Neuromarketing – How to Focus the message on YOU

Yet another reason to ensure you’re using Adblock.

I’m betting this won’t work for broadcasting, except in those very rare cases where there is a genuine consensus, like, say, the desirability of living long and prospering. In the more typical scenario, where beliefs and opinions are divided, sometimes bitterly, any neuromarketing broadcast to the population at large, will be as likely to alienate as motivate. Mind you, I concede that provoking such polarization will occasionally be the aim and yes, it will work in that context.

But when they start narrowcasting with these techniques, we’ll see some really serious social, commercial and political manipulation made relatively scalable and trivial. And targeted web advertising is right in the centre of their sights as we speak. It’s whole point is narrowcasting, where they know, already, what mindset and beliefs the target holds. Armed with that insight it is clearly going to be pretty easy pretty soon to pick the symbolism which will most profitably leverage that knowledge.

You’ll even persuade yourself you wanted to do it.

BBC News – Email and web use ‘to be monitored’ under new laws

Best April Fool story I’ve come across so far today. Attracted over 1500 comments and from the first couple of pages, they don’t seem to have twigged. Furthermore the same story is appearing in the Daily Mail and the Telegraph. (Which is a worrying illustration of how credible such an authoritarian story actually is…)

One clue to the spoof is that they’re all quoting the same source (the Sunday Times) and you can’t read the Sunday Times original without paying. Clever ruse. Another clue is it’s absence from journals who actually have a clue about the web – like The Register.

And the final “clue” is that, were it not an April Fool, the pillocks would have provided the biggest single incentive to home grown terrorism in British history and even I don’t think they’re quite that stupid…

(update April 2nd) …oh shit. Apparently they are…

BBC News – Email and web use 'to be monitored' under new laws.

Home – This Is Not A Film

amazingly courageous film maker smuggled the film he is not allowed to make out of his police state. Frankly I don’t know if you will help or hurt him by supporting his efforts. The more popular he becomes outside in the real world, the more the Iranian authoritarians may be inclined to victimize him…

Home – This Is Not A Film.

Flying like a bird | part 14/14 – YouTube

Inspirational. Even if it’s NOT real…

The web is currently divided between sceptics and believers. The sceptics are whingeing that it’s physically impossible. That’s because they’re assuming it’s human-powered flight. It isn’t. And no-one is pretending that it is. It’s servo assisted with battery-powered engines and controlled by Wii interfaces. All entirely plausible, subject only to the amount of battery power he needs and can carry – which would explain why he can only manage a couple of hundred metres – though that is about 3 times as far as the Wright Brothers first flight.

Clever stuff and the result of an engineering graduate’s 8 month R&D project. The whole 15 part story is on youtube. Well worth watching. This is the final part – the successful flight that made it all worthwhile.

I’d say he’s scored an A there…

If, that is, it’s real. And this story has become more interesting to me because it’s hotly disputed and yet impossible to either verify or refute. A classic Trusted Surveillance case study. It wouldn’t be an issue if he had a fully documented audit trail open to examination if disputed.

On the Up side, the project is plausible, as confirmed by the interview with Prof Bert Otten. I’ve been able to check him out and he really is a Professor of Neuromechanics at the University of Groningen.

On the Down side, Jarno Smeets is a pseudonym (hardly something I’m going to complain about) but one without any previous history. Like it was invented purely for the purpose of this project.

On the Up side, if it is a fake, I’d give him an A for that. The sheer amount of effort that has gone into it, fake or not, makes it, at the very least, a work of art.

On the Down side, if it was real, why on earth would he be so reluctant to repeat it, in front of the world’s cameras?

That last, for me at the moment, is the most significant fact. I can’t believe that anyone who had done that for real would be so reticent about repeating the feat. Indeed, failing to respond to the obvious demand would be bordering on the psychotic – given the huge appearance fees he could probably command, not to mention the obvious range of product endorsements he could subsequently select from. He would quickly and easily become a multi millionaire, which would in turn, fund his other no doubt equally ambitious projects. What kind of nutter would reject such an opportunity?

But even that’s not a clincher. He’s Dutch and the Scandinavians are notoriously prone to anti-commercialism. Think Linus Torvalds, ferinstance, who created Linux for free. Yes he has done well for himself as a result of the reputation that earned him. But that’s the point. He earned it. That could be the motivation of Mr Smeets…

The Fence “Jerry Means” – YouTube

fascinating, sinister 6 minute video “Short” made by my new collaborator Todd Randall. Over the next 18 months or so, we’re going to try to give “Talking to God” the video treatment…

The Fence "Jerry Means" – YouTube.

Invisible Children | Kony2012

Damn! This looks like it could actually work. Let’s see if we can help it along a little.

It certainly takes care of this year’s PFL battlegroup, we usually lend ironic support to some villain or other. We broke with tradition last year and chose the hero who started the Arab Spring (Mohammad Bouazizi). Time to get back to where we belong, with the bad guys. And they don’t come much badder than the medieval style arch-criminal Joseph Kony.

What particularly struck me about the video is the intelligent construction of the message. There is nothing that anyone (apart, possibly, from the target, Joseph Kony) can take issue with. At one stage, I thought the narrator was being a bit heavy handed with his own kid, Gavin, but when he made the point that kids of Gavin’s age are among Kony’s victims, it made the scene utterly justifiable.

Also I’m impressed that he hasn’t demanded blood – which would be more eminently justified in Kony’s case than any other criminal, political or private, alive today. This alone sets an enormous precedent. As would a positive result arising from an inspiring web run campaign based on true consensus. We ALL want to see the bastard stopped and brought to justice. We ALL want to see, as far as possible the enormous damage he has wrought, reversed.

No one’s going to argue “on the one hand this, on the other, that”. From the Westboro Baptist Church (who might argue that Kony represents God’s punishment for our tolerance, nay, encouragement of Sodomy) to the Government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (who might argue that Kony is a natural consequence of Capitalism and its selective morality) we ALL want the same thing.

That’s VERY rare. Almost unique. It might even be enough.

And, if it is, you’ll have played your part in what the world may one day come to see as the first act of REAL Global democracy. That’ll be something to tell the grandkids.

So watch it and weep. Then sign up and join the movement…

KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

Invisible Children | Kony2012.

Invisible Children | Kony2012

It would be excellent if a web based campaign somehow provided the solution to this, so far, intractable problem, where the international community has so spectacularly failed…

Invisible Children | Kony2012.