Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Too Much Monkey Business


Hi friends. After such an extended absence, I apologize that I’m about to make my return blog post about advertising to monkeys. Yes, a study is underway to determine whether capuchins respond to billboard ads.

In a field where so little of our research is experimental in design, what are the investigators aiming to accomplish with this study? It sounds like something from the Onion.

So a year ago when two New York ad execs learned – at a TED talk – that monkeys understand the concept of monetary value, they decided to embark upon the primate study. The idea is to determine if messages displayed outside their dwelling will have an effect on the captive monkeys. Monkey see, monkey do.

In essence are we, as members of the biological order Primates, innately responsive to advertising?

And what would the strategy be for such a study, you ask? Sex sells, of course. They are starting there. To sell these capuchins food, the brand A logo will be displayed with a photo of the female genitalia and another with a photo of an alpha male. Brand B will be the poor underfunded startup with no media buy in this study.

And why not? It works on us. If it works on the monkeys, it will beg the question: Perhaps we aren’t as evolved as we think? Food for thought.

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