Daniel Mullensiefen

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to contribute to a panel discussion on the differences and respective strengths of art and science.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.