Monday, June 8, 2009

What are we afraid of? Everything. And That’s the Good News.

Yesterday, Christopher Leonard reported that people are so afraid of losing their jobs they’re taking on extra work without pay or complaint.

During the week of March 17, 2007, Hitwise reported that Google searches were focused on the following big fears: flying, intimacy, the dark, death, spiders, driving, love, god, success, and being alone. Just imagine how much more terrified we are now, two Wall-Street-bruised years later.

Fear also dictates what we buy .. which leads to the burgeoning art of neuromarketing, where science and sales intersect. Last October, Martin Lindstrom published Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. In a radio interview, Lindstrom told Leonard Lopate that 85% of all human decisions are taking place in the subconscious mind, which -- no surprise -- reeks of fear.

Scaremongering works really well in political discourse. “Commercials for politicians have been shown to work best when fear is the main topic," Lindstrom promises. In fact, “Fear is the main drive in our life.”

But what about sex as a consumer motivator? Lindstrom says no. “Sex is a major human behavior driver, yes, but [when sex is used in advertising] we become so over-whelmed in our brain by these images that we forget the brand!" (Note: When scantily clad imagery does work – like in the Calvin Klein commercials – Lindstrom says it’s mere controversy, not sex, that is selling the brand.)

Your assignment for today – should you choose to accept it [and you’d better accept it, if you know what's good for you..] is to scare somebody. And don’t worry. It should be pretty easy.

- Scrubbed by Marketing Brillo

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