Reading my copy of Metro this morning whilst crushed between commuters on the central line I was very interested to learn that researchers have discovered that a voucher or free gift triggers an emotional response as powerful as physical arousal!
Now admittedly these researchers were commissioned by the Institute of Promotional Marketing, but they were people of science nonetheless – from the University of Westminster – and they used the iMotions system which tracks pupil dilation and movement to gauge emotional response, which sounds pretty impressive to me.
One example cited said that a Marmite promotion which offered a free Horrid Henry audio-book resulted in scores of up to 5.8 out of ten. Put into context, erotic images usually trigger scores of between five and seven whilst ten is the equivalent of severe trauma.
I seem to remember reading somewhere before that chocolate can have a similar effect on the brain too.
Anyway, all this got me thinking: if brands can generate higher sales because consumers like being aroused by freebies in the same way that they like being aroused by erotic images surely the most successful campaigns would be those giving away free porn.
I can just see the Sun headlines now: “Hospitals at crisis point as trauma toll rises from Cadbury’s filth flick giveaway.”