Story last modified Tue Feb 06 06:40:00 PST 2007
And the other winner of the Super Bowl is...Coke.
That's according to brain experts, who for the second timein two years, have studied the neurons firing inside people's gray matter while they watched Super Bowl commercials FKF Applied Research, with the help of UCLA's Ahmanson Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, said that Coca-Cola's "Video Game" ad--a 60-second animated spot that promotes random acts of kindness--scored this year because it elicited the most positive emotions in subjects' brains.
"Coke's ad did well because it engaged a full range of emotions, including the mirror region, which is associated with connection and empathy," said Joshua Freedman, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA and co-founder of FKF Applied Research. "Asking someone what is going on in their brain is in some ways like asking them what is going on in their heart."
FKF studied 10 men and women ages 18 to 34 by using UCLA's functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) brain-imaging system. fMRI is a relatively new technology used to analyze activity, or blood flow, in various centers of the brain that govern people's desires, fears and other cognitive control centers. When specific areas of the brain are active, blood circulation and oxygen increase in those regions, and the imaging technology can detect that activity.
Aside from the relative triviality of Super Bowl ad responses, the technology is fueling a revolution in scientific understanding of the brain and human emotions. In the last five years, fMRI has helped neuroscientists study human choices and behavior, laying the groundwork for the understanding of how people make decisions. Freedman said that the science is now also informing other academic fields like economics, sociology and, of course, marketing.
Through brain imaging, for example, FKF has found that people typically ignore between a third and half of all commercials. And while the Super Bowl is known for its standout and pricey commercials (advertisers reportedly dropped $2.6 million on 30-second spots this year), the 2007 Super Bowl was no exception. "The majority (of ads) elicited very little response," Freedman said.
Coca-Cola: "Video Game"Doritos: "Live the Flavor"Bud Light: "Hitchhiker"