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March 29, 2004

Neuromarketing is being used on children 

Jennifer at Brand Mantra is having a great blog debate with various other bloggers about the virtues, application and ethics of neuromarketing. She writes,

When people misuse low-tech options, it's quite probable that they'll misuse newer high-tech options. I'm not averse to new technology; I am averse to making it available to users who don't often understand the basic principles... Few companies bother to actually initiate conversations with customers, build relationships with them, and involve them on the front end. Rather, they come up with some ideas while sitting around a conference table and decide to 'test' those ideas with customers. Hmm.

I couldnt agree more. Neuroscience has all the features of a classic "little marketing innovation boulder".. which back in December I stated were an outcome of the consummate failure of marketing to meet and understand the needs of a "new society of individuals" shaped by self-determination and unfilled, intangible wants. Today, there is a widening chasm between new forms of individual value and values on the one side and the corporates' "neo-con consumerist" objectives, behaviour and actions on the other - actions characterised by an "incremental tinkering" of, rather than a radical and discontinuous breakthrough in the means to identify, create, design and deliver "consumer" value.

This adaptive market incrementalism failure is generating the “innovation scree" that lies deep in the rift between commercial organisations and individuals. The marketing profession in particular is engaged in a constant and desperate search for the next breakthrough in efficiency and insight and as you'd expect - when all else fails, the last resort is to turn to science. For me, Neuroscience is just one very big boulder just waiting to "plop" off the side off the chasm on its long journey to the foothills of oblivion ...

Consider the following statement from Oxford-based Neurosense (or should that be Neurononsense)... at

Human brain imaging techniques have now reached a level of sophistication that make it possible to unravel many of the brain processes that contribute to perception, emotive evaluation, decision-making and behaviour. Understanding these processes is vital if we are to comprehend and predict how consumers will react to novel products, brands and advertisements. At Neurosense, we are committed to working closely with our clients to design and implement functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments that directly address such questions. The results of these studies are then fed back to the client in the form of deliverables - novel insights in to a marketing problem that are presently unobtainable from any other measures.

Yeah right. And please, is this an image of the future marketing department ....?


Funny, but I thought marketing was originally about matching, connecting, conversations, relationships, trust, shared values and mutual profit...

But the true horror of neuromarketing science is revealed in the following section taken from the Neurosense web-site:

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a safe, non-invasive technique that allows us to locate and quantify brain activity associated with thoughts, feelings and action. It can be used in children as well as adults and can be carried out rapidly (an experiment typically lasts only a few minutes and a whole session less than an hour).

Used in children? They are kidding? If true, that makes me absolutely sick with rage.. If this is being used on children then it should banned immediately - Now who agrees that Neuromarketing is a "good thing"...? Maybe we can all give this particular boulder one big shove....

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