Kevin Simler posted article called Ads Don’t Work That Way explaining the how cultural imprinting works in advertising. « Cultural imprinting is the mechanism whereby an ad, rather than trying to change our minds individually, instead changes the landscape of cultural meanings — which in turn changes how we are perceived by others when we use a product. »

« In this way, cultural imprinting relies on the principle of common knowledge. For a fact to be common knowledge among a group, it’s not enough for everyone to know it. Everyone must also know that everyone else knows it — and know that they know that they know it… and so on.

So for an ad to work by cultural imprinting, it’s not enough for it to be seen by a single person, or even by many people individually. It has to be broadcast publicly, in front of a large audience. »

« If an ad works primarily by making emotional associations, it shouldn’t matter how fragmented the audience is — all that should matter is the total number of impressions (inceptions) the ad is able to make. On the other hand, if an ad works primarily by cultural imprinting, then we would expect the giant Superbowl audience to be more valuable than the fragmented audience of the same size. Why? Because during the Superbowl, everyone knows that everyone else is watching… »

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