Sense of adventure makes us marketing targets
Scientists in London have found that we all possess the key brain region which acts on the same pleasure pathways that make drugs addictive. The region is activated when we choose unfamiliar options, suggesting that having an adventurous spirit and trying new things helped our ancestors to survive.
However, whilst rewarding the brain for making novel choices may prove advantageous in encouraging us to make potentially beneficial choices, it also means we become suckers for advertising.
Although the researchers cannot say definitively from the scans how novelty seeking is being rewarded, Dr Wittmann believes it is likely to be through the release of a messenger chemical called dopamine.
The Power of “New”
"Neuroscientists have now determined that the appeal of “new” is hard-wired into our brains. Novelty activates our brain’s reward center, which may have been an evolutionary advantage to our ancestors as they encountered new food sources or other elements of survival. Today, we are no longer hunters and gatherers, but the novelty-seeking circuitry is still active and makes us find new products (and even repackaged old products) attractive."
Brain scans also show that familiar brands cause higher levels of brain activation than unfamiliar ones. So, marketers need to steer a careful course - emphasize the novelty of their offering while still using the power of long-term brand affinity.
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