Thursday, June 30, 2011

Experiment Creates Advertisements To Sell Food To Monkeys

Keith Olwell and Elizabeth Kiehner had an epiphany last year. At a TED talk, the two New York advertising executives learned that captive monkeys understand money, and that when faced with economic games they will behave in similar ways to humans. So if they can cope with money, how would they respond to advertising?

Laurie Santos, the Yale University primatologist who gave the TED talk, studies monkeys as a way of exploring the evolution of the human mind. A partnership was soon born between Santos, and Olwell and Kiehner's company Proton. The resulting monkey ad campaign was unveiled on Saturday at the Cannes Lions Festival, the creative festival for the advertising industry.

The objective, says Olwell, is to see if advertising can make brown capuchins change their behaviour. The team will create two brands of food – the team is considering making two colours of jello – specifically targeted at brown capuchins, one supported by an ad campaign and the other not.

How do you advertise to monkeys? Easy: create a billboard campaign that hangs outside the monkeys' enclosure.


Full story here.
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