Advertising moves beyond humans to monkeys


Two advertising executives were so intrigued by a talk they heard about a study which found that monkeys could understand money as a concept that they’ve helped create a study to determine whether advertising will affect monkey behavior. The study was unveiled last weekend at the Cannes Lions Festival for the advertising industry.

As detailed by the New Scientist website the experiment will use billboards to pitch one brand of new food over another. Advertising veterans Keith Olwell and Elizabeth Kiehner teamed with Yale primatologist Laurie Santos to create the study. Both foods will be new to the monkeys and equally delicious, but one will be advertised and the other not.

The billboards advertising one of the new foods will be placed outside the monkeys’ enclosure where they can see the ads. After a period of exposure, they will be offered both foods. Will they pick the one they had seen on the billboards?

No doubt we and the advertising industry will be waiting for the results.

RBR-TVBR observation: This will raise some new issues for billboard companies wanting to get into this hot new market. Which billboards get the most monkey traffic? And what is the proper CPM? (Cost Per Monkey) It would seem this could be adapted to television, but we really can’t figure out how radio could get into this monkey business.