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Brain Sell -

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Brain Sell

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Advertisers have always wanted to get inside our heads and they claim to be getting closer than
ever to doing just that. Products and advertising campaigns built on breakthroughs in neuroscience
are already on the market, but Maryanne Demasi explores whether they're assisting the delivery of
products better suited to our wants, or hijacking our free will to buy what we need.

NARRATION

Advertising is everywhere. Marketers are being challenged to find new and innovative ways to make
their messages stand out. But do they really know what's cutting through? And how far will they go
to find out?

Dr Maryanne Demasi

Advertisers are now teaming up with neuroscientists for answers. They're using brain imaging
technology to literally look inside our heads.

NARRATION

In the hope of selling a brand or message, advertisers are turning to a new field called
neuro-marketing.

Dr Shane Moon

Neuro-marketing is actually giving us the first look at an objective measure of consumer responses
that isn't filtered from their more rational side of their brains.

NARRATION

Dr Moon is using electro-encephalograms, or EEGs, to measure the brain's electrical activity while
a subject watches a TV ad.

Dr Shane Moon

What we're doing is recording from multiple sites on the brain. We typically use forty to
sixty-four sites, and that captures a lot of the information across the brain.

NARRATION

They also record eye-tracking information, so they can see exactly which part of the screen the
subject is watching at any given time.

Dr Shane Moon

We're then able to go back and look at the eye-tracking overlaid with the specific ads, tied in
with the specific brain activity recording, to then feed back to our client. What we're seeing
here, Maryanne, is the recording from each of the electrode sites. And then what we're seeing here
is a, a brain model of the recordings so that we can actually then start to understand which areas
of the brain are being activated. Yellow is the stronger activation. Um, the darker the colours,
the less activation. That's what we want to see.

Dr Maryanne Demasi

So you can actually see in real time different parts of the brain firing up?

Dr Shane Moon

That's right. So as the, the movie plays along, you actually will be able to see the brain changing
as the EEG changes.

NARRATION

This process can reveal the parts of an ad that elicit the strongest emotional response. And that's
mainly what advertisers want to know.

Dr Shane Moon

If it's a concept ad, what parts of the concept are working, which parts aren't. And if it's a
finished ad, we can go back and say, 'you've wasted your money,' if it wasn't working, or 'good
job, your creative department has done a bang-on job.'

NARRATION

Advertising veteran Don Jeffery believes we needs to know what motivates someone to buy a product.

Don Jeffery

If we can capture and understand the emotions of the people that are buying a product, then our
advertising is going to be far more effective. And if we want to hold our market share, we've got
to put messages out there and convince people that they're doing the right thing buying our
client's product.

NARRATION

A new course dedicated to neuro-marketing is now being taught at the University of Melbourne.

Dr Philip Harris

By drawing on neuroscience-based tools, we hope to get a better understanding of different brain
regions that contribute to decisions, and that will improve our theories of how decisions are made.

NARRATION

Dr Philip Harris is particularly interested in knowing why people make impulsive decisions.

Dr Philip Harris

We conducted some functional magnetic resonance imaging research, and by doing that, we were able
to see which areas of the brain were actually involved in that decision-making process.

NARRATION

This research has broader implications for other choices we make in everyday life.

Dr Philip Harris

Addiction-related issues are very much drawn on these same processes. So my choice of whether I
will have that cigarette now or abstain and have a longer life, or whether I'll have that hamburger
or a healthy meal. It's that same basic process of choosing immediate reward versus something
that's better for me later on.

NARRATION

But does neuro-marketing raise ethical issues?

Dr Maryanne Demasi

In research, we have ethics committees to monitor these things, but in the commercial world, these
rules don't apply.

Professor Neil Levy

It might be used to give marketers information that we don't choose to give them. Then this could
be seen as an invasion of privacy. A far more serious ethical issue, to my mind, is the
manipulation of people's decisions. They are tempted by something, then you might be able to be
manipulated into giving in and then regretting it subsequently.

Don Jeffery

Shane and his team would be the only people that actually see the individual brain waves. We, we
wouldn't see that. So I don't see that as a problem at all.

Dr Shane Moon

I think it's important that people understand it is another tool. It's not going to replace focus
groups, it's not going to replace online research. It's just another one in the toolbox that people
need to be aware of. And depending on what they want to try to achieve, they can now use
neuro-market research.