Thursday, March 08, 2007

Marketing speed ovens to the reptile brain

The TurboChef speed oven runs $7,895 for the double oven model. Granted, it combines microwave, convection, steam and infrared technologies, which provides even cooking, moistness and browning, all at high speed. It's amazing, but also pricey. How do you stimulate demand? Appeal to the reptile brain, according to the NYT.
To turn the oven from a stainless steel box to a must-have appliance, TurboChef also had to manufacture desire. First, Mr. Beshara hired G. Clotaire Rapaille, an anthropologist-turned-marketing-guru known for his provocative contention that focus groups, key to modern market research, are largely worthless.

According to Dr. Rapaille, most buying decisions ultimately have nothing to do with practical needs or rational decision making. Instead, he said, such decisions are made by the “reptilian mind,” the preconscious part of the brain where archetypes and primitive associations are imprinted, mostly before the age of 7. (Companies like NestlĂ©, Boeing and Chrysler have used Dr. Rapaille’s work to come up with, for example, the distinctive rounded rump of the PT Cruiser.)
The rest is history. Here's some more information about Dr. Rapaille and his Jungian "archetype analysis." In 2004 he also took a stab at "archetyping the presidency." See Dr. R's blog.

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