About a month ago I was having a lunch with a few SEO guys and it’s no great surprise that the topic of marketing came-up. In particular, the technique used by many businesses that involves creating a positive brand impression to children so as they grow-up, they will subconsciously prefer one brand to another due to the experiences with that brand from a young age.
Incidentally, this is also the same reason we tend to enjoy the music we do – research shows that music heard at different times of our lives will have different levels of impact. Particularly music heard in our prime phases of development – such as babies (even back to when we’re in the womb) and then again music heard in our teenage years (as we’re starting to develop our own sense of individuality and identity) will tend to stick with us for the rest of our lives.
I’m not saying that it will be the exact bands or songs, but the rhythmic patterns, nuances, timbre etc. will often be recognised in new songs that we hear on the radio and think “hey I really like that”… so if you’ve ever wondered why you like the music you do, that’s one possible explanation. There’s a whole bunch of other stuff too, but that’s really not the purpose of this post…
So back to the marketing story… I made reference to how I remember that BP Service/Petrol/Gas Stations used to sell small Smurf figurines at the counter. I can’t remember if I ever owned any and I can’t say that I have ever been a huge Smurf fan… but I do remember those little figurines.
Now selling Smurf’s at a Servo may sound pretty pointless as it has nothing to do with petrol – but the idea is that (as an adult) if you need petrol and there are 3 places all with the same pricing and roughly the same distance away, you’ll go with the brand you feel the closest association with. So if that means choosing BP because of the $1 Smurf figurines that your Dad would buy you to keep you amused on those long car trips when you were 5… then BP end-up being the big winners.
So, as I mention this, the guys at the table start making some jokes about why I remember that specific example and before I know it, one of the guys has pulled-out his iPhone and twittered that I have a “thing” for Smurf’s.
This creates a humorous short-lived twitter conversation between myself and a few friends when I get back to the office and once that was done, I figured that would be the last of it.
A few weeks later, I’m chatting with someone else online and through a completely unrelated chain of events, the topic of Smurf’s come-up and I make a passing comment “don’t get me started”… and presto… my apparent Smurf fetish is reinvigorated.
I have come to the acceptance, this probably isn’t going away anytime soon… so while I don’t have a genuine fascination with little blue people in white floppy hats, online rumours may suggest otherwise. It’s just lucky that I quite like those people responsible for starting and circulating the rumours and I figure a Smurf fetish isn’t as bad as rumours going around that I’m gay (which I’m not… but.. arrr crap, here we go again).