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Why Can’t I Remember the Specific Ads Shown before a Film?

Research from the 1930s found that when humans encounter a new word, they subconsciously pronounce it to themselves -- a process that helps people to become more familiar with the unfamiliar. The same is true with advertising -- viewers remember a new brand by silently simulating its pronunciation. However, in 2013, German researchers found that cinema audiences were less apt at remembering a new brand if they were eating popcorn while watching the ad -- leading the researchers to conclude that concentrating on snacking can disrupt the entire process.

How popcorn drowns out ads:

  • The research, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, found that this “inner speech” process is derailed by “oral interference,” making cinema advertising less effective.

  • "This finding suggests that selling candy (and popcorn) in theaters actually undermines advertising effects, which contradicts present marketing strategies,” said researcher Sascha Topolinski.

  • On average, popcorn is sold at a 900 percent markup, so it’s unlikely that cinemas will stop feeding moviegoers anytime soon.

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More Info: BBC

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