When I was young-er, I used Band-Aids frequently. Much like duct tape they have multiple uses. Children wear bandages for healing and grand theft decoration; ultimately to feel better. This is because bandages are associated with the relief of pain. Sure, it may be plain fun for a second grader to stick Disney Band-Aids all over his or her forehead, but I think its deeper than that. I say this while considering that several short years ago I was taking every opportunity to obnoxiously request a bandage in order to heal minor scratches, some of which not producing any blood. Even as kids rip the dora-the-explorer-branded plastic from their faces they feel better inside because they have related the bandages to comfort.
I realized this concept while listening to an Anthony Robbins CD in the car with my dad, who owns a seemingly endless collection of them. The idea of the CD was to practice self-help by changing neurological associations. To make a short story long, the brain carries emotions that were created from previous experiences and applies them to specific things. An example would be if you become nervous when you see flashing lights. It is possible you have been pulled over before and the emotions you felt while being questioned now reside in each police car you pass. Robbins spoke of how this relates to advertising and my interest perked up further.
He said that neurological associations can be changed or created fairly easily. Apparently some advertisers have known this for years. He focused on the cigarette industry especially and you can see why in the video embedded above. The human body understands that cigarettes are unhealthy hence the coughing during your early days of smoking. So cigarette advertisers faced a difficult problem; they needed to convince the public that positive events and emotions would generate from the product. They succeeded phenomenally. In this particular ad the viewer is confronted with a pleasant environment. The couple is exceptionally happy to be spending time with each-other and anyone who is passionate about an individual or the outdoors is getting excited right about now. Then they nail you with the brand name. With a little repetition you’ll associate fresh air, love, happiness, and excitement to Salem Cigarettes. (Much like the Pavlov dog food experiments.)
I can’t help but wonder if this is fair. I assume most people would say it is not for harmful things like cigarettes, but can it hurt if you relate happiness to a certain dishwasher brand? In my opinion, it is troubling that brief commercials have the ability to alter neurological associations, or in other words, the way I think. What is certain is that if this type of advertising is practiced correctly, it is extremely effective.
take a picture,