Archive for July, 2011

The Era of Big Brains is upon us

Published by admin on July 28th, 2011

Or “Why I no longer put phone numbers, addresses, hours of operation, or any other facts in radio and TV ads.”

The Quick Skinny:

  • Eliminate details like phone numbers, from your radio & TV ads. People don’t remember them. Tell an emotionally compelling story and they’ll find you.
  • Leave the facts for your search ads, website, and other passive media when people search for you and seek to know them.

After reading Bill Keller’s article in the NY Times called The Twitter Trap, I was reminded of a pretty major Kurt Vonnegut phase I went through back in college.  In his book Gallapagos, Vonnegut talks about “the era of big brains”, a time before society created so many creature comforts for ourselves that we began to devolve into stupidity.  Now a study from Columbia University published in Science and distributed through several newspapers documents “The Google Effect”, our brain’s innate sense that when it knows where to find something, it no longer has to remember it.   Put that in your advertising pipe and smoke it!

The more readily we need information the more likely we are to commit it to memory, however information that is not readily employed to operate in our daily lives gets “outsourced”.  Our brains intuitively know that information not needed to operate, to “survive” in effect, Google’s got it.   One of the articles published states that “people are better at remembering where to find facts, rather than the facts themselves. The students, they found, recalled the names of files where information was stored, rather than the information itself.” Still expect people to remember your phone number in your ads?

So does this mean we’re devolving into stupidity?  No, but despite many of my clients insisting on still putting phone numbers and web urls in their radio and TV ads, the “fact” is, we no longer have to remember facts like this, so…we don’t!  We either remember information we use to operate, or we remember information with emotional attachment. Everything else gets washed away on your pillow while you’re looking at the back of your eyelids.