The 'Buyology' Behind The Way We Shop White iPod headphones. Bright blue Tiffany boxes. Corona with lime. Brand expert Martin Lindstrom says companies have been marketing directly to your subconscious. Lindstrom discusses his new book, Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy.
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The 'Buyology' Behind The Way We Shop

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The 'Buyology' Behind The Way We Shop

The 'Buyology' Behind The Way We Shop

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This is Talk of the Nation. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. As you do your shopping, this year between the sales, the crowds, the recession, I bet you're thinking pretty hard as you navigate the shopping mall and the supermarket. These days especially, you make careful decisions every time you fork over your credit card - weighing your options, the quality of the item, how much you really want it. Well, guess what. You may think you're making rational choices; you may believe you are, but a lot of the time you're not. The emotional parts of your brain intervene before your intellect even knows what's going on, and it turns out that the same mechanisms apply whether you're choosing a power drill for Uncle Ed, a baseball team, a movie star or a politician.

We're talking about the cutting-edge of marketing and technology. Neuromarketing, it's called and it beats the pants of standard market research because it doesn't rely on what we tell pollsters or how a few of us react in a focus group; it looks directly into our brains. Martin Lindstrom spent four years and $7 million on a project to combine market research and advanced scanning devices. He joins us in just a moment. Later in the hour, a triplet of stories coming out of Chicago: all the buzz from the Tribune's bankruptcy, laid-off workers holding a sit in to astonishing corruption charges against Governor Rod Blagojevich. We'll check in on the windy city.

But first, why do you buy what you buy? What's the brand loyalty you've never been able to shake, and you still can't explain it? Tell us your story. Our phone number, 800-989-8255, email, and you can join the conversation on our website. Go to and click on Talk of the Nation. Martin Lindstrom is a marketing expert and the author of "Buyology: Truth and Lies about What We Buy," and he joins us from the studios of Schweizer Radio in Bern, Switzerland. And nice to have you on Talk of the Nation today.

Mr. MARTIN LINDSTROM (Author, "Buyology: Truth and Lies about What We Buy"): Well, thanks, Neal. Thanks for inviting me.

CONAN: And let's begin with the Pepsi Challenge. Tests show that about half of us prefer Pepsi in blind taste tests, nowhere close to their actual market share. But then it gets really interesting when people know in advance that this cup is Pepsi and that cup is Coke.

Mr. LINDSTROM: Well, exactly what happened was really surprising, because when people were not aware of what they were drinking, they loved Pepsi. But when they were told while they had their brains scanned, DfMRI, the total opposite happens. The preference for the taste changed its mind, literally, and said, hey, I don't like Pepsi anymore; I do prefer Coke. So, what we learned here is that emotion time after time actually overwrites everything in our brains and make us change our mind, and we really believe what we're thinking.

CONAN: And so, as you put it, the generations of advertisements, all the jingles suddenly go off in our heads - the very Coke-iness(ph) of Coke, as you put it - is what makes our emotional part of our brain think, I like Coke.

Mr. LINDSTROM: Well, that's true. You know, what's fascinating about this, it happens every time. You have to remember, when you and I walk down the supermarket aisle, about 60 percent of all the brands we buy, we made those decisions in only four seconds. So, literary there's no way we can go through a concrete, deep analysis of every brand we pick down. Typically that is our soft conscious part of the brain which are making the choices for us.

CONAN: Our subconscious parts of the brain, and fMRI can tell us that how?

Mr. LINDSTROM: Well, the way it works is very simple. When we ask people in focus groups or whatever techniques we have, we answer things which we think are real or what we think is the truth, but the case is, we're so influenced by everything - we don't like the person interviewing us, may be in a bad mood today, or it really means that perhaps I'm actually not saying the truth because I'm not aware of what the truth is. With fMRI and all the similar neuroscience-based technologies we're looking to the brain. And what we do with fMRI - and the F stands for functional - we basically are running the whole movie of the brain to see what regions in the brains are activated. So, for example, when we did an amazing smoking study to see why people are smoking, we looked into an area called the nucleus accumbens; that's basically the craving spot in our brain. And when we could see that being activated, it fired it all, lit it up as a fireball, and then we knew there was activity going on. Then we had a team of professors and doctors out of Oxford in U.K. analyzing the data and then helping us to conclude what really goes on as people expose for ads, a TV commercials or whatever it may be.

CONAN: And the astonishing part of that smoking study was you were trying to figure out the effects of the warnings on cigarette boxes - and not just the namby-pamby warnings that we have in the United States...

(Soundbite of laughter)


CONAN: But the really horrifying things, the pictures of a black lungs and that sort of thing that they have on...

Mr. LINDSTROM: Exactly.

CONAN: On some of the Europeans cigarette packages, and it showed that, in fact, even when you're seeing horrible images and the words, smoking kills, it turns out smokers want to smoke more.

Mr. LINDSTROM: Yeah. You'll do exactly right, about what you're saying. No, here's the scary part. We actually smoke much more than we did in the past. If you take the entire world's population in over the last three years, we smoked 13 percent more. It's the same as 15 billion cigarettes was puffed up every day across the world. So, I wanted to find out why, and that's a reason why we decided to look into the health warnings. And those health warnings in North America is not very dramatic. In fact, even the European ones, which are saying smoking kill and actually takes the space of half a packet, is not as dramatic as the one from Canada and Brazil and Thailand and Australia, where you're literally see lungs and arms and legs cut off as a reflection of smoking too much. Whenever we scanned consumers' brains - smokers and former smokers - what happened was that the nucleus accumbens - so, the cravings spot in their brains - again were lighting as a fireball. We literally could see that one of the most powerful tools to make people smoke was the health warnings on cigarette packs.

CONAN: We're talking with Martin Lindstrom about his book, "Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy." If you'd like to join the conversation, tell us about the brand loyalty you can't shake, and can't quite explain, give us a call, 800-989-8255; email us, Let's begin with Matt, and Matt's calling us from St. Augustine in Florida.

MATT (Caller): Hi, Neal. Thanks for taking my call. I grew up with my dad in love - I'm 48 years old - and my dad was in love with Chrysler all his life, and I grew up with that sort of brand loyalty passed on. And I remember having an old beater of a Dodge Dart; it was bulletproof. But as we got into the '70s, we ended up with a few automobiles that were really pretty horrible, and it took us a long time to shake that brand loyalty. It just all seemed kind of relevant to this topic today, considering, with the big-three auto bailout, and I just thought I'd ask your comments on that. Are we little irrational on some of the big three that we still seemed to be a bit tied to?

CONAN: Martin Lindstrom, does the same mechanism apply if we're talking about a big-ticket item like an automobile that does when we're talking about a Coke or Pepsi?

Mr. LINDSTROM: Absolutely. In fact, it counts even more, because a big-ticket item is something we've been saving for a long time. Typically we will use it on many years because it's so expensive, and typically we buy that item because it also tells the surrounding world who we are. So, when Matt is telling this story, it's not unusual, and in fact, what we can see is that people typically, if they are really in love with a brand and it really sort of is letting them down, they typically are first changing the brand after the third attempt when they have been let down, because that is the brand loyalty. In the end of the day, Matt, by the way, your loyalty is almost like a human being, not the same, but almost. It's like if you have a good friend and he's letting you down once, you will not skip him. It has to take him a couple of tries before he really manages to make sure he doesn't like you and you don't like him anymore. So, really, it's the same here. It may be not as dramatic, but it's the same mechanism as we're talking about. It's emotions in systematic way.

MATT: That describes my experience to a tee. It took a couple of Dodge Aspens and Plymouth Volares to realize, hey, man, maybe we need to go to Japanese, and that's what we wound up doing.


(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LINDSTROM: But Matt, I have to ask you...

MATT: Well, thank you for taking my call, and I'll listen on the air now. Thanks again.

Mr. LINDSTROM: It sounds good.

CONAN: All right, Matt. Thanks very much. Let's see if we can go quickly now to William, William with us from Nashville, Tennessee.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WILLIAM (Caller): Well, I just caught the very end of that last call of the Chrysler guy and Dodge, and that's kind of funny because I just looked up online Ford and JD Power, and I found out that last year, Ford won more model awards than Toyota did. And I was just wondering how many people would actually, you know, say that or believe that.

CONAN: Even if they see it on television advertising, and Martin Lindstrom, that's one of the things you were investigating. How come advertising is so ineffectual?

Mr. LINDSTROM: Well, the reason why is because you and I are exposed to two million television commercials throughout life. That's the same as watching eight hours of TV commercials seven days a week for six years. That's really depressing, isn't it? And what happens right now is that, you know, the advertising industry cannot reach you anymore because you have a filter which is incredibly thick. So, what they're trying to do now is to capture your subconscious mind instead, and some brands are really good at that. For example, Apple. Now, we love Apple and we love Apple not necessarily because the mp3 player which is inside this iPod device is so great. We'd love it for other reasons.

Now, what actually saw from the Buyology study when we scanned people belonging to the faith of Christianity and then we compared that with people which are strong fans of Apple was exactly the same regions in the brain were activated. So, hate me or love me, but the fact is that Apple is a mini religion. So, what's happening here is not just me buying a brand; it's certainly a love affair which is much more deep, so much so that I believe in a brand to an extreme degree. And that is something which really doesn't - it doesn't count if it's a lot of new models coming out. At the end of the day, it's something else which comforts me; that is, the brand listens to me, I admire the brand, and people admire me because I wear or buy that brand.

CONAN: So, Matt - William, I guess the problem is we've all become a devout Toyota-ists, and it's going to take awhile before we reinvestigate the Ford faith.

WILLIAM: Oh, I'll do it. I'll do it, but I know most people won't.

CONAN: All right, William. Thanks very much.


CONAN: And happy driving. And the fascinating thing about all of these studies seems to be that this applies not just as we suggested earlier - not just to cars and toothpaste and soda pop - but to a lot of things - as you suggest, even asking people about their faith.

Mr. LINDSTROM: Yeah, that's right. You know, what we decided to do was to take a look at fans which are really hardcore fans of a brand. I was in Sydney the other day as they opened a new Apple store, and guess what. I met up with a young guy, Matt, and he's been waiting in line for 48 hours. And I said to him, why are you here? He said, I flew in from California, USA. Now that's only a 17-hour flight to Australia, and I said to him, why are you here? He said, I love the brand. I said, what do you get out of this? He said, well, I get a T-shirt. And that's very much, you know, a good reflection of when you really are a fan of a brand, something else is going on. What we learnt now and what the advertising community is starting to learn now is that strong religions actually are incredible powerful because they have some ingredients. Those are rituals and mystery and enemy preachers, and those ingredients are now being adapted into the world of brands.

CONAN: And we'll talk more about that in just a moment. Martin Lindstrom is with us. Again, his book is called "Buy-ology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy." What's your brand loyalty, and how do you keep from shaking it? 800-989-8255. Email, I'm Neal Conan. Talk of the Nation, NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

CONAN: This is Talk of the Nation. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Negative political ads work. We've heard that one before. Now, new research also tells us that product placement in movies is rarely effective, that many huge ad campaigns don't work at all, that what you smell can be as important as what you see in buying some products. We're talking with the author of the new book "Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy." Martin Lindstrom is a marketing and branding expert who studied the brains of shoppers to get the answers to those questions. In one case, a woman in Middlesex thought the warnings on cigarette packs were working on her, not exactly. Read about her turn in the fMRI machine on our website at

So, why do you buy what you buy? What's the brand loyalty you've never been able to shake? Can you explain it? 800-989-8255 is the phone number. Email us, You can also join the conversation on our website. That's at, and click on Talk of the Nation. Let's continue with Walter. Walter's with us from Kansas City.

WALTER (Caller): Good afternoon, gentlemen.

CONAN: Good afternoon.

Mr. LINDSTROM: Hi, there.

WALTER: Hi, there. How are you? I am, first of all, overall largely offended by marketing in general. Marketing works, and I'm not sure if I like that fact. And this new twist on - this new neuromarketing that you're describing is just, in my opinion, kind of another scary twist. My view on marketing in the past is that basically, it's legal fibbing, lying. Free speech allows false claims to be made on, let's say, you know, a good example is nutritional supplements, you know, that can do everything from enhance your whatever to fix your memory to all sorts of stuff. And I think we need to recognize that marketing is manipulation, and I don't know if regulation is the answer or what. And marketing - marketers would argue that people, you know, they're just responding with their freewill to what we're saying, but I don't know, I wonder if your guest could comment on freewill being maybe subverted by, you know, old marketing methods and then especially this new method...

CONAN: Campaigns that employ these new techniques. Yes, go ahead, Martin Lindstrom?

Mr. LINDSTROM: Well, listen, Walter. I 100-percent agree with you. I think that advertising is going too far right now, and I think the main problem here is that there is not a lot of regulations in North America about what you can and what you can't see. And I'm not saying regulation is the answer to everything, but I certainly am saying there are some times in order to you communicating to kids or saying certain statements in the air which really are not truthful, no, should not be legal, and I think many countries are failing on that criteria. So, first of all, let me say one thing. I 100-percent agree with you.

The second thing I want to say, neuromarketing is a little bit like a hammer. You can either hang up a beautiful painting on the wall and it's pretty positive; or you can use it as a weapon. And that's exactly the case here as well. When I decided to write the book and conduct this study, I wanted to do this study because people are fearful of neuromarketing. Can we place a buy-bot(ph) in consumers' brains? Is this the next generation of manipulation? Can we do bad stuff to consumers? And I wanted to find out mainly because, if we never find out, this monster may actually turn in to becoming a monster, and people actually will not be aware of it and can't stop it.

Now, here is the good news, Walter. None of those things are possible. The good news is as well we now actually can stop bad advertisers to do some bad stuff. And one of the industries I'm attacking big way is the tobacco industry, which, in fact now, we've proven that from the Buyology study, is running and using subliminal advertising, which were banned in 1957. That means that you are affected by subconscious signals around you every day. If you go into London pubs, for example, they're actually placing small, red tiles in the bathrooms, and they're doing that, funded by the tobacco companies, to make you want to smoke more at a subconscious level. That is what we're discovering right now. So, I think it's not just for the worse; actually, it's for the better in some cases, too.

CONAN: Here's something you wrote in your book and I wanted to read into this.

(Reading) I'm as susceptible to products and brands as anyone. I also want to sleep well at night knowing I've done the right thing. This is about - and then you add in - over the years, I've turned down projects that in my opinion crossed that line.

Like what? What projects have you turned down because they have crossed the line?

Mr. LINDSTROM: Many projects. The entire tobacco industry has actually attacked me over the last two, three years. They actually were the first in the world to hear about this project and tried to stop it three times. Later on, 14 times we've been contacted by most of the larger tobacco companies around the world. There's also certain beverages, certain types of food categories, certain types of toys where I feel that the kids are being destroyed by using the toys or where there's a war theme which I really don't like. In general, I try to stay away from communicating to kids using neuromarketing, not using other techniques as long as they're ethically correct. So, I'm really trying to set my own standard. That said, Neal, the case here is that there is no regulation around when it comes to neuromarketing, and that's really one of the main reasons why I'm writing the book, because I want to start a debate exactly like with what Walter is saying, to make sure that we as consumers are aware this is happening and can put a line in the sand and saying, how fast should this go? Where should we stop, and what should be legal?

CONAN: Walter, thanks very much for the call.


CONAN: Yeah?

WALTER: Neither here nor there, but I don't know if either of you have been watching "Mad Men," the last two seasons, but I just picked it up recently and I've just really enjoyed it.

CONAN: And it's instructive as well as entertaining.


CONAN: Thanks very much, Walter. Appreciate it.

WALTER: Thank you.

CONAN: Bye-bye. Now, we have an email from Brian in Pylesville, Maryland, who's teaching a marketing class at a high school there. The class is listening live, and they have also watched some of your videos on your website, and he's encouraged some of the students to submit questions today, but he also submitted a question. Can you give us an example of a product that did everything correctly but still failed to connect with the consumer? How did it go wrong?

Mr. LINDSTROM: Absolutely. Now, I think the Segway is a very good example of that. You remember the Segway, where there is, like, a mini-car into two wheels which you can stand on and it can run away. That one was predicted even by Steve Jobs to be the killer application of the world. They expected to sell almost millions of that Segway. And guess what. They only sold in the hundreds in the beginning of the release period. Everything was right. They even had promotions on They had a lot of PR, so much PR that I don't think any other release of a car has managed to have that much attention. But at the end of the day, what really happened here was that the mystery was not there.

They did everything right and everything went wrong. And what we see is - and I want to say that, too, to the class listening right now - nine out of 10 of all new product releases around the world is failing. Guess what. In Japan, it's 9.7 out of 10 new product releases which are failing. The reason why? We're more skeptical, point one, as consumers, which is good. But the second reason why is because when we interview consumers and we ask them what they really want, what they're saying and what really is the truth very rarely actually match together. Typically we can't express what we want, and that's the reason why a lot of products are totally waste of money.

CONAN: Here is one of the students writing a question, Lauren in Pylesville, Maryland. With all the logos and brand names that are shown in movies and TV shows today, will these soon be eliminated as a result of customer loyalty changing? Do people really pay attention to brands shown in the movies and TV enough to even continually include them?

Mr. LINDSTROM: Well, absolutely, Lauren. And I think - no, I want to take you back into a fascinating story which I love. The Coca-Cola bottle was developed in 1915, and the briefing originally was pretty intelligent. The briefing was to develop a bottle which is so systematically designed that if you break it down on the floor and it smashes into thousands of pieces of glass, you can still pick up one piece of glass and recognize the brand. And I've called that theory for smash of brand. And what's so powerful about that is if you take an Apple iPod today and look at it in the front, there's no logo on it. You still recognize that this is Apple. If you look at United Colors of Benetton, their ads, or you look at a Tiffany box, you will see that (unintelligible) color is enough to tell you who the brand is.

That is going to be the next generation of hard to build brands. You're no longer going to see that logo there; you're going to see what I define as mashable component, so a color or a shape. Just think about "Wall-E," the Disney movie. There you have a very shiny robot walking around supposedly that's sponsored by Apple. It looks like an Apple, but you really can't see it because there's no logo on it. At least on a subconscious level, however, we're aware that this is the Apple brand. And that's the way brands are going to appear as a product-placement feature, that you're not going to see the logo; you're going to see signals indirectly telling the story about the brand.

CONAN: So, it will matter less that James Bond prefers a certain brand of vodka. It's really the more subtle signal that will work.

Mr. LINDSTROM: Well, that's right, Neal. And I think, Neal, when it comes to James Bond, he had - he spent around $100 million product-placement-wise in the latest movie which was released a couple of weeks ago here in United States. And what's interesting is we can see from the study that mostly it's a total waste of money. If you take a look at "American Idol," which we were testing when we tested Coca-Cola, we tested Ford and Cingular before they turned in to be AT&T, we learned that Coca-Cola was doing a great job and so was, by the way, Cingular, now AT&T.

But Ford was a total waste of money, and the reason why was because our brains want to make sure they can justify why a brand is appearing in a movie. If it supports the storyline, if the actor becomes the hero, our brain would say, hey, that makes sense. Let me remember that. But if it's totally out of context, then suddenly the brain will actually delete the brand in the brain and then I'd just have to sell it to you, what does the heck does a Ford car have to do with a singing contest? And that's the reason why Ford was spending supposedly $26 million sponsoring that show every year. Literally, it's deleting the brand in the brain. Now, it's not to say that "American Idol" is a waste of money for Ford; they just needs to change the concept, but at the present format, it certainly is deleting the brand in the brain.

CONAN: Let's get Marie Elena on the line calling from Aurora in Colorado.

MARIE ELENA (Caller): Hi. Thanks for taking my call. I just wanted to comment. I come from an island in the Caribbean, and I've been here for 30 years, but I realize that we - they used a primary product that came to the island first, actually became part of the language. For example, people would refer to refrigerators as Frigidaires. People would refer to napkins that you can clean your nose as Kleenex, and you even order a soda not by saying soda pop, by ordering, can I have a Coke? And then they refer, well, do you want, you know, a lime Coke or whatever Coke? And they refer to it as a Coke. And I found that I shop a lot of times, even if it's been 30 years, I still shop with those brands.

CONAN: And I assume you make you copies on a Xerox machine, too.

MARIE ELENA: Exactly. Well, it's my first job, too, was at a Xerox place, and I make Xeroxes. I don't make copies; I make Xeroxes, exactly.

CONAN: And is that ultimate goal? To have your brand name enter the language as the embodiment of that idea?

Mr. LINDSTROM: Well, yes and no. It is a goal, and I think a lot of brand marketers are flattered by it. The problem, however, is that suddenly it actually becomes generic and the company cannot control it anymore. That's the reason why supposedly Google were objecting to put the term into the U.K. dictionary, saying Googling, because they were afraid of that it becomes a generic term for searching. And if it comes to a generic term, what happens is that they can no longer either copyright it or trademark it or whatever type of term we're using for that particular device. So, in the end of the day, it is incredible powerful, yes, but if it goes too far, it actually turns against you and can be a little bit of a disaster.

CONAN: Marie Elena, thanks very much for the phone call.

MARIE ELENA: Thank you. Great show.

CONAN: Thank you. Martin Lindstrom is our guest. His book, "Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy." You're listening to Talk of the Nation from NPR News. And here's an email from Amanda in Winston Salem, North Carolina. I don't really have brand loyal to any brand, but I'm willing to bet if you hook me up to an fMRI and showed a reel of cute, brightly colored commercials from Japan, my brain would light up like the Vegas Strip. I don't know what it is about Japanese products, but I can't seem to get enough of them. I even import them on websites like eBay and And, so are Japanese advertisements better in that regard than American ones?

Mr. LINDSTROM: No, they're not. They're just very, very different. The Japanese market is known for one thing; that is, that they're releasing almost three times as many new brands as in the rest of the world. We are exposed for eight years of television commercials throughout life in Japan; only six years in United States. So, they actually have a competition, which is incredibly hard. But what they're doing which is different is that they are building a lot of human dimensions into their commercials. So, Hello Kitty and a lot of the other cartoons coming out of Japan are really human, and people love them because they can see themselves in them. You know, I spoke to a Hello Kitty fan the other day. She had 19,000 pieces of merchandising items at home, and not only that, her husband has a website called

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LINDSTROM: Which probably is not as surprise, considering that his wife is so obsessed with the brand. So, they do know what brand obsession is, they're really good at doing it, and lots of the fans we're seeing around the world indeed comes out Japan. But there's other reasons why and it's not necessarily ads.

CONAN: Let's get Mike on the line, and Mike calling us from Columbus in Ohio.

MIKE (Caller): Yes, I have a comment and a question. First, a comment: I've worked in marketing and advertising for a number of years, and I wondered if this is severely regulated or controlled or whatever. How do people find out - how are people going to find out about brands? Secondly, the question: I don't know that it's been covered so far, but how does a person form his or her initial attachments to a brand?

CONAN: On that first point, I'll say that the First Amendment is going to make it awfully difficult to impose any kind of regulations on this sort of thing. But anyway, on the second point, if you would, Martin Lindstrom?

Mr. LINDSTROM: Well, the way you create a relationship with the consumer is to make sure you mirror the consumer's emotions into the brand. So, if I really love a brand, typically, I love it because I feel the brand understands me, but also because it reflects something which I'd like to stand for or something I can relate to.

I think a good example here is the Mini Cooper, the car. Now, what's interesting is that car was actually manufactured using fMRI in Germany, where they wanted to replicate a cute, little baby face, and guess what. As people watch that particular car, had their brain scanned, they actually had exactly the same brain reaction as if you're watching a baby face. It was such a cute, little baby face that people just wanted to touch it. That was one of the reasons why that brand became so popular, because it was a humanization of a car and because a lot of people, in particular the female, doesn't feel that cars are very human and very sort of lovable;, that really struck a chord with them. So, the trick here is, if you can talk about tricks at all, is to make sure you can relate to the brand. The brand actually have an opinion, an opinion you can relate to. And most importantly, that brand tells the world who you are and who you're not, because quite often, we want to be seen as being more important than we are, and brands are helping us to make that happen.

CONAN: Thanks, Mike.

MIKE: Thank you very much.

CONAN: And here's an email, Todd in Southfield, Michigan. French's Mustard, Heinz Ketchup and Mountain Dew, we will never stray from these brands. And well, I guess, that's typical of a lot of people once they're set. That's why marketers aim for that 19-to-34 niche. Once you're set with the brand, you may remain loyal to it for the rest of your life.

Mr. LINDSTROM: Well, that's right, but it's not just because we love the brand. We could take Heinz Tomato Ketchup. It has another feature, and that is the tactile sensation. You know, that glass bottle creates a feeling of quality and also, we feel the taste is better just because we're touching it. So, what's interesting here is that tactile sensation also tells a lot about the brand. I, for example, took Toblerone chocolate - I'm in Switzerland right now - and I melted it into a chocolate bar, gave it to consumers and said to them, what do you think about the taste? And people hated the taste. It was only when they had this triangle chocolate in the mouth that they feel the taste was wonderful, even though it's exactly the same chocolate. So, branding is much more than what we see. It's all our senses at play.

CONAN: Martin Lindstrom, thank you for the instruction. Fascinating stuff. We appreciate your time today.

Mr. LINDSTROM: You're welcome.

CONAN: Martin Lindstrom joined us. He's the author of "Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy." He was with us from Schweizer Radio in Bern in Switzerland. Up next, Senate seats, lies and audio tapes: what Chicagoans make of the new corruption charges, bankruptcy and Obama mania. It's the Talk of the Nation from NPR News.

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