Play It By Ear: What Sounds Make You Want to Buy More?

August 8, 2012

A baby’s laugh.  A steak sizzling.  How about the sound of a soda being cracked open and poured into a glass? These are among the most powerful audio triggers that capture your attention in commercials, according to marketing expert Martin Lindstrom.  In his new, best selling book Buy-ology, Lindstrom exposes tricks of the advertising trade that get you, the consumer, to buy more.

TIME Magazine recently profiled Lindstrom and his “neural marketing” research, which he uses to help Fortune 500 companies, like Pepsi and Disney, attract customers.  It’s a scientific way to measure consumer reaction to advertising. People are exposed to ads while hooked up to machines that monitor brain activity, pupil dilation, sweat responses and flickers in facial muscles, all of which are markers of emotion.

The technology is based on a concept that suggests the majority of human thinking takes place just below the level of controlled awareness. Turns out, what we hear can be just as powerful as what we see.  For a more in-depth analysis from Lindstrom about the techniques he employes, watch the video above.

Proponents of this theory believe that this lower level of recognition is where the human brain makes determinations on what’s favorable and what isn’t. Therefore, marketing agencies spend millions of dollars in research to determine what sounds evoke pleasant thoughts, such as the sound of a baby laughing or a steak sizzling on the grill. It’s believed that hearing these types of sounds will help you remember a certain product in a pleasing way when you are shopping.

If the sound of all this trickery makes you feel curious, click here, for the full report on neural advertising in TIME Magazine.