Clio and Wave and The Littlest Hobo
It's Better to do Nothing than Not to do Anything

User Involved Content and the Taste of Brands

A campaign for Shreddies in Canada introduces the new diamond variant to consumers in real focus groups held in Toronto.

It's pretty funny - especially if you've ever done any qualitative research - and is another example of what J Vulkan dubbed User Involved Content while we were going through the Clio entries.

There has been a groundswell of real people captured on camera in ads - reality advertising if you like - abandoning high production values for the gritty authenticity of gonzo film making.

The Whopper Freakout works on a similar principle - hidden cameras capturing genuine people being deprived of their Whopper - as does the new Pizza Hut ad, where restaurant patrons are served Pizza Hut pasta.They claim to like it even more once they are told it was deliverd by Pizza Hut.

And, in the film above, one of the subjects expresses a taste preference for the diamond shape Shreddies.

Silly - it's the same!

Except: what if it's not?

I've been reading Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. It illustrates the fact, that we intuitively know but that classical economics refuses to accept, that we aren't rational beings. We make decisions that are seemingly irrational, in the same way over and over again, because of how our brains are hardwired: anchors and priming, emotions and social context all interact to change how we choose.

One of the things he highlights is the power of expectation to alter experience.  He describes a replication of the famous Coke/Pepsi taste tests, done with the subjects in an MRI to record how their brain is processing the experience of tasting the drinks.

We all know how it works - in blind taste tests, Pepsi usually wins, but when the brands are revealed, people prefer The Real Thing [TM].

And, according the experiment, it's because that the experience of consuming branded sugar water is different - the Coke brand activates different associations in the memory and emotional parts of the brain, which contribute to the consumption experience.

Which means that, when you drink a Coke, a part of what you are tasting is the brand.