Get ready for neuromarketing: Advertising just got creepier

Summary:NeuroFocus is touting the next frontier of advertising: Neuromarketing. And you thought something as mundane as Web cookies were creepy.

NeuroFocus is touting the next frontier of advertising: Neuromarketing. And you thought something as mundane as Web cookies were creepy.

This gadget, dubbed the Mynd, looks like your typical EEG headset, but this one is designed to monitor consumers' "deep subconscious responses" to gauge the reaction to advertising and other media content.

As I wrote a post on NeuroFocus’ Mynd on Smart Planet I kept going back and forth between being intrigued by the analytics and creeped out. I think creeped out won. The Mynd, a wireless headset that captures brainwave activity across the entire brain, launched at the Advertising Research Foundation conference in New York.

I can see advertising folks drooling now. The aim for Mynd is to capture real responses from consumers who would participate in home panels. Mynd would send data to a mobile device that would capture reactions.

Among the key details:

  • Mynd has dense-array medical grade electroencephalographic (EEG) sensors.
  • The device captures brainwave activity across the full cortex and can connect to mobile devices via Bluetooth.
  • The sensors are dry so there are no gels to burden consumers.
  • Mynd has been in testing and development for three years and will roll out to labs in the U.S., Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East.

Dr. A. K. Pradeep, CEO of NeuroFocus, said Mynd can enable "neuromarketing" to gain "critical knowledge and insights into how consumers perceive their brands, products, packaging, in-store marketing, and advertising at the deep subconscious level in real time."

For advertisers, Mynd holds the Holy Grail---knowing what consumers really think about your marketing instead of just what they tell you. In theory, consumers could wear Mynd at theaters, the home, malls and auditoriums. The data could be streamed to smartphones and tablets.

Now there are a few questions about this Mynd and the panels NeuroFocus will build. To wit:

  • What type of consumer will wear this brainwave scanner for ad research?
  • What will this consumer be paid?
  • What will brainwaves do to advertising metrics?
  • And what happens when consumers take this information and start sharing it on Facebook?

As for that latter point, you know it’s just a matter of time before consumers everywhere wear the Mynd, broadcast their subconscious reactions to products and services to their iPhone and then upload to Facebook. Talk about marketing! Welcome to the new world of advertising.

Final thought: I'd argue there are some management uses for the Mynd. Just imagine how those bottom-up manager performance reviews would go if you could really know what employees were thinking.

Topics: iPhone

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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