New York Times’ Well blog asks:
Are young people addicted to feeling good about themselves?
What is the source of such a cynical lede/article set-up, you might ask.
University of Michigan scientists have determined that “when given the choice, young bright college students said they’d rather get a boost to their ego — like a compliment or a good grade on a paper — than eat a favorite food or engage in sex.”
I read this totally differently from the Times. Why are we being chastised for choosing something wholesome and long-lasting over something materialistic and ephemeral?
I can only imagine if the study had found students chose the food or the sex over the compliment or good grade: the headlines would scream, “College students prefer carb loading and hedonism to values and self-worth!”
The New York Times post then goes on to quote the rise of recent books such as “The Narcissism Trend,” which point to our apparently latent self-absorbsion.
As I see it, all this study does is affirm that Millennials have a different set of values from the Boomers who preceded them. We as a generation are not fixated on wealth or material status. And, if this study is to believed, not even the much-bem
oaned hook-up culture is affecting us when we are forced to decide between sex and something like a good grade or a compliment.
One day, we may look back fondly on either the high mark in school or an off-hand compliment from a friend. That shows some appreciation and perspective — a perspective which I feel like we’re constantly told we don’t have in this culture of easy connections on Facebook or Twitter. But apparently students are saying in this study that we do have that perspective.
Most surprisingly, somehow this article seems to ignore that (last I checked) it’s a good thing that students want to do well…in school. So why is it in any way negative that students chose to get a good grade in school over sex? Why is this negatively spun the way it is? Can someone help me understand, please!
A while back, a friend’s mom told me about a game she used to play with her friends and colleagues (she has a background in law and interactive media).
The premise of the game is that all advertising is rooted in one of two things: sex and fear. More on sex in a minute, her point about fear was that even if advertisements did not play on your explicit fear of, say, security, they would touch upon your fear of being an outsider when you didn’t know about the latest and greatest products.
The point of the game, however, centered around sex. She pointed out that you could use just about any jingle or slogan to promote Viagra, even phrases from otherwise unrelated products. My favorites were the adaptation of Men’s Warehouse: “You’re going to like the way you look, I guarantee it.” Or the use of Chevy’s ads, “Like a rock.”
It’s a fun game, but it drives home a point: advertising appeals to our base instincts, desires and thoughts.
Which is why I found this article on “neural advertising” in Time such a good read.
Researcher Martin Lindstrom monitors consumers when they are exposed to advertising; he checks brain activity, pupil dilation, sweat responses and flickers in facial muscles — all markers of emotion.
To figure out what most appeals to our ear, Lindstrom wired up his volunteers, then played them recordings of dozens of familiar sounds, from McDonald’s ubiquitous “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle to birds chirping and cigarettes being lit. The sound that blew the doors off all the rest–both in terms of interest and positive feelings–was a baby giggling. The other high-ranking sounds were less primal but still powerful. The hum of a vibrating cell phone was Lindstrom’s second-place finisher. Others that followed were an ATM dispensing cash, a steak sizzling on a grill and a soda being popped and poured.
Imagine, then, if companies go ahead with the talks Lindstrom is already having: European supermarkets piping the sound of percolating coffee or fizzing soda into the beverage department or that of a baby cooing into the baby-food aisle.
What would this mean for Web marketers? How could you drive home affinity to the same set of interests and needs online? Can you use the same hook (namely, sound) to draw in your audience without making the user feel as though s/he is being bombarded?