Neuromarketing – the study of the brain’s responses to advertising was introduced by neuroscientist Read Montague in the October 2004 publication of Neuron. In that publication Montague showed how the medial prefrontal cortex — a part of the brain that controls higher thinking — would light up in brain imaging scans in different ways in response to marketing tests between Coke and Pepsi. But increased activity in the brain doesn’t necessarily mean increased preference for a brand or product. It mearly shows that different activity is taking place and further study is required to interpret the data.
What if, in addition to advertising content, a different mode of perceiving an advertisement was added? When humans engage stereopsis (seeing a single image with depth using two eyes) looking at a 3D photo for example, different brain activity is observed as compared to when a flat 2D image is presented.
When humans engage the stereopsis process I have observed that they perceive a realness to what they are looking at. Depending upon the content, they also demonstrate a strong emotional response unlike anything I have ever observed before. For example, at a 3D poster test at a Yankee Candle store in Deerfield, Massachusetts I observed people calling to other people to come and look at a sign announcing Santa’s arrival the following weekend. “Look at that picture, it looks like you can tug on Santa’s beard.”
I’ve never seen a regular poster generate that kind of behaviour. People would look at the poster and point and touch and engage it for minutes as compared to seconds for a regular poster.
I submit that the reason for the excitement wasn’t that the poster was 3D. The poster, while having multiple perspectives, didn’t jump out and grab people. It wasn’t bewilderment or anything overt. The excitement was over a level of realness that engaged as they looked at the poster. The poster depicted something they enjoyed looking at; Santa talking to a young girl with a cute expression. And they were rewarded by looking at it when they realized that they could perceive the poster in a real way. They could see and perceive the space between Santa and the girl and even the space between the hairs in Santa’s beard. Everything about the poster was depicted in a real way. The lighting, the size of the poster, the amount of depth, the level of detail and dozens of other elements were carefully crafted to make this poster as real as possible. This unexpected realness generated an emotional response that people were compelled to share with others and to prolong for an amazing amount of time.
The ramifications of these observations as it applies to advertising are considerable. For more information about our findings please contact us.