Selling Booze to Teens Via Top 40 Music Lyrics

Marketing Alcohol to Kids and Teens in Song

One of my passions is the ways in which we are influenced without our knowledge. These are referred to as subconscious influences. And it turns out we are far more easily influenced than we realize.

Priming studies have consistently shown that we are influenced by a task as simple as unscrambling four sentences. Given the right word, these priming tasks have been shown to effect short term memory, pace of walking, aggression, degree of politeness, and body posture.

So it was with great interest that I looked at this new study looking at the effects of music lyrics on alcohol consumption in teens in the United Kingdom. As one in five songs in the top ten in the UK reference booze, do these lyrics have any impact on teen drinking? Which raises other critical questions, if behavior is affected by lyrics, what effect are the myriad of songs referencing prescription pill use, marijuana use, illegal drug use having?

Mention of alcohol is so blatant in songs, I’ve wondered if alcohol companies are paying musicians for product mentions in songs. What better way is there to market to the younger generation?!

Several experts argue that recent evidence shows that public health messages on alcohol may be drowning amidst the louder and more ubiquitous messages from some genres within the music industry.

Researchers from Liverpool John Moores University found that older children and teens listen to more than two hours of music daily. Researchers in the United States have documented a rise in alcohol and drug references, including mention of specific liquor brands and types (e.g., Patron), in popular music. But until recently, little data was available on comparable UK trends. Hardcastle’s team selected four years for analysis, comparing music charts across four decades. They discovered a significant increase in the number of times alcohol was mentioned.

Top ten songs in the early 1980s contained relatively few references to alcohol, with the number declining further in 1991. Rave culture was popular in this period; a music scene linked more to Ecstasy than alcohol. But  alcohol references returned by 2001, showing up in eight percent of popular hits. This figure continues to rise, more than doubling by 2011, with almost one in five (18.5%) top ten songs featuring alcohol-related lyrics. This pattern is consistent with US trends, although UK charts still have fewer alcohol mentions than their US counterparts.

Alcohol-related song lyrics are associated with hip hop and rap and US artists, with lyrics generally putting a positive spin on alcohol consumption. Drinking is linked to confidence, outgoingness or physical attractiveness, as well as outcomes such as money, fame, and sex. Popular artists sing about the negative effects of alcohol far less frequently.

 

Positive psychology and teens
Negative Side of Teen Drinking

 

Lyrics have an impact beyond the US and UK, pointing out that US and British songs often have global appeal. For example, US artist Katy Perry’s 2011 single “Last Friday Night” detailing excessive drinking and risk-taking behavior, achieved a top 10 position not only in the US and the UK, but also in 15 other countries.

How Can I Be happy
Katy Perry – Lyrics Influencing the Youth?

So what impact do these alcohol references have on young people? It is highly likely that we underestimate the true impact of exposure to pro-alcohol messages young people hear, says lead researcher Katherine Hardcastle:

“Public health concerns are already focused on the impacts of alcohol advertising on the drinking behaviours of young people, yet the growing reference to alcohol in popular music could mean that alcohol promoting messages are reaching much larger audiences; regardless of restrictions (e.g. age) on direct advertising.”

Children Exposed to Pro-Alcohol Lyrics May Be Influenced to Drink Earlier

The study concludes that:

“The exposure of young people to alcohol in the media is a major concern given its potential impact on drinking behaviours […] A greater understanding of the impacts of alcohol-related popular music content on young listeners is urgently needed. Health and other professionals should be vigilant for increases in alcohol-related lyrics and work to ensure that popular music does not become a medium for reinforcing and extending cultures of intoxication and alcohol-related harm.”

Given that we listen to our favorite songs hundreds, if not thousands, of times, it seems safe to assume that frequent repetition of pro-alcohol and pro-drug lyrics will normalize such behaviors making them somewhat more likely to occur.

Positive psychology and marijuana
Wiz Khalifa with the Ubiquitous Blunt

In my private practice, I see this frequently with male adolescents who are listening exclusively to rap and hip-hop. While I enjoy several songs of Wiz Khalifa and 2 Chainz, I also know enough to listen to them infrequently. Our emotional mind is trained most effectively via repetition. Listening to pro-marijuana lyrics thousands of times is likely to influence minds which are already open to suggestions.

Keep an open mind!

Dr. John

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology Coach
Anger Management Specialist
Expert Consultant to Pixar
Founder, Guide to Self, Inc.
913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280
Danville CA 94526
Positive psychology blog: http://drjohnblog.guidetoself.com 
Anger management blog:
http://WebAngerManagement.com
Main site:
www.GuideToSelf.com
Twitter: @johnschin

 

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SAGE Publications, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Journal Reference:

  1. Katherine A. Hardcastle, Karen Hughes, Olivia Sharples, and Mark A. Bellis. Trends in alcohol portrayal in popular music: A longitudinal analysis of the UK charts. Psychology of Music, September 2013 DOI: 10.1177/0305735613500701

Ads Targeted At How You Feel – Beware the Next Level of Marketing!

June 15, 2012

Microsoft has applied for a patent for  targeting ads to users based on their emotional state, using a Kinect type device, GeekWire reports.

Do you look happy? You’ll see ads for vacation packages and consumer electronics, but not weight-loss programs or self-help products. Do you look sad? You won’t see that over-the-top animated ad for children’s birthday parties at the local bowling alley. Feeling frustrated? It’s PC support ads for you.

Those are actual examples from the patent application, which incorporates some of the same ideas as the earlier filing for deducing the user’s mood — including scanning messages and social media postings.

Also included: audio and video capture devices (to detect facial expressions and tone of voice) in addition to the company’s Kinect sensor, which would be used to analyze body movements as another input for the emotion-detecting algorithm.

Protect your mind. It’s the only one you get!

Peace,
John

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Positive Psychology Coach

Author of the award-winning Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion & Thought

Guide To Self, Inc.

913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280

Danville CA 94526

GuideToSelf.comWeb site

WebAngerManagement.com – 10-week online anger management course

DrJohnBlog.GuideToSelf.com –  Awarded #1 Blog in Positive Psychology by PostRank, Top 100 Blog by Daily Reviewer

@johnschinTwitter

The Battle Going on In Your Mind – Automatic Vs. Conscious Minds

There is a battle going on in your mind. There are two factions in your mind. Sometimes these two get along and sometimes they are in conflict. At times, the two cooperate. At times, they act in direct opposition to one another.

The two factions are your rational, thinking mind and your automatic, emotional, subconscious mind. Here is the latest study to examine the differences between the two sides…

ScienceDaily (Nov. 8, 2010) — Expert typists are able to zoom across the keyboard without ever thinking about which fingers are pressing the keys. New research from Vanderbilt University reveals that this skill is managed by an autopilot, one that is able to catch errors that can fool our conscious brain.

The research was published in the Oct. 29 issue of Science.

“We all know we do some things on autopilot, from walking to doing familiar tasks like making coffee and, in this study, typing. What we don’t know as scientists is how people are able to control their autopilots,” Gordon Logan, Centennial Professor of Psychology and lead author of the new research, said. “The remarkable thing we found is that these processes are disassociated. The hands know when the hands make an error, even when the mind does not.”

For  a free PDF copy of the award-winning book Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide to  Managing Emotion and Thought, visit http://www.GuideToSelf.com and enter your name and email address. This book outlines the latest proven tools for optimal human functioning – tools to manage your negative emotions (anger, anxiety, sadness and stress) and turn up the volume on your positive emotions (gratitude, curiosity, awe, love,  joy, pride, hope, happiness and passion). It also helps you become more aware of your automatic mind and the shortcuts it takes without your consent.

To determine the relationship between the autopilot and the conscious brain, or pilot, and the role of each in detecting errors, Logan and co-author Matthew Crump designed a series of experiments to break the normal connection between what we see on the screen and what our fingers feel as they type.

In the first experiment, Logan and Crump had skilled typists type in words that appeared on the screen and then report whether or not they had made any errors. Using a computer program they created, the researchers either randomly inserted errors that the user had not made or corrected errors the user had made. They also timed the typists’ typing speed, looking for the slowdown that is known to occur when one hits the wrong key. They then asked the typists to evaluate their overall performance.

The researchers found the typists generally took the blame for the errors the program had inserted and took the credit for mistakes the computer had corrected. They were fooled by the program. However, their fingers, as managed by the autopilot, were not — the typists slowed down when they actually made an error, as expected, and did not slow down when a false error appeared on the screen.

In two additional experiments, the researchers set out to probe awareness more deeply. In the second experiment, they had the typists immediately judge their performance after typing each word. In the third, they told typists that the computer might insert or correct errors and again asked them to report on their performance.

The typists still took credit for corrected errors and blame for false errors in the second experiment, and still slowed down after real errors but not after false ones. In the third experiment, the typists were fairly accurate in detecting when the computer inserted an error, but still tended to take credit for corrections the computer had made. As with the other two experiments, the typists slowed down after real but not after false errors.

The research is the first to offer evidence of the different and separate roles of conscious and unconscious processing in detecting errors.

“This suggests that error detection can occur on a voluntary and involuntary basis,” Crump, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology, said. “An important feature of our research is to show that people can compensate for their mistakes even when they are not aware of their errors. And, we have developed a new research tool that allows us to separately investigate the role of awareness in error detection, and the role of more automatic processes involved in error detection. The tool will also allow a better understanding of how these different processes work together.”

The research was supported with funding from the National Science Foundation.

1. Gordon D. Logan, and Matthew J. C. Crump. Cognitive Illusions of Authorship Reveal Hierarchical Error Detection in Skilled Typists. Science, 29 October 2010: Vol. 330. no. 6004, pp. 683 – 686 DOI: 10.1126/science.1190483

To life, love and laughter,

John Schinnerer Ph.D.

Founder Guide to Self, Inc.

http://www.GuideToSelf.com

Top 10 Core Beliefs for a Happy and Successful Life

I was working with a male client yesterday who struggles with issues of self-worth, loneliness and anxiety despite the fact that he is a tremendously gifted young man. He is highly intelligent, kind and caring guy.

In the course of our talking, I had a hunch that reading him part of an article I wrote a few years ago might be helpful. So I asked him if I could read it to him.

The words hit him smack in the heart like a car bomb detonating in the middle of a town square. His eyes teared up. A look of recognition crossed his face. A barrier had fallen. Something had resonated with him deeply. ‘That’s it, that’s it!’ he said. ‘It has to do with my self-worth!’

Because it was such a powerful experience for both of us, I recorded the top 10 core beliefs for a happy and successful life and added it to my top secret video blog at

http://drjohnsblog.wordpress.com/core_beliefs/.

At that site, you can hear me read the top 10 core beliefs for a life of happiness and success. These are beliefs that (I believe) you must get intimately acquainted with to improve your chances at a successful and contented life. These are helpful for anger management as well. Most of us have negative, destructive tapes playing continuously in our heads (‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m lazy’, ‘I can’t do it’ and so on). These old tapes must be reprogrammed with positive, supportive, encouraging tapes to help you become more resilient and active.

The Top 10 Core Beliefs read something like this…

Core Beliefs That Work Towards Well-being

1. You are incredibly important and matter tremendously to the rest of us.

2. You are not alone. You are surrounded by others who care.

3. There is no failure, only delayed success.

4. Lessons are repeated until learned.

5. Learning never ends.

6. The present is a better place to live than the past or the future.

7. You can handle it.

For all 10 core beliefs, visit the my top secret new blog at drjohnsblog.wordpress.com.

My thought was to share these new, supportive beliefs with anyone who is interested. If they resonate with you, simply play them a few times a day in the background while you work. Repetition is key to reprogramming old tapes.

Hopefully, they resonate with you as much as they did for me and my client yesterday.

Live happy,

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

New blog: http://drjohnsblog.wordpress.com

Site: http://www.GuideToSelf.com

PS If you’d like a  FREE copy of my book on how to quiet the voices in your head, turn down the volume on negative emotions and turn up the volume on positive emotions, click here for instant access!

The Salesman May Know What You Want Before You Do: Unconscious purchasing urges and brain scans

If you’ve been following my blog, Shrunken Mind, you’re aware of the vast power of the unconscious mind – that part of the mind which I refer to as the ‘back office’ of the mind. In the ‘back office’, activites take place that are automatic, uncontrolled and outside of your conscious awareness. Despite this, the workings of the unconscious mind have a profound effect on the consious mind and on your behavior. In science, we’ve been working on figuring this out over the past 20 years with the help of fMRIs and MRIs.

There are a few areas of expertise that continually seem to be at the cutting edge of this area of expertise – sales and marketing. Up until recently this has only been of some concern to me, as I stay on the bleeding edge of the area and can afford some awareness and protection to myself, my family and my clients.

However, a new study came out this week which caused me great concern. Check out the snippet from the article from New Scientist and see if you agree.

Unconscious purchasing urges revealed by brain scans

 15:56 09 June 2010 by Ewen Callaway   You spend more time window shopping than you may realise. Whether someone intends to buy a product or not can be predicted from their brain activity – even when they are not consciously pondering their choices.The ability to predict from brain scans alone what a person intends to buy, while leaving the potential buyer none the wiser, could bring much-needed rigour to efforts to meld marketing and neuroscience, says Brian Knutson, a neuroscientist at Stanford University in California who was not involved in the research.Neuromarketing, as this field is known, has been employed by drug firms, Hollywood studios and even the Campbell Soup Company to sell their wares, despite little published proof of its effectiveness.

Rather than soup, John-Dylan Haynes at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin, Germany, attempted to predict which cars people might unconsciously favour. To do so, he and colleague Anita Tusche used functional MRI to scan the brains of two groups of male volunteers, aged 24 to 32, while they were presented with images of a variety of cars.One group was asked to rate their impressions of the vehicles, while the second performed a distracting visual task while cars were presented in the background. Each volunteer was then shown three cars and asked which they would prefer to buy.

First impressions

The researchers found that when volunteers first viewed the car that they would subsequently “buy”, specific patterns of brain activity could be seen in the brain’s medial prefrontal and insula cortices – areas that are all associated with preferences and emotion.These patterns of activity reflected the volunteers’ subsequent purchasing choice nearly three-quarters of the time, whether or not the subjects had given their undivided attention to the images of the cars when they were first shown them.Previous studies have shown similar patterns of activity when we make explicit purchasing choices. What this new study suggests is that these brain regions size up products even when we are not consciously making purchasing decisions. The brain appears to be imparting automatic or possibly even unconscious value onto products, as soon as you’re exposed to them, says Haynes.

Secret desires

While Knutson acknowledges that the volunteers’ choices might have been different if they had been making a real decision about which car to buy, he reckons the study may still be of use to neuromarketers – specifically as a subjective way of determining whether a consumer might buy a product or not, without having to be explicitly asked.’

For the full article, click here.

In the past, I’ve been involved in some neuromarketing and emotion studies with large health care providers and consumer goods manufacturers. At the time, it was fascinating, compelling and educational. The more I get to know about it, the more concerned I become. TV commercials, billboards, radio spots and magazine ads already have sufficient influence over our minds to make me highly uncomfortable. My unease is only reinforced by the piles of studies showing how Madison Avenue is influencing the ‘back office’ of our minds.

To protect yourself and your families, my best suggestion is pause the TV during commercials and skip over them if you have TIVO (or the equivalent. Even if you have TIVO, studies have shown the brain recognizes roughly 30% of the content of TV ads even when you are skipping through the commercials at high speed!

If you don’t, at least mute the radio or TV during commercials. From what we know in science, the brain is malleable like a lump of clay. And these commercials leave tracks in the brain like running a finger tip through wet clay. The more you are exposed, the deeper the groove becomes in the clay (your brain) and the more influence they have over you. Don’t let your children mindlessly watch tv commercials.

Your brain is impressionable. Guard it. Be mindful.

All the best,

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Teaching Real Men Real Emotions

Guide To Self, Inc.

Award-winning author

Award-winning blogger

Keynote speaker