The Physical impairments of design


You’re walking confidently  while chatting with your friends, when you reach out a door  and a simple task has to be performed: PUSH or PULL. It sounds easy until you push the door and it does not move. Clumsy! You have to pull buddy! So what happened next? Your friends start jeering at you during a long time, whilst you want to forget that awkward moment. But wait!  Are you the only one who does not know how to open a door?

Well guys do not blame you, it´s more common than you believe, and as I’m not the only one who pushes a door when it should be pulled, I want to tell you that often is not our fault, but objects default. The door is not properly designed so cannot be correctly usable. Are you talking seriously? Yeah I do. So next time that you blame yourself and do not want to admit that its a personality problem, you have all the right of blaming the door design and its usability problem.

People do not have erroneous theories, they only form mental models to explain what they have observed, so sometimes when they blame the environment is not as crazy as it seems. We have to say that there are things that are not affordable, which means that they do not provide strong clues to the operations of things (Norman, 1990).  So in the case of the door, the horizontal and vertical bars specify if the user has to push or pull, thus horizontal bars signify a push whilst vertical ones signify a pull. Unfortunately this rule is not always followed and that´s why we feel clumsy when we open a door that is not well designed.



Talking in terms of consumption, people do not have access to designers of the products, so the perception and interpretation of the item relies on the interaction that consumers have with it. This is the moment when we see that the product design has high-importance in consumer patterns, due to the fact that it communicates attributes such as elegance, functionality, affordance and social significance (Crilly, 2004)


Hence, when a customer turns up at a store such as Morrisons or Tesco, he/she is used to focus on price and appearance at first glance and perhaps on prestige value. The question that comes up is: what happen afterwards, at home? The buyer pays attention to the functionality and usability of the product. So, if affordances take advantage of, the user understands what to do just by looking: no picture, label or instruction is required. However, if the product looks simple, but needs pictures, labels or instructions, the design fails (Norman, 1990) and a post-purchase is unlikely to be performed.



As we see, design and usability are closed aspects that may be taken into consideration when a product is created. That´s why some companies have began using a theory called inclusive design, where products may be well-designed and may satisfy the needs of most segments by selling usable products. This concept of usability has became a breakthrough in redesigned items, where products are more affordable to consumers and  more profitable for large firms. For instance, Apple with the continuously updating of its hardware design and Dole with its Fruit Bowls packaging redesign for readdressing the target group and making a “grab-and-go” product for young, professional woman have been aware of the usability and functionality  aspects of their products.



Perhaps all marketers are trying to make everybody happy? Everybody? Well we all know that there are different life stages and that in segmentation, education, gender, age and culture factors are important to cover our market targets. But what about family life cycle? Most marketers are usually aware of single, young married and full nester, but sometimes the empty nester and the single elderly stages are not considered. These particular segments, which have rising revenues and more leisure time  are also recognized by situational variables such as physical impairments that increase with ageing.



There are companies that use inclusive design to understand the different levels of physical impairment that are involved when these segments known as “baby boomers”, cannot perform straightforward tasks such as open a can or hold a saucepan. These firms have understood the other face of the consumer, and have tried to develop several tools that can make this people´s life easier. Thus, this aspect has been considered as an important opportunity for developing DIY tools for the retirement sectors as well as for people that have physical impairments.

Untitled 3


Perhaps this is an effective way to take into account these particular segments, but what about daily consumption products such as coffee or yogurt? Well this is one of the issues that most companies are trying to sort out, knowing that not all consumers have the agency of opening a “well-designed package”. For this reason, Nestle came up with an amazing idea, after LISTENING to what some consumers said about their products: “I like your coffee, but unfortunately my arthritis don´t let me open it, and it makes me suffer”.



So after understanding this new generation of customers and by doing some research with the support of the University of Cambridge, Nestle approached the Inclusive Design theory, and adjusted the packages of some of its products to ensure consumers of ALL ages and capabilities could utilised them without any difficulty. This company aimed to make their products safer and easier to use, regardless the age or physical impairment of consumers (e.g. arthritis). This research helped the company to predict how many people could use their products and to develop items where consumers had less probability of suffering when they had to open a can or a bottle that contains a Nestle product.


Summing up, is relevant to take into consideration the design of a product, not only to drive customer’s perception and increase market share, but to benefit and include minority groups such as customers with disabilities. In this sense, products that are well designed and have a high likelihood of usability by everyone including disable people would have a huge opportunity to increase product´s demand and would satisfy the consumers desire, its need and its AGENCY.


Behind the scenes of queuing

I’ve always wondered what to do when I’m doing the checkout queue. It is the time when you think about the products you have purchased and in the thrill of wearing new clothes or eating a delicious ice cream that you´ve expected for long. As the queue progresses, your mind fly away and you start reflecting on the daily routine and the To do list that you have for the day … The queue takes long and the stress begins to reign in the air … You look at the other queues and it seems that people got stuck in their places. Nobody move forward, but suddenly, your gaze focuses directly on products that are   close to the checkout. And what happens? As these products are “basic and necessary” for your lifestyle, according to the immediate reflection that one generally does, you start grabbing some products which for your good / bad luck are small and easy to grab. What happen then? That you buy more items than you thought initially to purchase. Well ladies and gentlemen, here is where in- store product placement theory appears, and some (other?) strategic distracters are shown to the patron, with the aim of making him purchase more and more, without noticing the external stimuli that are driving his decision-making process.

Last minute purchases are common in customers shopping patterns. The variability in last-minute shopping aspects such as motivations and different lifestyles provide effective possibilities for managers to segment the last-minute market and develop management strategies to enhance the company profitability (Scott, 2003). Strategies such as store layouts and channel distribution have a high impact in shopper´s psychological states, due to the fact that these store choice criteria cues which involve merchandise quality perceptions have the power to mediate arousal in customers. In this case, displaying stands full of smaller items for sale affect the approach shopping behaviours in customers and lead customers to an unplanned purchase (Walsh et al., 2011).



Anticipating cognitive processes is one of the strategies that most companies use to generate the best incomes. For instance, if we recognize that customers are tired when doing the check-out queue, an effective way to raise their attention and increase the purchase likelihood would be to place soft drinks or a bouquet within arm´s reach close the check-outs, in the case of a supermarket, or on sale cosmetics in an apparel shop.




In order to drive up sales, most marketers move products that haven´t been sold and cross-sell  items that customers like you and me, sometimes don´t realise we need at the begining, making us a “kind of favour”. But is that really a favour or store retailers just want us to consume and help them reach their business profitable goals at the end of the month?


So, to get a better related product positioning at the check-outs shelves, marketers use planograms, which help the store retailers to place certain items into the right places with the aim of getting a maximum effect on appealing customers. This option is considered a common way to increase last minute purchases. However, there is another alternative that has been used recently by a well known supermarket called ASDA, which could be seen as an outstanding way of “creating a last minute purchase”.

The Go-Getters for For-Getters

Get your forgotten item without leaving the checkout queue! “What? You want me to clone myself or what? Sorry but that sounds a little ridiculous, I would lose my place in the queue and I have spent ages here!” This would be the answer of some customers if they hear a weird proposal like this. Well guys, ASDA have shown that this idea is not as utopic as it seems, and for helping you to be confortable in their checkout queues, they´ve created the Go-Getters for Forgetters!


Mmm…it sounds like the name of a rock band with a rhythmic name…but no, it´s not ASDA´s new rock band…actually it refers to an allocated staff that helps patrons to find last-minute items! The Go-Getters are in charge of speaking to people at the check-outs and offer them to fetch products that had been forgotten by customers, so they may pick up on their way around the shop and bring them to the patron, who does not have to leave the queue.

The Go-getters are an important point of contact, because we as consumers know that when we are at the checkout line we are reluctant to leave, even though we forget an essential product. Likewise, the Go-getters help customers to reduce queues and may be seen as part of environmental store-cues, implying in customers satisfaction and loyalty (Welsh 2011).



So, we may say that these two last minute strategies: stands full of smaller items at the checkouts and the Go-getters could be considered as effective marketing cues. Firms understand and make the consumer to avoid the limitations of the aisle end caps and traffic routes and help them with the last minute purchase. Sounds great! But, is that what are companies really doing? Are they really concern about consumers? Or they are just considering getting profitable results by taking advantage of our lack of memory?


Saving whilst procrastinating…

The decision-making process is an important issue when we talk about consumer behaviour. But what happen with those consumers that delay their purchase until the last minute? Is this good for the company? Is this convenient for the consumer? Well guys depending on the occasion it could be a benefit or a drawback for each party, but to understand more about this topic, it would be important to tackle the concept of Consumer Procrastination…You said procrastination in consumers? Yeah that´s what I said.


Most of us know that understanding customer making-decision process is a priority to make business decisions, but another necessity that we should tackle is to know the reasons why customers delay making decisions (Hogarth et al., 1980). This common behaviour is known as consumer procrastination. This type of procrastination is usually caused by a person´s propensity to avoid an unlikable task or choice (Milgram et al., 1988).  There may be different possibilities to delay a decision process (or procrastinate) towards purchasing or not purchasing a product. Patrons may avoid the decision making process, may delay it while they asses the different options that are shown, or feel incapable to make the decision. These dilemmas happen, despite the customers have the intention and the means for buying (Darpy, 2000).


The indecision process is correlated to the action control theory, where the state orientation produces consumer procrastination (Kuhl, 1994). So, for instance we can see on Christmas many stressed parents trying to get the best gifts for their children, comparing all product features without reaching the final purchase and getting confused about which item to buy. If they are too picky with gifts, the decision making process may take long, since consumers assess and compare product´s attributes (Darpy, 2000). This situation makes them to procrastinate and maybe loose the chance of getting the present that their kids want, due to the insecurity of getting or not a gift in the right moment.



On the other hand, the avoidance component of procrastination may be seen on consumers that delay the task with the aim of protecting a vulnerable self-esteem (Burka & Yuen, 1983). It mostly happens in young females, who like to shop all the time, but sometimes feel guilty of consuming “unnecessary things”, so they prefer to perform a buck-passing of the decision on someone else and delay the purchase for a while (Ferrari, 1993).


But now the question is: Does pushing back shopping pay off? Well according to Dealnews, procrastination is not too bad as we thought. After looking up some records of Toy “R” Us in the US, it was shown that during Christmas time, consumers preferred to wait until the last minute to buy gifts rather than buying them on main retailers which provide affordable sales to kick off the Christmas shopping season. But how come? Simple. Several companies such as Toys R Us, knows that Black Friday and the first days of December customers perform impulsive and crazy purchases, buying items before they last. For this reason, companies cut prices in mid –December to get the best deals, and reach consumers such as procrastinators.


So, we may say that consumer procrastination is not as bad as we thought. It as a double face coin, if you are a procrastinator and you are unlucky, you may lose out and don´t get the desired gift, but on the hand, if you are lucky, and you wait until the last minute, the purchase may help you save your cash, since some sales drop the longer you wait or in other words, the longer you procrastinate… The big takeaway depends on your level of consumer procrastination…







You should work on that clothing store! I am jealous…

This is what most guys think when women prefer to hang out with girl friends and spend at least four hours choosing a garment that really fits them, rather than staying with their boyfriends. To browse around an apparel store is a behaviour that is really appreciated by women merely because clothing items have the power to repair, upgrade and offer technical emotional support.  Researchers state that whether or not women are aware of where do shopping impulses come from, expenditure behaviours are tied to deep evolutionary factors such as finding or pleasing a mate… (Durante et al., 2011).




-Oh my God! I have a birthday and …I don´t know what to wear…life is unfair…I need to

 go shopping immediately – she says.

-But you have a lot of clothes! And you have bought all that stuff last week…!- he says.

– No, they can´t see me wearing the same garment all the time…it would be unconceivable! You

   just don´t understand…- She replies.


To understand better why women give so much importance on appearance products, let´s make an overview of some studies that have assessed this topic. On the one hand, researchers suggest that women prefer to spend in categories such as clothing and jewelry items which improve their appearance as sexual partners, while ovulating. Hence, when women are close to conceive, one of their priorities is to attract attention from possible mates (Pine et al., 2011).



On the other hand, a study found that higher socioeconomic class women stay more time purchasing fashion items than older women, or women from a lower socioeconomic class (Rich and Jain 1968), whilst other studies have said that females go shopping to pass time and escape from daily life, with the aim of improving their moods as well as their social self-esteem (Kwon & Shim 1999).


Well guys, in addition to these researches, there are other hypotheses that come from an evolutionary standpoint, where young women´s consumption and hormonal factors are correlated. These findings suggest that female consumption behaviours are attached to status signals that are created during the fertility phase, where women are inclined to splurge more money on garments and to wear sexier clothing, with the aim of attracting the best mates (Durante et al., 2011).




The correlation between hormonal factors with product choice was evidenced during the Great Depression, at the time when the country had considerable high economic issues. This economic down-time had the impact of sending a signal to ovulating women about the shrinking of desirable men in the market, making cosmetic industry to boom (Durante et al., 2011). Therefore, when women recognized that there was a rivalry for mating chances (many other females or lack of attractive males) they were more likely to spend a lot of money on appearance-enhancing items (Durante et al., 2011).





Usually during their hormonal phase, women show less control in spending and a high level of impulsiveness unlike other times of the month. The tendency to over-spend and to spend in unuseful garments makes women to regret later. Thus, is commonly for female shoppers not just having mood swings during the hormonal cycle (Pine et al., 2011) but a “bipolar spending behaviour” as well.


Considering the above facts, beside other competencies, the resources that govern spending not only come from cognitive and affective estates but from hormonal factors that make women to be more sensitive and to reflect lower self regulatory resources during this fertile phase (Pine et al., 2011).


In this way, we may conclude that even though we are not consciously aware of our female spending impulses we as women are powerfully affected by issues that are attached to evolutionary perspectives such as the rivalry for mating opportunities.  The advantages of these researches may help women to make choices for themselves and not doing them under a “biological determinism” as Gaad Saad (2012) states.


So girls, next time that you have a deep impulsive feeling for going shopping, try first to be aware of  your mood swings (hormonal cycle)  before regretting of over-spending your credit card in one minute!






Earworms! Sticky jingles…

I am a music lover, and usually I like to walk with my earphones long distances. For me, music has the power of carrying you out of reality and the possibility of shifting your mood, by recalling positive or negative past moments. Music is part of our daily life and even though most time we are not aware of its effect in our behaviour, it has an impact in our attitudes and motivation, not just upon emotional memories, but towards products or advertisement.

Considering the fact that most of the times is difficult for me to stop singing a part of a song that usually is not one of my favourite ones, I start to think about those sticky (sometimes annoying) jingles that  can´t get out of my head, after you have heard them for numerous times. So, even you like or dislike the jingle, you can´t halt singing it. These songs or tunes are called Earworms and according to Professor James J. Kellaris (2003), they assault and last longer in musicians and music lovers. In addition, these earworms are important for advertisement, since it has a likelihood of 15% of getting stuck in our brains (Kellaris, 2003).

Jingle Earworms are not always welcomed to our heads but they are crucial for advertisers and companies, when they need consumers to retain a brand.  This is the reason why we can recall some jingles from the past, even though they have not been displayed for ages. According to this statement, Wallace (1991) suggests that just by pronouncing the brand name is sufficient to initiate part of the jingle that plays through our minds.





Chicken Tonight is a jingle that although is not aired on British television, it’s catalogued as one of the five top best jingles of the time (The Telegraph, 2012). This jingle makes customers to mention the name of the brand when they sing it, producing a long lasting memory. Wallace (1991) suggests that customers could easily recall a jingle and sing it over and over again, if the words of a text are not altered and if the word verbatim is sung, and not just verbalized, such as the Chicken Tonight jingle.

Kraemer et al.(2005)  consider that when people listen to a particular kind of music, a bit of the brain called the Auditory Cortex activates. In addition, they state that when there is a silence ( Sound of Silence) or a song ends, people keeps singing the song. The question now is: Why are some songs or jingles so catchy or sticky? Scientists are not sure why some jingles get trapped inside our heads easily than others, but it’s a widely belief that usually earworms are straightforward cheerful tunes. These melodies have unusual rhythm, alluring lyrics and often resort to repetition (Beaman& Williams, 2010), enough characteristics to make them sticky,  such as the Kit Kat jingle, with its “Gimme me a break”:









“Bah-da-ba-ba-ba I´m loving it!  It´s lunch time, you are just walking with your earphones and listen to this jingle. After a while, you begin to sing the jingle “unconsciously” and what happened?  You stop in a MC Donalds and ask for a Big Mac. McDonalds jingle is so effective that it gets in your head and don´t live you, at least until you buy a Mac product. Although, the jingle doesn´t mention the brand, it’s enough to be catchy by your brain.

According to the model of working memory proposed by Alan Baddely and Graham Hitch (1974), the causes of earworms such as the Mac Jingle could be related to the neural circuits that are in charge of melodies. The model shows that there exist a phonological loop which is composed of phonological store, represented by an inner ear (remember sounds in sequential order) and an articulatory rehearsal system (inner voice, which retells the sounds with the aim of recalling them). In addition, Galizio & Hendrick (1972)  states that one assumption for not recalling spoken words in a commercial as well as verbal material in a jingle, could be related to the fact that spoken words are processed semantically, and not phonetically like it happens in a jingle.






Tunes such as Cornetto jingle, one of the most popular sticky jingle of all time along Britain (Williamson, The Telegraph, 2012) presents a high probability of triggering “sing-along behaviour” due to the fact that it can be distinguished by loudness, high energy, a masculine voice and a high register with lots of jumps.  These characteristics may have repercussions in consumer´s memory and in the phonological loop as well. At least, it did on Princess Diana´s head, who had this jingle buzzing in her mind all the time before her wedding!

On the other hand, there are other jingles that do not use lyrics, such as this popular commercial of my country about swabs. It belongs to Johnson & Johnson and it made many customers to whistle the song when they were going to buy swabs in the store. It has been suggested that when there are few cues to the recalling process, is important to present the slogan with music Yalch (1991)  such as this commercial does. Moreover, Wells et al., 1989  conclude that “fingersnapping and toe – tapping songs” generate a high level of retention in customers, because they are so memorable.  This could be related with “whistling songs” like this sticky swabs jingle:



Just mentioning the name of the brand is sufficient to begin singing the famous Oscar Mayer Wiener jingle. It has been 50 years since the jingle was created and if you ask a relative about the advertisement, he will immediately retrieve the lyric. Perhaps, one of the issues that this jingle solved 50 years ago was the wearout of other advertisements, which refers to the loss of remembrance for advertisement information when costumers are continuously exposed (Bruner, 1985). During that time, customers were exposed to messages that provided unrewarded information to the audience, which affected their motivation and retention of any brand. Despite of this, Oscar Mayer Wiener creators refreshed the TV commercials, giving to the customers a jingle that left out the wearout effect of other adverts.





To end this blog, I leave you with one of my favourite jingles of all times, which still remind me my childhood, my friends and my family, even though there have been more that 10 years of this jingle. As you can see, the jingle have first and final phonemes which are effective cues for recalling a brand, as well as music and slogan links, and brand and slogan repetition at the end of the jingle (Yalch, 1991), which are enough to our brains and for our decision-making process.



In my opinion, jingles are useful when there exist few cues in the advertisement and when it has minimal exposures. Nonetheless, if the advertisement has a high-exposure, easy and straightforward brand and slogan, with enough cues to aid retrieval, a jingle is not necessary a required condition to tackle. But what about the use of popular songs with distorted lyrics? Are they effective? This topic is controversial, due to the fact that there are many findings which suggest that this is not helpful to cause retention…is that true? Remember the Cornetto´s advertisement?



Kellaris,  J. (2003) “Dissecting earthworms: Further evidence on the song-stuck-in-your-head phenomenon.” Proceedings of Society for Consumer Psychology, New Orleans, LA, American Psychological Society: 220-222

Wells, W, Burnett, J., & Moriarty, S. (1989). Advertising: Principles and practice. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall


It smells like yellow, it sounds like vanilla…

“Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world”.

Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher

One month ago I was visiting London and I had the opportunity to be delighted by such an imposing city. It was amazing to be there, but what somehow allured me was a small pub called the Whetherspoon pub. I just saw it from outside, and even thought I did not have the possibility of walking into the place, it immediately teleported me to a pub in my hometown, were I usually spent special occasions with my friends and colleagues after a long working day. The place is called Bogota Beer Company, it is inspired in British Style, and it serves only hand-crafted beers. I do not drink much, but every time I visited the place in my country, I asked myself, which were the cues that engaged so many customers at once. Was it the hand-crafted beers? The good service they had? Well maybe all these aspects contributed to the decision-making process of the customers, but was there something else?

At this point I realised  that there are some other marketing strategies that “unconsciously” invite the consumer not only to try a new product such as a beer, but ensures that the client enjoy a new emotional experience. This is the purpose of Sensory Marketing, which tries to create effective environments that target the 5 senses of the customer. The customer has 5 senses neither one nor two, as some retail companies consider. Most products are directed to customers just through the visual dimension, pushing aside the other four senses: haptic, olfaction, audition and taste. Several findings have demonstrated that sight is one of the most important senses to be target, but the question is: Do you think the loyalty impact is congruent to the sensory importance? According to Martin Lindstrom the answer is: No.

  The above charts develop the idea that customer engagement depends not just of mass marketing, where goods, products and persuasion concepts are required, but of sensory marketing as well. The following diagram demostrates some details that might help to clarify the concepts that were mentioned before. However, the blog will tackle the concept of sensory marketing, and will show some companies that have used this type of marketing.



Sensory Marketing…

It has been defined as “marketing that engages the consumers’ senses and affects their perception, judgment and behavior. The purpose of sensory marketing is to generate subconscious triggers that involve consumer’s perceptions of non concrete notions of a product and the personality of the brand (Krishna, 2011) .

Sensory marketing field has the power to create a brand image that is linked to the identity and lifestyle of the customer. The end result of the individual experience or “experience logic” and its value comes from the five human senses, which perceive and interpret the event, either separately or united (Krishna, 2011).

Today’s marketing is directed to an emotionally demanding consumer. For this reason some companies have decided to use innovative strategies which involve the human being senses and their immediate response to several products. This blog will show some examples of companies who have ventured to use sensory marketing strategies.


CEO Jorgen Appelqvist, owner of a Swedish retailer called Gina Tricot declares  “ The eyes buy 70 or 80 percent  of what people buy”    ( Hultén et al., 2009) . This comment is a common belief among companies since the sight is one of the most seductive senses, due to the fact that  the visual system allows customers to explore changes and differences when a new design is discovered (Hultén et al., 2009). However, the aim is not only to stimulate the visual sense with packages and a variety of shapes in products, but with innovative technologies, which may connect the user´s emotions.

For instance, a company that knew well how to stimulate the sight sense was Alton Tower, which have used creative technologies to perform an optical illusion of a collapsed lift, and endorse its new attraction. This launch triggered the costumer attention and generated the emotion of fear, which was the purpose of the company. At the same time, it helped the Southside shopping center in London (where the lift was located)  to attract more clients to the shops.    




“A touch strategy make it possible to customers to feel and touch the brand”  

 (Hultén et al.,2009)

Touching is the way how most human beings interact with the world, and this is why haptic is one of the most important senses to target when we talk about products and effective selling.  This sense helps us to shape a product, to know if it is rounded, sharp or soft. This features let clients  to squeeze, rotate or turn upside down a product with the aim of building a clear relationship between the product and the buyer. Thus, if this strategy is used correctly,  unplanned purchases are more likely to be performed  (Hultén et al., 2009).

According to these statements, there are some examples of packages that have been produced to invite the customer to create a touchable experience and relate the physical practice with his expectations. SC Johnson´s baby lotion bottle tries to spread the smoothness of the cream, through the package, as well as Orangina, a citrus beverage which looks like an orange, and attempt to transmit its taste to costumers.



Human beings are able to perceive more than 10.000 scents which usually can be associated with lasting memories. Moreover, smell can create an image of a brand as well as awareness in costumers, by doing short-term activities where the odor generates attention around an item, or through long-term strategies where the smell starts to become a main aspect of a company´s identity (Hultén et al., 2009).A brand loyalty has more probability to be established, since the  neural proximity between the limbic system and the hippocampus have a fundamental role in the emotional memory of a product (Cahill, 1995).

Several stores such as Home Depot spray fresh grass scent in the store with the purpose of driving sales of gardening equipment. On the other hand, Sony sprays vanilla, mandarin and bourbon scents in all stores to make females feel welcomed, even though most electronic devices are targeted to men.




“Music is perpetual, and only the hearing is intermittent.”

Henry David Thoreau, American philosopher.

Sound can be a strategy to build an effective image of a brand. When sound or music is used consciously by the company, a sound brand can be shaped (Hultén et al., 2009) and customer retention can be higher . On the other hand, the shopping pace can also vary if the speed of music is faster or slower .

For instance, if the music is slow, there are more chances that the customer purchases several products (Milliman, 1982) . Regarding the type of music, a  study case showed that classical music generates more pleasure, while pop-style music boosts the arousal of consumers (Kellaris & Kent, 1993).

One firm that knows really well how to stimulate this sense is Abercrombie & Fitch, a store that appeals to the young generation by creating a “club” environment with its techno music. The young adult population is not aware of the time that they spend in the store due to the fact that they enjoy the music and the feelings that are associated with the background.




Even though taste could be classified as a basic sense, it brings the possibility of competing with products that have similar features related with cost or quality, and provides surplus value to the item ( Hultén et al., 2009). One strategy that sellers usually use is to give their costumers sweets or signature drinks such as champagne, to make clients feel better and pleased. Tiffany is one luxury multinational that offer to their clients a glass of champagne, with the aim of building a exclusive relationship with customers.




As we can see some companies are trying to stimulate client senses with the goal of creating loyalty, branding or even positioning. Multi-sensory brand experience is still a risk for companies since this field can generate a positive or negative impact in customer´s retention, however at the same time, is an innovative tool that can bring surplus value to the firm.   This was the case of IKEA which used sensory cues such as vanilla scent, brown mats, connected wine glasses and light effects to stimulate customer’s senses. Most senses were targeted, but do you think that it worked? Is it really possible to translate a lab experiment to reality? Are companies ready to attempt those type of challenges?

If you want to know more about this case study…  THE CASE OF IKEA


Wellness Marketing




Don´t Drink and Drive! Reserved for drunk drivers! All these social campaigns and advertisements are well-known by most of us. There is a worldwide belief that prevention campaigns have to involve just social problems such as alcoholic drivers, and not risky drivers who don´t mind to take a nap on the highway. Daily routine and stress are creating human robots, which have to work 24/7 and being present on a day-to-day basis, making them to adopt a high level of tiredness. Driving safety is not just affected by a few drinks, but also by the lack of sleep, physical fatigue or mental fatigue, due to the constant demand of attention that other context of life might require.


The above advertisement is a detailed process of what happen when there is not enough repose. Working on irregular hours, doing night work, or simple procrastination might develop fatigue and unwell road performance. Several findings have demonstrated that the consequences of fatigue, such as road accidents, have had a range of implications between 16% and 60% in countries like the United States (Williamson & Feyer , 2000)  . These statistics represent one part of what lack of sleep can produce, harming not just the drowsy driver´s life but other drivers that goes on the road . On the other hand,  researchers have proven  that a long time period without sleeping is equivalent to a high-level of alcohol dosage (Williamson & Feyer , 2000) which reduces alertness level and reaction times to some extent.




The above video show us how dangerous could be to drive drowsy, and even though we are aware that is appropriate to take a rest before driving, the routine make us to believe that there would be any problem on the road. According to  (Williamson & Feyer , 2000), society has taken the decision of accepting the consequences of fatigue and tiredness in spite of the social awareness that people have of this type of problems.

As a result, some companies that mind about consumer´s wellness have developed devices and technologies that can be seen as social and health supporters for those drowsy people that dream to arrive home safe and sound. Arousal, drowsiness and distraction have been evaluated by multiple companies with the purpose of developing a new strategy that can help consumers to have a driving wellness.

Previous research have found that wellness can be transform into products that optimize and enhance the performance of a person, with the final purpose of “renewing” the consumer and its wellbeing (Coughlin et al., 2009). Therefore, today  we find many products that promise us to adopt a comfortable life and satisfy our constant desires: an adjustable  bed that gives comfort to the user, so the consumer can feel recharged, sport shoes that improves the muscle tone, and similar products  which ease consumer´s aims (Coughlin et al., 2009).

Extended research have analysed people needs and desires, but just  few findings have evaluated wellness products that usually do not have the power to be perceived by customers as a required necessity.  Consequently, driving activity has been taking into consideration by today´s companies, enhancing driver performance and highway safety. In-vehicle technologies biometrics (heart-rate, skin conductance) and visual attention tools such as pupillometry and eye-tracking are part of the research that have been executed to relieve driver fatigue and inattention. “The change in the frequency and time-length of a driver´s blink sets off an alarm or vibrate the steering wheels to wake up the driver” – This was the initial idea of the creators of the AwareCar concept (Coughlin et al.,2009) few years ago and now it’s becoming a reality.




Translating the lab ideas to normal routine had a low likelihood, however nowadays companies such as Tobii  has optimized transportation needs for users, concerning about the  automotive consumer. They have  designed  in-vehicle technologies that reduce drowsiness and distraction, by following the eye movements of the driver through an integrated eye tracking system.



These type of devices may help to improve the lifestyle of people and generate friendly usages within these techonlogies. In this way, I I believe that even though the eye-tracker could be seen as anti-ethical tool by some parties, it depends on how we as human beings use these types of technologies, not just with the aim of selling a product and competing in the market field, but with the social purpose of creating a wellbeing in our consumers.

Finally, I leave you with one of the Steve Job´s dreams, which may incorporate one of these in-vehicle technologies: The ICar. Do you think it would be a safety car and would fulfill your expectations?



Just follow the gaze…

Pour some gin, vermouth, garish an olive or just mix it with a lemon twist! The Martini cocktail is one of the best-known mixed beverages over the world! Personally, I like Martinis and like James Bond usually says: Shaken, not stirred!

Well, thinking over and over again about Martinis and blogs, and James Bond’ s films, I started to watched some Martini´s commercials and I found an eye-tracking study example, were there is a mix of 2 passions that I have: Martinis and Neuromarketing, the best mix ever!

I think this is alluring and engaging!  Many girls plus George Clooney celebrity, seduce the brand´s targets immediately! But which are the targets? Not just the ladies, but also the gentlemen, who would like to be part of a female social party! (I think most of the gentlemen that are reading this blog would like to replace George Clooney in this Martini spot, isn´t it?) Perhaps the targets and the brand are really useful to understand consumer´s behaviour towards the commercial, but what about consumer´s feelings? Don´t they need attention as well? Is enough to understand the “rational brain”?

In my opinion, emotions drive us! That´s why we as researchers, must engage the old reptilian brain and create an emotional impact. So what about the emotional impact of this commercial? As we could see, there were some blue blobs that were continuously moving along the ad. This is how an eye tracking study works. We can observe that most of the time, the blobs are located on the character´s faces.  This happen because there is an attentional process that responds to biologically important stimuli such as faces and eyes (Friesen and Kingston, 1998). Some findings illustrate that  first year children  prefer to process eyes and faces, by leading their gaze where others are looking at. This demostrates that we are used to seek other´s gaze since we are infants (Riesen, Friesen and Kingston, 1998).

There are some evidence, which support that the function of a gaze is to guide other´s attention on different objects of the environment. For instance, we can know from our own experience that when someone´s gaze is interrupted and head off to another place, it means that we are not the object of interest and we prefer to pay attention towards the object that the other person is looking at (Baron-Cohen, et al.2000, cited by Itier & Batty, 2009)

In the above examples we can see that there are red and green spots. If the spot is red, it means that more people are looking at that place of the poster. In this way, we notice that the second ad is more effective, because the customers look at first to the gaze of the baby and immediately follows his gaze, looking finally at the brand. The opposite happens in the first poster, were the brand is absolutely ignored.

A.K Pradeep (2010)  says, what come first are faces, and  that´s one of the reasons, why customers can understand the emotions and intent that are involved in an advertisement or a poster like the above. Even in social media like Facebook, feelings could be captured by customers, due to the visages that the social network present.

At last, there have to be mentioned, that the process of gazing involves different areas and regions of the brain, such as the temporal lobe, the amygdale and some frontal and parietal areas which act in different ways, according to the context where the person is (Itier and Batty, 2009). This may lead to ask: How a customer could execute a long process so fast, when they look at an advertisement? The brain is amazing! And that is why we as researchers and marketers, must try to understand “the feeling brain” and not to toe the line just with the “thinker brain”.