Well I skipped my blog yesterday. I wanted to continue everyday but some emergencies arose. My wife and I had owned our “lion head” pet bunny, named Chaos, for just over a year and half. Fuzzy white and grey fur with a main like a lion. He wasn’t doing so well in the morning, so we took him to the vet. While we were there getting him checked out he passed away. A sad day and he will be missed, but memories of him will live on.
And while I was thinking about memories today I found an interesting Ted Talk by a guy named Joshua Foer. The talk can be found here. Joshua is a scientific journalist who got caught up in the world or Competitive Memorization. These memory professionals can do amazing feats of memorizing thousands of numbers in a very short amount of time. It turns out one of the greatest known tricks is to use the visual and spacial parts of the brain to memorize. Associating abstract numbers or things with pictures and context that already has a place in the brain.
This is also why very detailed and descriptive stories are much easier to remember, because the picture they create in the brain is much easier to recall than a string of letters and words. And, these same visual techniques are used in song-writing to create visual pictures and a memorable song that resonates.
This is exactly why advertising needs to tell stories and create a picture in the mind for the viewer or customer. If a person can imagine themselves on a hot summer day in a shiny red Ferrari with the top down, wind blowing through their hair, engine screaming in their ears, and the pressure of the seat on their back as they push the gas pedal down.. they are much more likely to remember that car when a friend asks “what’s your favourite convertible?”.
With technology at our hip, ear, and eyes constantly it has become less important to have a good memory. People are not in the habit of using the visual part of the brain for memorization. Forcing people to use their imagination is a great way for them to engage in this visual way.
So don’t always go for the passive pictures and videos to promote your product, get the viewer to use their imagination and create the image in their mind so they will internalize and memorize the message. This reminds me of the Coca-Cola ad I saw a while ago that was a silhouette of a coke bottle and asked you to quickly think of a pop. Instead of showing it to you, they involve your memory and the visuals of your imagination to get you to ‘see’ the drink. Brilliant.