Campbell’s Neuromarketing, and the Future of Advertising

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Delving into the brain can be an exciting and dangerous thing to do, depending on your motives. Marketing is one of those motives that can be debatable, making some uncomfortable with the fact that brands could be using neuroscience towards improving their advertising methods. Campbell’s is now one of those brands, seemingly turning to neuromarketing as a desperate option for increasing sales.

Campbell’s is already a very strong brand, having been around for decades. The brand’s soup can is iconic, and is even memorialized in our pop culture thanks to artist Andy Warhol. So why would a brand with such a legacy have trouble marketing its product?

Turns out, the emotional tie to Campbell’s is more effective than the soup can’s and advertisements alone. Marketing that Campbell’s has done in the past few years has been found to have no direct correlation to sales, meaning that the advertising needed to be changed in order to be of any use.

As traditional market research failed to produce any usable results, Campbell’s turned to neuromarketing. The past two years have been more promising for the soup maker, as neuromarketing has helped to pinpoint the emotional and physiological cues that go along with our association of Campbell’s the brand.

Measuring things like heart rate increase, certain brain activity and temperature and moisture changes, neuromarketing is able to tell a lot more about your responses to a particular brand than just answering a series of survey questions. The idea behind this type of research is to tap into the aspects of your unconscious in order to see the things you may not even recognize yourself.

The results have led Campbell’s to change things like the placement of its logo on the can, and color-coding different variations of its products to make them easier to recognize. The changes are likely to be good for Campbell’s, especially as they have done little to interfere with the familiarity of the brand itself. Yet it will be some time before Campbell’s knows just how effective or ineffective its changes have been when it comes to the relationship between its marketing efforts and the number of soup cans we buy.

Scary? Or the future of advertising

Several brands are taking to new market research methods, including Coca Cola, which has incorporated a new self-service vending machine that’s designed specifically for studying its consumer behavior. While Coca Cola isn’t using this particular process for neuromarketing, it’s clear that the need for more detailed information regarding an individual’s response to a brand is growing for companies that can afford such new age research techniques.

Even in the online industry, the matter of converting brand recognition into sales is an aspect of marketing that is still being explored. Changes made to the realm of online advertising may be able to change faster, and the incorporation of neuromarketing may even be easier to study when it comes to web-based campaigns. Yet the matter of how and why such marketing is being used will be something else entirely to consider in the coming waves of evolving advertising.

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