Brand Loyalty Is Literally For Monkeys

We all think we're the one person who doesn't fall for ads with celebrities and sexy models. But here's an especially humiliating demonstration of just how dumb brand loyalty can be: Scientists trained monkeys to love the Adidas logo by putting it next to a horny monkey.

Photo by Lyza/Diliff

The scientists wanted to know if brand loyalty is purely culturally based, or built into our primate brains. So they showed rhesus monkeys some brand logos — like Pizza Hut and Adidas — next to pictures of high-status, low-status, or sexually presenting monkeys, or next to pictures of random noise.

The monkeys could click any logo to get a piece of candy. They were basically making ads for the brands.

Image by M. Yavuz Acikalin, Karli K. Watson, Gavan J. Fitzsimons, and Michael L. Plat

And the ads worked. Even after the researchers took out the attractive pictures, the monkeys kept picking the Adidas logo just because they'd seen it next to a sexy monkey arse, and the Acura logo because they'd seen it next to a high-status monkey. They'd never been rewarded for choosing certain logos; every click always delivered the same candy.

The scientists built brand loyalty by pure association. Which is exactly what real commercials do.

So commercials work; that's not news. But it's interesting that they work at such a basic, primal level. The next time you're tempted to spring for the "good brand," ask yourself if you have evidence that the brand is better, or if you're just being a horny monkey.

Rhesus macaques form preferences for brand logos through sex and social status based advertising [PLOS ONE via Max Read]


Comments

    ... sexy monkey arse...

    Now there’s 3 words I’ve never seen together before!

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