What’s the Latest Development?
Cologne University researchers invited a group of people to a theater to watch a movie. Prior to the movie, they displayed a series of advertisements for unfamiliar products. They also gave half the participants popcorn while the rest received a sugar cube. A week later, when asked to rate a series of products, including those that were advertised prior to the movie, the sugar cube eaters indicated preferences for the advertised products, but the popcorn eaters didn’t. A second, similar study involved advertisements for various charities. When given money to donate, the sugar cube group tended to favor the charities, while the popcorn group didn’t.
What’s the Big Idea?
Researcher Sascha Topolinski says: “The mundane activity of eating popcorn made participants immune to the pervasive effects of advertising.” This contradicts previous studies that claim chewing gum helps improve memory. Topolinski goes on to suggest that advertisers persuade theater owners to avoid selling food prior to the movie’s start if they want a new brand name to stick. The odds of that happening are pretty much nil: According to University of California-Irvine professor Richard McKenzie, movie popcorn is sold at a 900 percent markup on average.
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