How can we taste something without actually tasting it?

Our brain mirrors behaviour. This means that when we see others experiencing an event, we also 'experience' a similar feeling. This is an excellent method for introducing people to your product via advertising. There's one condition for this to work: the behaviour must be portrayed well (perhaps even exaggerated). Read on and we'll explain.

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Our brain mirrors behaviour

Neuromarketing Learning 5: Ons brein spiegelt gedrag - iets proeven zonder het te proeven - SmintWhen we see someone performing an action, our brain mirrors the behaviour: a mental simulation takes place in our brain.

This even happens when we see a product or object that is not actively used, but we could potentially use or want (like a cup of tea). Though, the clearer the behaviour is actually shown, the easier the simulation.

Smint (a product of Perfetti Van Melle) wanted to test this mirroring reaction for their ad concepts. Specifically, they wanted to know if a Smint can help boost confidence in situations where fresh breath is important.

The ad concepts were shown to test participants in the MRI scanner to observe the activated emotions in the brain. The video below is one example of the tested ad concepts.

The ad concept scored very well. The fMRI results showed that more positive emotions were activated than negative ones.

Positive emotions are important for an ad (concept) to be effective (see learning 1). The Smint concept also activated brain areas related to involvement and self-relevance.

The latter is very important and relevant: the mental simulation makes your brain mimic the experience of taking a Smint. This activates involvement and positive emotions related to the behaviour.

Neuromarketing learning 5- Waarom proeven we dingen zonder te proeven - Smint concept testing

The ad concept shows the man walking confidently into the room where the job interview will be. The man's regained self-confidence is also reflected in the participants' brains through activation of positive emotions. 

Important addition:

In order for mental simulation to work, it's important to communicate the action clearly. This finding is derived from the various fMRI studies we have conducted for Smint.

Mental simulation worked best at the moment when someone is getting a fresh feeling with a Smint. This moment has to be communicated clearly and perhaps even a little exaggerated.

Mental simulation happens automatically, often without you realising it. That's why it's a good way for introducing people to your product, via your ad.

Check out the next learning.

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