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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Marketing Voices in your Head?

Put yourself in this scenario. You are at the grocery store picking up a few necessities for your next adventure of cooking for your family. As you pass the bakery section you hear a voice in your head pointing out the scrumptious cakes and fresh baked breads. You know for a fact that you didn’t think it because it wasn’t your voice. Nobody else is around you. Do you freak out or just simply cave in to the new voices in your head and buy a cake and some fresh baked bread?

I first heard about this story from talk radio on Eagan and Braude from 96.9 FM in Boston and I was frankly shocked. The whole discussion revolved around this amazing and informative article in the Boston Globe…

The marketers have your ear
Beam of sound aims its messages
By Jenn Abelson, Globe Staff April 24, 2007

Advertisers have a new way to get into your head

Marketers around the world are using innovative audio technology that sends sound in a narrow beam, just like light, making it possible to direct messages right into consumers' ears while they shop or sit in waiting rooms.

The audio spotlight device, created by Watertown firm
Holosonic Research Labs Inc., has been used to hawk everything from cereals in supermarket aisles to glasses at doctor's offices. The messages are often quick and targeted -- and a little creepy to the uninitiated.

Court TV recently installed the audio spotlight in ceilings of bookstores to promote the network's new murder-mystery show. A voice, whispering, "Hey, you, can you hear me? Do you ever think about murder?" was beamed toward customers as they browsed the mystery section in several independent bookstores in New York.
– Boston Globe

I’m sorry but this kind of marketing should be made illegal immediately!

This kind of marketing reminds me of the advertising on television that was banned in the late fifties or sixties. Don’t quote me on this because I only recall this from a discussion my mother and grandmother had in the seventies. Advertiser would pay television stations for subliminal ads that would only run for one to three seconds. With the result being that you never saw the ad but something triggered a memory in you head.

My main concern regarding this laser like sound advertising is the many people that are on serious mental health medications because they already have too many voices in their head. This kind of marketing could trigger a relapse of individuals that have worked for years with therapists, counselors and psychiatrists on how to live and function in society with their personal mental health disorder.

My second concern is that if this technology is being used to sell merchandise that you never needed or wanted then what or whom is going to stop the myriad of possible abuses of the same technology? This technology in the wrong hands could be lethal. Picture the scenario of this technology being beamed at men and woman in bars to drink suggested high alcohol content products, they get behind the wheel and drive drunk and could possibly kill someone. Can the person that killed someone while drunk driving after being targeted by this type of marketing honestly and legally held accountable for the crime?

My third concern is the personal invasion of privacy. You can change the channel of a television or radio program that offends you but you can not avoid someone invading your personal space as you shop for your daily needs if they are targeting a beam of sound directly at you to sell products.

I would highly suggest to all stores or places of business that want to embrace this technology to think twice about it. Consumers should be forewarned that this technology is in use at the businesses they visit. Warning signs should be posted that this store and its new marketing technology may just send your twelve year old son or daughter into a relapse but thanks for buying those scrumptious cakes and fresh bread.

What is your opinion on this technology?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really REALLY agree with the above comment, this type of weapon MUST be looked at very closely by law enforcement, and annonced to the public, so victims have a hotline to call (the FBI??) so things such as virgina tech and columbine cannot be provoked with such technology,. PLEASE PLEASE help spread the word on this type of crime, because the government is covering up a really gross crime ring, at the expense of dead children.

9:13 AM  

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