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Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by…
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Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy

by Martin Lindstrom

Other authors: Paco Underhill (Foreword)

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
no news. This author could not write in a straight line. He took forever to get to the point. Skimmed then quit. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |

What did I think (that teasing little prompt to write a review)? Lindstrom's book reads more like a fiction novel!

If you can wade through the overblown prose (read author's sense of self-importance, borrowed deux ex machina and cliff-hanger endings to various chapters, all of which fizzle out along the way), Lindstrom actually has some sound advice for consumers!

If you value your purchasing sovereignty, read this book (and borrow it from the library, so as to avoid 'buying' into Lindstrom's hype). Marketeers are already implementing some of the ideas in this book, rightly or wrongly (and not considering the ethics and the funding of the research Lindstrom undertook).

How does a brand smell? Taste? Feel? Look like? Sound? And specifically, given the demographic in which you, as the customer, most likely fit, which representation of these characterisics should a brand/product have in order to engage your 'impulse buy' mechanism?

Ultimately, if you can determine what it is that drives you to purchase something, you're better protected against mindless consumerism. It might have not been the point Lindstrom wanted to make, but that's certainly the message I took from the book. Buyer beware. ( )
  Scribble.Orca | Mar 31, 2013 |
Lindstrom is a proponent of using neuroscience and neuroimaging in particular as part of marketing, because we’re so bad at articulating why we make the choices we make. He can play fast and loose with the evidence—for example, he uses brainscans of smokers whose “reward centers,” associated with pleasurable experiences and thus with desire for cigarettes, lit up at the sight of graphic cigarette warnings to argue that such warnings backfired. But his evidence doesn’t prove that. It might prove that even graphic images don’t deter addicted smokers, but it doesn’t show that such smokers smoke more because of the warnings, or that nonsmokers are more likely to convert into smokers because of the warnings. Indeed, other research he discusses found that Marlboro red and other non-logoed reminders did the best job of stimulating cigarette cravings, arguably because without the explicit brand name people let their guards down, not realizing they were being advertised to. That suggests we need more regulation of cigarette brands, including their use of colors and trade dress, not less.

Still, there’s plenty of note here, including the result that pure product placement in entertainment doesn’t work at all unless it’s well-integrated into the story, at which point it does increase brand awareness, which is a critical waypoint to brand liking. Sex, however, distracts people from the brand actually providing the sexual ad, but he nonetheless expects the use of sex in ads to increase—he doesn’t say so outright, but I think the idea is that executives like the look of such ads and will therefore approve them, because they’re no more rational than any other human.

He’s uninterested in non-advertising sources of meaning, arguing, for example, that we buy products “Made in Japan” because of their association with high-tech and newness. While he acknowledges that this meaning is the opposite of what it was five decades ago, he’s indifferent to the changes in production—spurred, not incidentally, by substantial government intervention—that gave Japanese products these associations. This is, I think, connected with his ultimate idea that advertisers will increasingly use neuromarketing to encourage more consumption and will be increasingly successful at doing so. He says at the end—without any evidence at all, and certainly against the weight of what I’ve seen in behavioral economics—that if we, the audience, know this is going on we will be able to make rational choices about consumption. But then he says what he really means: “what choice do we have?” Neuromarketing is going to happen to us, and so our only options will be to choose how to max out our credit cards. That we might make a societal—and governmental—decision not to allow this route is inconceivable. And as a practical matter I’m not sure he’s wrong. ( )
  rivkat | Jun 22, 2011 |
A fascinating and very approachable book. A lot of the data I've read of before from other sources, but not in this context and not as engagingly written. He makes a very scientific concept very easy to follow and enjoyable and he really makes you think about your motivations for buying things.

I find it fascinating how little we know about how we think and respond to things and how easy we are to manipulate. Even when we go in with our eyes wide open and the best of intentions to think and buy smart, they have ways around that.

I mean, who knew a company would spend a fortune on figuring out a way to make egg yolks a more appealing yellow and that it would even matter? ( )
  Kellswitch | May 17, 2011 |
Great engaging book that delivers on its title with something new to say. He goes over his studies in neuromarketing which examine the many factors used by marketing to persuade us. These studies explore a deeper level than we can verbalize. For example, while it appears sex sells he uncovers that it is really controversy that sells and sex may even be counter productive. ( )
  GShuk | Apr 24, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martin Lindstromprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Underhill, PacoForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Let's face it, we're all consumers.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385523882, Hardcover)

How much do we know about why we buy? What truly influences our decisions in today’s message-cluttered world? An eye-grabbing advertisement, a catchy slogan, an infectious jingle? Or do our buying decisions take place below the surface, so deep within our subconscious minds, we’re barely aware of them?

In BUYOLOGY, Lindstrom presents the astonishing findings from his groundbreaking, three-year, seven-million-dollar neuromarketing study, a cutting-edge experiment that peered inside the brains of 2,000 volunteers from all around the world as they encountered various ads, logos, commercials, brands, and products. His startling results shatter much of what we have long believed about what seduces our interest and drives us to buy. Among his finding:

Gruesome health warnings on cigarette packages not only fail to discourage smoking, they actually make smokers want to light up.


Despite government bans, subliminal advertising still surrounds us – from bars to highway billboards to supermarket shelves.

"Cool” brands, like iPods trigger our mating instincts.

Other senses – smell, touch, and sound - are so powerful, they physically arouse us when we see a product.

Sex doesn't sell. In many cases, people in skimpy clothing and suggestive poses not only fail to persuade us to buy products - they often turn us away .

Companies routinetly copy from the world of religion and create rituals – like drinking a Corona with a lime – to capture our hard-earned dollars.

Filled with entertaining inside stories about how we respond to such well-known brands as Marlboro, Nokia, Calvin Klein, Ford, and American Idol, BUYOLOGY is a fascinating and shocking journey into the mind of today’s consumer that will captivate anyone who’s been seduced – or turned off – by marketers’ relentless attempts to win our loyalty, our money, and our minds. Includes a foreword by Paco Underhill.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:44 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

How much do we know about why we buy? What truly influences our decisions in today's message-cluttered world? An eye-grabbing advertisement, a catchy slogan, an infectious jingle? Or do our buying decisions take place below the surface, so deep within our subconscious minds that we're barely aware of them? Marketing guru Lindstrom presents the startling findings from his three-year, seven-million-dollar neuromarketing study, a cutting-edge experiment that peered inside the brains of 2,000 volunteers from all around the world as they encountered various ads, logos, commercials, brands, and products. His startling results shatter much of what we have long believed about what seduces our interest and drives us to buy.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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