The Loh Down On Science

Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes. Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh

Location, Location, Location

by The Loh Down On Science

Jack in the Box. Jack in the box. Jack in the box?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, and on advertising. We ignore it, sure, but marketers fight back.

Meet Stewart Shapiro. He’s a marketing professor at the University of Delaware. Shapiro studies how we absorb information like ads, even when we ignore them. He says repetition helps us remember ads, paying attention or not!

Shapiro recently examined something called “change blindness.” That’s when small changes happen in our surroundings, like someone moves the salt shaker. If we’re looking away, or if the change is tiny, we often don’t consciously notice. But our brains still catch it, and log the new information.

So Shapiro wondered: Can change blindness, combined with repetition, benefit advertisers?
To find out, he had volunteers watch a series of ads for one minute. Some ads repeated, but with the logo or products moved slightly.

Result? Volunteers showed a preference for the changed ads, even though they hadn’t consciously noticed the changes!

I would go on, but I'm suddenly hungry for KFC! Which used to be called Kentucky Fried Chicken. I think. I don't remember.

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena, California. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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