Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Suicidal GM robot fails to inspire consumer confidence
By James Bryant

According to researchers at UCLA, General Motors is now turning consumers off in a physiologically measurable way.

After the Super Bowl, researchers at UCLA showed about 20 ads that aired during the big game to five women and five men while measuring their reactions to the ads with a gizmo called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Different emotions prompt activity in different centers in the brain which increases blood flow to those brain centers. The fMRI basically detects the increase in blood flow to a given area of the brain that is associated with different feelings or emotions.

GM’s ad, [featuring] a clumsy automotive assembly robot having an anxiety attack complete with suicidal daydream fantasy, evidently freaked out the UCLA test subjects, as the fMRI scan revealed their brain centers associated with fear and anxiety were lit up like the JumboTron at Dolphin Stadium.

This is ironic for at least a couple of reasons:

- The ad’s point was to put the potential GM customer’s mind at ease via the new GM 100,000 mile warranty. The fMRI scans suggest an existentially disturbed robot was not the best way to get this point across. [...]

In fairness to GM, the UCLA researchers suggested that Honda’s Super Bowl ad was considered to be the least effective of all, as test subjects [had a greater response to a blank screen than to the Honda ad]...


Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I think it's cute how 'researchers' start with the assumption that people watching the Super Bowl are thinking about anything.

February 15, 2007 8:00 AM  

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