A technology originally developed to understand ADHD has been commercialised to help TV stations to get more advertising dollars and marketers to manipulate our brains more. Australia’s Channel Seven seems to be at the forefront of brainwave tracking with the Olympics literally providing a golden opportunity.
The modified technology tracks brain activity relating to the relationship between thinking and feeling states. Of particular interest to corporates is the link between the right brain (in particular emotions) and its correlating link to memory coding – an area inaccessible to traditional consumer research. Findings have, not surprisingly, shown that a stronger emotional disposition dramatically increases memory recall.
So, rather than making money just with selling advertising spots in prime-time TV programs, TV companies can charge more for program parts that strongly engage viewers on an emotional level by claiming stronger brand retainability; they now have the research to back up demand for higher premiums for so called telecast packages within program. In sports for example it was found that mini-programs such as brand-sponsored highlights or tally counts rate even more strongly on the memory recall scale than the live event itself.
Additional research has shown, conveniently for Channel Seven, that the Olympics engage younger people (aged under 40) in larger number that older audiences; younger people generally are very hard to engage full stop. In fact, the cumulative effect of higher brand salience through sponsor-backed telecast packages and advertising during the Olympics is 60 percent higher for advertiser brands than buying prime-time spots alone in a non-Olympic program.
So, Beijing is a dream for Channel Seven and Advertisers – at least this is what they hope. All they need are lots of Ozzies winning gold medals in nail biting competitions. Interesting how the successful competition of an athlete is indirectly being used to brainwash our consumer minds by filling their memory banks with brand identities.
In this context a small sidenote: so far it was not only corporates such as David Jones or Jetstar who have been using brain tracking technology to gauge second-by-second reactions to their TV advertising; the Howard government did it as well.