Daniel Mullensiefen

03 June 2011 A couple of weeks ago I was invited to contribute to a panel discussion on the differences and respective strengths of art and science. The discussion itself wasn’t overly exciting but it made me, as DDB’s Scientist in Residence, think about where on the spectrum between arts and science advertising actually sits.
12 April 2011 If a new book with a subtitle such as ‘The Secret Lives of the Brain’ is launched to an   advertising and marketing audience I can feel an involuntary and almost visceral scepticism reflex running through my body. Great, another book out there that tries to capitalise on the current hype around modern neuroscience and the commercial world. And my suspicion is that the author will again use very flowery and metaphorical language to interpret bits of neuroscience that will fit a particular marketing philosophy. Many have done so before and the role of metaphor in these types of publications is either to simplify scientific concepts to a level where the presumed readership is able and willing to follow or to disguise the fact that the author is lacking a thorough understanding of the original research himself (the culprits shall remain anonymous here).  
29 March 2011 Neuroscience is undoubtedly the hottest topic in advertising research at the moment. It generates high hopes for understanding consumer behaviour from a completely new perspective. From reading the brain’s activity, can you find out what really drives choices and consumer preferences beyond what people are able and willing to tell you on a questionnaire and in focus groups? Can brain imaging even reveal hidden desires and covert mechanisms that consumer themselves are not aware of? In sum, can neuroscience give us access to what people really think and feel?
01 February 2011 I started with DDB as Scientist in Residence last September and ever since I've tried to sell myself as an 'all-purpose scientist', versed in psychology, computer science, and neuroscience to the DDB planners and account management department. I'm not sure how successful that was because my strong background in music research keeps coming out from under the rug! The DDBers keep coming back to me with projects and ideas - most of which have a music angle of some kind.
08 December 2010 Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} Even if you limit your reading these days to Stieg Larsson, the free newspapers on the underground, and the trade press you probably have come across a few scientific concepts that many advertisers get very excited about: Mirror neurons, social neuroscience, and theory of mind. Understanding how these social systems in the human brain work and how we use them to make sense of our social environment might hold the secrets for triggering empathy in people, for evoking emotions in ad viewers and ultimately how to create more effective campaigns. If only the bloody science behind these things wasn’t so complicated and one knew where to start in understanding them!
05 November 2010 What happens if you let loose a few brilliant Masters students to find empirical answers to some of the ad industry's most burning questions? Maybe you get nothing -but maybe some of them come back to you with answers that whilst may not be the holy grail in advertising but nagging enough to question some of the ways the industry is currently thinking. This is just the experiment that I'm currently setting up between DDB UK and my psychology department at Goldsmiths, University of London.
06 October 2010 I recently started as scientist in residence (SiR - the acronym is worth the title!) with DDB. According to the people who have done the research, this is apparently the first time an advertising agency has ever appointed a scientist to work with planners and account managers in-house. So, this is certainly as new to DDB as it is to the advertising world in general (and honestly, it is quite new to me as well). I'll be around roughly a day per week at the DDB UK office in Paddington, London, working with their staff in very different ways, from scientific consultancy for specific campaigns and TV ads to training workshops for their staff and clients. There is a huge interest and demand for understanding how our minds work and how this understanding can be used to create more effective campaigns.