Brands over Brains

NPR aired an interesting show based on talks given on TED and one episode was meaningfully called Brand over Brain. The main focus of the program was about the power of brands.
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The main focus of the program was about the power of brands. The episode started with an interview with filmmaker Morgan Spurlock that after “Super size me” realized another documentary naming it “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”.
For those of you that haven’t seen it, this movie documents the attempts of Spurlock to convince brands to sponsorship his movie in change of advertisement for them. However, as he explains during his radio conversation, “Over the course of this film, we had 500-plus companies who were up-and-down companies saying, no, they didn’t want any part of this project. They wanted nothing to do with this film mainly because they had no control. They would have no control over the final product.”

So, the first lesson learned from this talk is that brands want to have control of how their image look likes.
Moreover, thanks to the great experience he gathered working at this project, Spurlock thinks that we are people are not seduced by brands. “I think – he says – we’re seduced by the imagery that surrounds that brand. It’s that these pants are going to make you slimmer.”
This radio shows analyze the origins of pleasure interviewing Paul Bloom professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University. Among the ideas he explains, there is a Demarketing lesson. As Bloom states, “You could make a consumer product more valuable simply by having it scarce.”
A third lesson is about the function of our brain. According with the Yale professor, “The cool finding of research into branding is that we’re also powerfully swayed by our belief system. And sometimes, our belief system can cause us to take something which would be typically of no value at all, and give it value.” So, beliefs guide our perception of reality and ultimately following them drive us to experience more pleasure that knowing the truth.
Finally, being a conversation about how our minds respond to the message they get from advertisement, an important point is expressed by marketer Rory Sutherland. As he says advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. All in all, “How you frame things really matters.”
So let’s tell us a story, let’s pack it in a nice frame, let’s our mind believe that it’s the truth and our perception of reality will be more pleasant. And pay attention, since we are the creators we can have full control of it!


NPR. (2014, May 9). Brand over brain. IN TED Radio Hour. Retrieved from

3 thoughts on “Brands over Brains

  1. Morgan Spurlock’s movie, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” was such an awesome movie to watch. It showcases the things such as branding, brand loyalty, etc. Spurlock always knows how to make people think about their roles in society. I loved the part in the film when Spurlock asked Ralph Nader where he could go to not see any advertisements Nader replied by saying, “To sleep.”


  2. I think looking at how the creatives create and generate a brand’s image and its name is interesting. I find it cool how something regular can once have no value, but because of creative storytelling, which essentially what advertising is, can make it have value.


  3. Personally, I don’t judge a product by its brand name or image. But I agree with Tika and your post that an interesting brand name and image helps the product to gain more users’ attention to some extent. As we all know, the competition in the market is fierce right now. Thus it is significant to storify the brand and make it more compelling to consumers.


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