‘a shift in attentional style has led to advertising losing its humanity and its ability to entertain; it has turned sour’.

A big thanks to Orlando Wood, from System1 for referencing our research in Lemon his excellent new book published by the IPA  (and for the shout out at the launch event in London on 7th November.)

In our whitepapers with Reach, ‘Why We Shouldn’t Trust Our Gut Instincts’ (2018)  and ‘The Empathy Delusion’ (2019) we used a range of frameworks from behavioural science and cross-cultural psychology to chart a dramatic shift in the thinking styles, ethics and culture of the advertising and marketing industry. We showed that marketing professionals consistently exhibit a preference for analytical thinking and individualistic values and morality that contrasts with the public’s preferences for holistic thinking and interdependent, community orientated values.

Orlando has now shown conclusively how this pre-ocupation with individualistic values and analytical thinking has led to the crisis in creativity and a general decline in the effectiveness of advertsing. Lemon presents a longitudinal analysis that charts a significant rise in ‘left-brained style’ advertising which is analogous to our definition of ‘analytical thinking’ (i.e. narrow, dissagregated, individualistic, focused on the self) in the last 10-15 years. Crucially, his analysis shows that ‘left brain advertising’ is less effective than right brain advertising that focuses on more holistic creativity (e.g. human connections and relationships).

The next step is to figure out how the industry can turn this around and rediscover its humanity. house51 and Reach will have more to say on that in the New Year. Watch this space!

You can download ‘The Empathy Delusion’ and ‘Gut Instinct’ on the Reach Solutions website here