Advertisers' New Insight into the Brain

Erik du Plessis
Millward Brown

Recent new insights into how the human brain works are more than just a breakthrough: they involve a paradigm shift. It is tantamount to our having a new set of spectacles to understand the consumer, advertising and marketing, and to review the mass of data we hold.

However, we need to be careful not to confuse the availability of new technologies with which to see into the brain with the paradigm shift that is happening.

It is true that new scanning techniques allow us to peek into a functional human brain. It is also true that the two people (Joseph LeDoux and Antonio Damasio) most credited with the shifting paradigm about the role of emotions in the workings of our brains are neurologists. But their work is not derived from the new scanning abilities. It is totally coincidental that breakthroughs in scanning occurred at the time their theories about emotion were published.