How branding works

I meant to post this some time back: Scientists have new theories about how branding works:

Read Montague, Director of the Human Neuroimaging Lab at Baylor College of Medicine, has now provided proof that branding plays with our brains. Last year he decided to repeat the Pepsi Challenge, but scan the activity of the brain at the same time. Using a non-invasive technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the scans reveal which parts of the brain are active in real time.

When Montague gave a taste of an unnamed soda to his volunteers he found that more people preferred Pepsi. On the scan images the ventral putamen, one of the brain’s reward centers, had a response that was five times stronger than for people who preferred Coke.

The shock came when Read repeated the experiment, this time telling volunteers which brand they were tasting. Nearly all the subjects then said they preferred the Coke. Moreover, different parts of the brain fired as well, especially the medial prefrontal cortex, an area associated with thinking and judging. Without a doubt the subjects were letting their experience of the Coke brand influence their preferences.

And related to that: Coke’s uncertain future, the cult of Diet Coke, and winning the hearts of consumers.

(All links via Agenda.)