Science in Advertising

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Category archives for Science in Advertising

Women have white matter, men have duct tape. Or so implies Louann Brizendine’s latest book, the Male Brain, dissected in this post and comments at Language Log: You may remember the controversy surrounding her previous book, the Female Brain, which (in the UK edition) depicted women’s cerebrums as overstuffed, exploding purses. So for men, this…

A few thoughts on this ad I spotted last week in Boston: 1. Yes, that appears to be a giant gel electrophoresis. Geez, this town is nerdy. 2. I hope that attractive woman is supposed to be a genetics PhD. Because we’re all supermodels. 3. Why didn’t I ever think to do a random restriction…

One of my pet peeves is the idea that BMI provides an accurate indication of individual health. It doesn’t. It’s useful across populations (and may be useful to individuals to monitor progress), but when it comes to indicating which individuals are “healthier”, BMI fails miserably – and our new Sciblings at Obesity Panacea do a…

For the annals of humorous translation mistakes, this package from a digital antenna we bought last fall promises to . . . do something. I’m not sure what. For John O, who enjoys terrible advertising.

A blunt animated message for Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics, with Portland’s Borders Perrin Norrander (full credits here) Via Notcot and others.

Campbell’s is redesigning their iconic red-and-white soup packaging. Why? The answer’s in your brain – or so they think: Campbell’s said traditional customer feedback wasn’t telling the company why soup sales weren’t doing so hot. “A 2005 Campbell analysis revealed that, overall, ads deemed more effective in surveys had little relation to changes in sales,”…

Modeling the flight of a bat (click to enlarge) Dave Willis et. al., Brown University and MIT Visual complexity is a paradox. On the one hand, complexity is a compelling feature known to capture a viewer’s attention and stimulate interest. . . . On the other hand, complexity only arouses curiosity up to a point.…

Playing with your brain

Why time goes slower when we get older Rhonald Blommestijn for Douwe Draaisma interview, Audi Magazine Dutch graphic designer Rhonald Blommestijn’s illustrations play with medical and technical themes in unexpected ways. Check out his blog, and his series of concept illustrations for the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

The Periodic Table of Wine

Another clever use of the periodic table in design: Washington State’s Wines of Substance, who won Seattle Magazine’s “Coolest Wine Label” Award in 2008. According to Substance, “wine is as much an art as it is a science. What better way to express this basis than a Periodic Table of Wine with each varietal reflected…

A different kind of dirty bomb

A question I used to get fairly frequently is “what medical advance has saved the most lives?” Guesses usually include antibiotics, vaccines, and septic surgical method, but it’s probably. . . clean water. Not a medical advance, you say? Maybe not, at least the way most people think of medicine – but sadly there are…