I really liked that Salon article.
It even features one of the guys from the PBS doc.
This guy is a psychiatrist who deals with the "reptilian mind".
Can marketers really get inside a consumer's head to influence the choice they will make? For market researcher Clotaire Rapaille, the answer is yes. He believes all purchasing decisions really lie beyond conscious thinking and emotion and reside at a primal core in human beings. As chairman of Archetype Discoveries Worldwide, he helps Fortune 500 companies discover the unconscious associations for their products -- the simple "code" -- that will help them sell to consumers: "When you learn a word, whatever it is, 'coffee,' 'love,' 'mother,' there is always a first time. There's a first time to learn everything. The first time you understand, you imprint the meaning of this word; you create a mental connection that you're going to keep using the rest of your life. … So actually every word has a mental highway. I call that a code, an unconscious code in the brain." This interview was conducted on December 15, 2003.
(full interview is here)
Do you think that, ultimately, people can be figured out?
Part of my theory is that in the human world, nothing happens by chance, nothing. When you see people doing something, there is always a reason why, a code. I don't pretend I know all the codes, but when I work with a client and we try to break the code, then we understand why people do that. Nothing happens by accident in the human world. It's fascinating to try to understand, to break the code.
I'm not telling you that everybody is the same. No, I'm not telling you every human being is the same. It's not that. We are all unique. Even twins are different. Everyone is unique. But we have in common some structures that come from biology. For example, we are all human; we all come from a woman, which is what I call a biological scheme. We all come from a woman, not from a man. OK, so that's a structure. But then after that, we have things that are acquired that come from the culture. But then after that, the third level is your own structure, your identity. And you are unique. Everyone is unique.
So now we have three structures: You have your unique script, what I call personal script; then you have the cultural archetype; then you have the biological scheme. Now let's suppose you are in harmony with these three levels: Then you are happy. Let's suppose there is a disconnect between the three levels: Then you're very unhappy, right? So that the problem comes from the disconnect between you own script -- the way you function as a person -- your culture and your biology. That is a key dimension here. But people's behavior can be understood, definitely. I think that once you understand the power of code, then you can decode. Once you have the code, everything that people do start
And the codes can be translated into practical marketing strategies.
Yes, and those can be, of course, translated into how to address the real needs of the consumer, which means marketing practice and marketing strategies. For example, if I know that in America the cheese is dead, which means is pasteurized, which means legally dead and scientifically dead, and we don't want any cheese that is alive, then I have to put that up front. I have to say this cheese is safe, is pasteurized, is wrapped up in plastic. I know that plastic is a body bag. You can put it in the fridge. I know the fridge is the morgue; that's where you put the dead bodies. And so once you know that, this is the way you market cheese in America.
I started working with a French company in America, and they were trying to sell French cheese to the Americans. And they didn't understand, because in France the cheese is alive, which means that you can buy it young, mature or old, and that's why you have to read the age of the cheese when you go to buy the cheese. So you smell, you touch, you poke. If you need cheese for today, you want to buy a mature cheese. If you want cheese for next week, you buy a young cheese. And when you buy young cheese for next week, you go home, [but] you never put the cheese in the refrigerator, because you don't put your cat in the refrigerator. It's the same; it's alive. We are very afraid of getting sick with cheese. By the way, more French people die eating cheese than Americans die. But the priority is different; the logic of emotion is different. The French like the taste before safety. Americans want safety before the taste.