis writes, "is to ensure that it is remembered, and this is intimately tied in with how often we see it." It is not enough for an ad to be noticed and remembered, he explains, it must also "shape consumers' buying behavior, and in order to ensure that it does so, we need to pay attention both to the connection between the advertisement and the brand, and to the buying process, and the role of memory within it."

AdLiking and Confusion
The second half of The Advertised Mind focuses on how advertisements can be made that will not only attract attention, but will ensure that they are seen enough to be remembered and acted upon. According to research, the biggest danger for an advertisement is confusion. Advertisements that do not work either have trouble linking to the brand or create confusion. When there is confusion, du Plessis explains, viewers will just ignore the commercial. Confusion can be caused by too many scenes in an advertisement. Although high adliking is created by entertainment, empathy and relevant news, he writes, combining all three in a single commercial does not work because audiences get confused when entertainment and news are combined.

Adliking is as important in print advertising as it is in TV advertising, du Plessis points out. Research shows that a minimum of 2.75 seconds of attention are required for a print advertisement to have an impact on a viewer's memory. One model suggests that adliking is caused by such things as humor, characters, aspirational situations, and news that is relevant to the reader. Du Plessis argues that adliking is the core element on which advertisers should focus.

The Advertised Mind also points to the importance of research done by Herbert Krugman in the 1970s. Krugman argued that recognition is an emotional task that uses the right hemisphere of the brain, and recall is a logical task that uses the left hemisphere of the brain. Since print advertising tends to be logical, and TV advertising tends to be emotional in its appeal, recognition is the correct method to use for television, and recall is the correct measure for print. In The Advertised Mind, du Plessis takes this and other research into the 21st century with additional neuroscience and modern studies.

Why We Like This Book
The Advertised Mind adds a solid backbone of new science and research to all we know about advertising and how it can be made more effective. By detailing the most important and current findings in the field, du Plessis presents a fascinating look at the human brain and the ways it can be influenced by advertising. Copyright © 2005 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780749443665
  • Publisher: Kogan Page, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2005
  • Series: Kogan Page Series
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.67 (w) x 9.81 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Erik du Plessis is President of the Johannesburg-based research agency, Impact Information. Impact is now part of the Millward Brown Group, one of the world’s top 10 market research companies (owned by WPP) with 65 offices in 39 countries.

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Table of Contents

1 How advertisements work 6
2 Approaches to the human mind 21
3 Psychologists' models of learning and memory 25
4 The structure of the brain 33
5 Neurons : the building blocks of the brain 37
6 Learning and emotion 57
7 Arousal and consciousness 74
8 Emotion and reason 79
9 Incidental learning - and forgetting 95
10 From brains to advertisements 105
11 Why should avertising be researched? 108
12 It is getting more difficult to be memorable 113
13 Advertising, learning and memory 123
14 The attention continuum 136
15 What ad-liking means 144
16 Recognition, recall and persuasion 164
17 Advertisement memories and brand linkage 170
18 Exposing the consumer to the advertising : media strategy 180
19 Professor Ehrenberg and double jeopardy; or the effect of the brand on the advertising 193
20 The mental world of brands and the objective of advertising 201
21 'I told you so' 208
22 The emotional and the rational 211
App Choosing a copy testing methodology 220
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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2007

    A reviewer

    This treatise is designed for patient, methodical readers with a quest for insight. Erik Du Plessis is committed to explaining how advertisements work on consumers' consciousness, so he reviews existing research on advertising, and includes cognitive science's understanding of how the brain works on a chemical and cellular level. His research is accessible, since he often recaps and provides analogies that bring it to life, but some of the material remains dense and even obfuscates key points. Du Plessis' results are accurate but may seem self-defining &#8722 such as the idea that ads you like are ads you remember &#8722 and they can be difficult to apply. This is an impressive attempt to bring social science and neurological theory to bear on advertising. Given the intangible nature of creativity, a strong intuitive understanding of what makes advertisements likeable might help ad designers get more from this dissection. Of course, the industry also wants to know how it can reach a tech-oriented audience that records its favorite programs on TIVO and fast-forwards through the ads anyway. We find that this innovative book may be most useful for professionals in areas that involve a quantifiable, systematic approach, such as methods for determining how many ads to buy and how to allocate them across television outlets and other media.

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