I saw this story here about a scented billboard that gives off the smell of BBQ steak in Mooresville, NC. (see video below). While smells in the market place is nothing new–Subway, Caribou Coffee, and McDonald’s are some of the big names that spend time and effort nailing down the perfect smell. What is new is creating a sense of smell with the intent of changing your purchase habits.
First, I’m not sure how excited I would be about a world filled with smells enticing me to try something new. Granted each establishment has it’s own smell but just imagine driving down the highway and each half mile or so being inundated with a different smell. This would get annoying fast.
In this study they found that the middle frequency of sound produced this result, although they still did not know why. But they did speculate:
They ventured that perhaps the sound bears a resemblance to a former predator in mankind’s remote past, one that we’ve forgotten on a conscious level but not innately. They pointed to the fact that the sound is similar to the warning call of a macaque monkey. Ultimately, we still don’t know why the sound has the effect it does.
The answer came to me like a blinding flash. I was eating something at a picnic and I dropped it on the ground. I wiped it off and continued eating. (Oh, you do *SO* do it too!)
As I was chewing, suddenly I heard SKKKKEEEEEERRRCH!!!!! …as I bit down hard on a tiny stone. I think every single hair on my body stood on end, and my jaws froze instantly.
THAT’S IT! Fingernails-on-blackboard: it sounds exactly like the destruction of tooth enamel. We’re instinctively programmed to respond instantly. Of course! It’s so sensible and obvious. Every little kid knows it. I remember many incidents from my own childhood. Why didn’t we adults ever realize? The scraping of fingers on a blackboard is the classic, high-frequency violin-like waveform of hard dry surfaces moving with chaotic stick/slip motion. And that could very well be why our instincts are programmed to repond to it so strongly.
It’s the sound of body damage; but it’s a particular type of body damage for which there is no pain …yet no healing.
I like the second one.
A few questions I wanted to ask…
How can you tap into these types of feelings to connect with people? For instance, let’s say you are a stylist or a consultant for men who need help with style. What type of ancient emotions can you design into your sales copy that will not make us cringe but make us want to buy?
Since I agree with the teeth hypothesis how can you use the ‘no healing’ instinct to connect with people in your target market?
Yes, I know kind of out there but I like to stretch my mind at times.
Group think is old news. As a reminder this can be used for good, bad, and your benefit. Old video from years ago proves this point:
What is not shared is how many different people (or takes) did it take to get people to follow along? What percentage of people who entered the elevator reacted in lock step fashion? I would guess a high percentage of 70% or so.
What percentage of people questioned others in the elevator? If given a response which ones then acted in lock step?
What things are you doing that make people (a group, a tribe) face a different way in the elevator?
In the last chapter the author Dan Airely talks about a study he did involving how people order food or drinks.
Essentially what he found is when we make public what we would like, even in this close trusted environment, that this effects each individual persons order.
But in strange ways. The first person to order is generally more happy with what they order, essentially because they got what they wanted. But as you go down the line what you find is people tend to have a strong need to be individualistic.