Breakfast By Tiffany’s


This rather elegant yoghurt is part of a lovely exhibition by the artist and designer Peddy Mergui, Wheat Is Wheat Is Wheat. Mergui has taken commodity grocery items – yoghurt, baby food, canned goods – and rebranded them as luxury brands: Chanel, Apple, and, as here, Tiffany’s. What would a Tiffany’s Yoghurt look like? Now you know.

But this yoghurt also shows us something interesting about how our minds perceive packaging and brands. Continue reading

The Secret History Of Emotional Advertising

I’ve been reading the most recent book by emotional advertising theorist Robert Heath, Seducing The Subconscious. Heath is a giant figure for anyone who believes great advertising seduces, not persuades – his work on “low attention processing” kicked over a lot of tables back in the 00s, and this book is a fascinating dig into the science of emotional advertising.

But I was also really taken with its opening chapters, in which Heath reveals the hidden history of emotional ads – the pioneering thinkers and analysis who were pointing out over a hundred years ago that “persuasion” doesn’t do the job. Continue reading

System 1 Storytelling

Last week I was lucky enough to speak at the annual conference of the European Human Behaviour And Evolution Association (EHBEA). In amidst three days of groundbreaking work on disgust, attraction, development and cultural learning (to name a few), my daunting job was to come in from the other side of the academic-professional fence and chat about how we use science at BrainJuicer.

And use it we do. It’s in our business strapline, after all – “Turning human understanding into business advantage”. The human understanding there isn’t just the stuff we get ourselves from surveys, online communities, and other tools – it’s the giant strides forward in knowledge provided by psychology, behavioural economics, and decision science.

Using this stuff commercially is a big responsibility. You have to make it immediate, understandable and real for clients, but you also owe a debt to the science not to distort it even if you’re simplifying it.

So that’s what I talked about, and here’s a slide from the presentation, summarising up our approach on communicating new ideas.

seduction not persuasion

The way you communicate ideas has to appeal to System 1 – the ideas have to feel right. Even for complex and well-validated science, the key is seduction, not persuasion.

So what do you need? Continue reading

The Short And The Shorter Of It

Did you know we’re on Slideshare? Orlando Wood, MD of BrainJuicer Labs, did this marvellous summary of Les Binet and Peter Field’s “The Long And The Short Of It”, and we’ve put it up as a slideshare. It’s the most provocative and interesting points from the most important advertising study of the 2010s – in a very accessible form. Have a look!

Is Science Holding Creativity Back?

When an advertising legend speaks, you listen. But you don’t have to agree with everything. Sir John Hegarty, founder of BBH, spoke at the Global Marketing Conference in Sydney this week with some harsh words for marketers. In the middle of “an incredible period of time” for technology, Hegarty said, marketers have turned their backs on creativity and embraced mere process. “I’m convinced all you marketing people want it to be a science. If you could just make it a science it would make it so much easier, you could add it all up, get the equation right, go home and play golf.Continue reading

Baby Look At Me And Tell Me What You See

We talk a lot about fame at BrainJuicer. “Fame ads”, “famous marketing”, “making your brand famous”. At one point our FeelMore50 list of the most emotional ads was going to be named after Phemes, the classical Goddess of Fame. (Thank Susan, our CMO, for talking us out of that one!).

We apologise to our younger readers for the old reference, and to our older readers for the earworm.

We apologise to our younger readers for the old reference, and to our older readers for the earworm.

You might be surprised to learn that “fame” is a technical term. Well, sort of. We borrowed the word from Les Binet and Peter Field’s work analysing ad effectiveness, which also forms the basis for all our copy testing tools. Binet and Field looked at the stated aims of hundreds of campaigns, and then looked at the major business effects they managed to achieve.

This is a very useful approach. To be clear, most ad “effectiveness” data takes aims at face value. If an ad aims to improve brand image, and then brand image scores go up, it gets counted as a success. But of course, there’s no indication whether that helped cause any hard business effects – like share gain, profit gain, or a reduction in price elasticity.

So Binet and Field were asking: which aims are actually most effective? Which ones do end up moving those particular needles? Continue reading

Survive Or Thrive?

This is a very scaled-down summary of the talk BrainJuicer’s Will Headley and Greenpeace International’s Juliette Hauville gave at the MRS Impact 2014 conference in London. Huge thanks to Greenpeace for presenting with us – and for giving us such an interesting brief in the first place.


Spreading the word is a vital part of any NGO’s mission, and in the 2010s that means driving social media engagement – particularly on Facebook. Greenpeace International’s Facebook page is one of its most important assets and tools – BrainJuicer were asked to work with Greenpeace to understand the emotional impact of its page and how we might tweak it to get more interaction. Continue reading