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    Frankenmetrics: Neuromarketing and the Really Cool End of Privacy

Frankenmetrics: Neuromarketing and the Really Cool End of Privacy

For all their intrusiveness, companies like Facebook really don’t want to hurt us. They want to sell us stuff. And for that reason, we tolerate the cognitive dissonance created by our love for technology and our desire for privacy.

So, it is with the mixed emotions all of us share about such matters that I say, “Facebook studied our neurological patterns and they found out some really cool stuff.”

Chief among the findings was for all our handwringing about dwindling screen sizes, it turns out people are more focused on their mobile screens than their television screens, not less. Equally important, it seems we trust that small screen more, as well. What that means for, say, politicians or the producers of YouTube cat videos is that the advent of mobile has not resulted in a qualitative loss in terms of the ability to communicate with video.

Facebook commissioned the neurological study (basically studying how your body responds to different stimuli) to answer the burning question on every marketer’s mind, namely, “If you keep making screens smaller, will we still be able to sell stuff?” Now, granted, when the government does these kinds of studies, it’s a lot creepier.   Corporations get that, which explains why companies like Facebook and Google hate to see their names linked to government data collection.

This study was done by SalesBrain, itself the brainchild of Christophe Morin and Patrick Renvoisé. Renvoisé’s bio humbly states that he “discovered the buy button inside the brain” which, just for the record, I’m not sure I buy. In any case, the study itself is fascinating in the way watching one’s own autopsy would be fascinating. The “them “of the study is us. And yes, we do act and […]

The Music of the Night

Stay with me.  I’m going somewhere with this.

I cannot exactly remember the first moment I looked over the audio engineer’s shoulder and saw a human voice digitally displayed in all its mathematical splendor, I just know that my world changed that day.  Pro Tools was launched in 1991, the prodigy child of Evan Brooks’ 1984 Sound Designer.  Sure, it was four tracks and $6,000, but it was a ticket to a new world.

As a young boy, I watched the piano tuner come to our house with his tuning fork, and well-trained ear.  That tuning fork resonated at 440 Hz, basically the A above Middle C on your piano.  Not important, right?  Right, unless you’re a piano tuner…or any other human being.

Most of us have a vague idea that music is related to math.  It has scales, meter, rhythm, etc., but the fact that sound is a mechanical wave, basically an oscillation of pressure, means not only is music all about math, but it turns out math is all about music.

When that mechanical wave gets pushed through a medium like air or water, we hear the resulting sound.  Now, if that wave is going through something smooth, like a train whistle, the sound is constant and shrill. But add a few holes that you can open and close, and you’ve got a flute or a clarinet, or a valved trumpet, and suddenly it gets interesting.  Then, that wave passes through the incredible array of human vocal cords, producing sounds of enormous complexity, that can beckon, agitate, soothe or awe.

Silently hold down the G key above Middle C on a piano, and then sharply strike the C key an octave below Middle C. What you clearly […]

Zombies in San Diego Mayoral Bid

White House correspondent John Gizzi weighs in on San Diego Zombie ad:

Democrat David Alvarez unexpectedly placed second in Tuesday’s mayoral contest, knocking out a candidate long considered a cinch to be one of the top vote-getters, and will join Republican Kevin Faulconer in a run-off early next year.

Although many point to Alvarez’s support from key union leaders for his advancing past former state legislator Nathan Fletcher, who had placed second in nearly every poll, other observers in San Diego credit anti-Fletcher TV spots that featured zombies.

That’s right. Zombies.

The mindless creatures featured in horror productions, from George Romero’s 1968 cult classic “Night of the Living Dead” to the current hit AMC TV series “Walking Dead,” were unleashed in independent commercials underscoring Fletcher’s change of positions as he continually changed party affiliations, switching in earlier races from Republican to independent to Democrat.

“Nathan Fletcher courted the tea party with anti-immigrant rhetoric, but then he switched his principles when he ran for mayor,” said the narration to the ad, as a hoard of zombies lumber Frankenstein-style at dusk.

“He bashed labor unions and supported pension reform, but then he switched his principles again. Now he’s against pension reform and supports spending billions – but wait! He’s switching again!”

Finally, an exasperated zombie declares: “This guy keeps switching his principles – on every issue! I can’t keep mindlessly following Nathan Fletcher! And I’m mindless!”

The commercials were paid for by an independent expenditure known as “Zombies for Responsible Government.” They began airing online on, appropriately, on Halloween.

“We only spent $1,800 on pre-roll ads on Youtube to launch it, but once Twitter lit it up, the paid media was practically irrelevant,” explained veteran California media maestro Wayne Johnson. “The real definition of virality […]

Coming This Friday: TV That Watches You

How Xbox One Beat Cable to the Punch and Will Change Political Advertising Forever.
The new generation of Kinect technology in Xbox One can distinguish up to six voices in a room, respond to voice commands, read skeletal movement, muscle force, whether people are looking at or away from the TV and even their heart rates, Mehdi said. The latter happens as the camera detects slight changes in skin tone related to dilation of a blood vessel in the eyeball that responds to heart rate, Mr. Mehdi said.

                                                                                                                Advertising Age

                                                                                                                10/5/2013                           
Seven years ago, I was invited to address the executives of one of the nation’s largest cable companies.  I challenged them to abandon their focus on competing with broadcast, and to exploit their natural advantage – set-box targeting.  At the time, they were drilling yet another dry hole in the frozen tundra of cluster group marketing, the erroneous notion that people who live near one another think alike.  Oh sure, there may be more Republicans than Democrats, or more liberals than conservatives in a given geographic pocket, but that’s descriptive, not prescriptive information.  Targeting based on such assumptions is highly dangerous in a political campaign, where voter behavior is as likely to be influenced by a negative perception as a positive one.   Show the wrong ad to the wrong people and it’s not just a waste.  You actually lose votes.  Elections are a zero sum game.  Those you alienate matter, because, in politics, 49% market share is called losing.

Let me put it another way.  Which mailing would have the greater impact, sending a National Right to Life endorsement of a candidate to a list of pro-life […]