Marketing To Women Through The Magic Of Mirror Neurons

Every night before we start to make dinner, Husband turns on the TV that sits in the kitchen nook so that he can catch some of the latest news (I make him turn it to “Jeopardy” while we eat – we are quite the competitive couple).

Since I’m immersed in the world of advertising, my brain pretty much ignores every commercial that airs while I’m puttering around the kitchen.  But this one grabs my attention every time:

The Pure Fitness chain has advertised on all of the local TV channels for years, yet this is the first time I’ve not only noticed one of their commercials, I look forward to watching it again and again.

Why?  Two reasons:

1.  Authenticity. While the ad was created by a respected video company, it has a spontaneous, You Tube-like texture to it.  It shows groups of people exercising in ways that are different from the traditional stereotype of how a gym is usually portrayed, and shows those people smiling, laughing, and (gasp!) having fun.

2.  Mirror Neurons. These little guys have one of the most delightful jobs in the brain.  When you view an act that you find attractive or appealing, the mirror neurons send a signal to your brain, telling you to mimic, or “mirror,” the action you are viewing.  By watching the members at Pure Fitness having a genuinely great time while moving and getting fit, your brain says, “Hey!  That looks like fun!  Let’s do it, too!”

Pure Fitness uses this footage for their TV commercial, but maybe you don’t advertise on television.  How could you do something similar?

Videotape people using your product, or have customer send in their own examples.  Then, place them on your website, just like Strider Sports did to show their unique bikes for beginners.

Videotape the happenings at special events, charity events that you sponsor, etc., then create a video montage showing your involvement in the community.  Put it on your website, and include it in presentations you give at Rotary.

Try to think of other ways you can grab the attention of your customer’s mirror neurons.  We talk a lot about “show, don’t tell.”  How can you show folks what you’re really all about?

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13 Responses to “Marketing To Women Through The Magic Of Mirror Neurons”

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  1. Jeff says:

    Great ad and an even better analysis, Michele,

    I’d say that the other aspect of mirror neurons is there involvement in coordinated group movement of the kind not only shown but very prominently featured in the video. Moving that quickly, that closely together, you have to sort of let your mirror neurons take over, because anticipating the movements of the person to your left, right, front, back happens faster than your conscious mind can handle. Letting your mirror neurons take over in that situation not only helps you move to the group, but emotionally bonds you with your partners. Dancing partners bond – go figure ; )

    So when you watch all those, for lack of a better word, “dancing” gym-folk having fun, your it’s like a double dose of mirror neurons.

    – Jeff

  2. rick copper says:

    I like it, but did it have to come with a photo of a woman with a chimp? All it did was remind me of the chimp who went crazy and… well, that’s enough.

  3. Wow – I couldn’t take my eyes off that TV spot either.

    It works for all the reasons you stated. By focusing on group exercise rather than an individual on a weight machine it changes the whole dynamic of the commercial.

    I also love the videos for Strider. Thanks for sharing two great examples of marketing to women (and men) done well.

  4. Rick Henkin says:

    Getting away from the traditional gym activity of lifting weights was a great idea (although I would have shown at least one shot of a weight room, for those who enjoy pumping iron).

    I also thought that seeing large groups of people seemingly having fun while exercising and even doing it outdoors was a great idea. It encourages those who may not like to exercise.

  5. Renee Malove says:

    Don’t you love looking at yourself in the mirror each morning and realizing that you’re exactly the kind of customer advertisers hate? While putting together a print campaign not too long ago I drove the other members of the team crazy by pointing out that 90% of the ideas they came up with would inspire me to drop the piece directly into the trash.

    With that in mind, it was great to see not only a commercial that sparked my interest but also came with an explanation of WHY it worked. Mirror Neurons…hm. I’m not sure how to apply those to the printing industry right the second, but as soon as I figure it out it’s going to become an integral part of our marketing campaign. Thanks!

  6. Jeff – right on. And leave it to you know expound upon this topic in your usual brilliant way.

    Holly – I knew you’d like this ad! This and Strider are such inexpensive ways to “show rather than tell.” It’s amazing that more businesses don’t do this.

    Rick – If you like, I can send you a link to the Pure Fitness series – it seems they have created different commercials for different mindsets. Interesting.

    Renee – So true – sounds like you have your hands full in trying to convince folks what works and what doesn’t. The first thing you can try? Show us a photo of a person USING a product, rather than just the product itself.

  7. Jeff says:

    Try watching the video without the sound turned off. The music has a HUGE emotional impact that goes perfectly with the visuals -it just screams “FUN” and “on the move.” Not sure where they got the soundtrack from, but it MAKES this commercial!

    Seems obvious, but sometimes the obvious gets overlooked.


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