Study: Advertising Plants Memories Of Experiences We Never Had

imagery-adOn the bright side, is it really such a bad thing to be implanted with false memories of, say, dancing with smiling, multicultural nu-ravers while drinking a refreshing Pepsi? Partial Objects explains:

A newly published study by two marketing professors suggests that advertising can create memories of experiences that never happened, simply by including sufficiently evocative imagery and descriptions in the ad:

Exposure to an imagery-evoking ad can increase the likelihood that consumer mistakenly believes that s/he has experience with the advertised product when in fact s/he does not. Moreover such a false belief produces attitudes that are as strong as attitudes based on true beliefs based on previous product experience, an effect that we label the false experience effect.

Advertising has always been an appeal to a fantasy, and this study seems to suggest that if the ad is created just right, that fantasy can be in the form of a desire to return to a previous wonderful experience (even if the previous experience never actually happened.) But this finding suggests something a bit more insidious. If you can fool people into thinking they once experienced something that they never did with just an elaborate text description, imagine what you can do with a whole newspaper and 24-7 cable news.

Let’s face it, if Baudrillard was right and our postmodern existence is little more than a simulation, it should not surprise us that our memories have become re-writable and random access.

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  • SF2K01

    Well that’s part of the excitement of imagination now isn’t it? We enjoy good stories partially because we like to imagine ourselves as having done that or been there. We enjoy creating memories of things you haven’t or never will experience. Advertising merely tries to utilize this ability and tries to create an attachment to their product.

  • Anonymous

    Well that’s part of the excitement of imagination now isn’t it? We enjoy good stories partially because we like to imagine ourselves as having done that or been there. We enjoy creating memories of things you haven’t or never will experience. Advertising merely tries to utilize this ability and tries to create an attachment to their product.