Our Hate-Love Relationship with Alcohol

In the 2015 Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) Annual Alcohol Poll, 34 per cent of Australians said that they drink to get drunk, 43 per cent said they had vomited as a result of drinking, and 75 per cent said Australia has a problem with excess drinking or alcohol abuse.

But in the same poll 92 per cent of Australians identified themselves as responsible drinkers.

As the young people might say, what the..?

A majority of Australians agree that we have a problem with alcohol. But almost all drinkers say it’s not a problem of theirs – it’s a problem other people have, that exists somewhere outside of their world.

There are both contradictions and abstractions in this discussion. But it makes perfect sense to me.

It’s simply easier to say that others are flawed, than admit that perhaps you might be the one who is flawed. Psychologists refer to it as the self-serving or positivity bias, and it’s the only way to protect our “fragile ego from the blows of reality” and to reconcile our often contradictory behaviour in a complex world. Continue reading

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Belle Gibson, the inspiration industry, and the willing suspension of disbelief

Belle Gibson_SunriseWhen I stay in a hotel, there is a tacit agreement that I (the guest) will pretend to not know that someone slept in the bed and used the room before me, and in return they (the hotel) will do everything they can to remove any evidence that somebody has been in the room prior to my arrival.

A stay in a hotel is, in its way, something akin to the willing suspension of disbelief.

If we both comply with that little bit of fantasy, it tends to work. But, ultimately, we are all playing a role – actors in a piece of theatre that allows us to dismiss the uncomfortable reality of the situation.

Life is a little bit like that. We go through life playing particular roles that suit the circumstances, while processing information that seems to help us to understand our little piece of existence, and ignoring information (whether consciously or unconsciously) that doesn’t work for us at that point in time.

So, it’s no wonder that for people who have been struck down with an acute illness (or knew someone who had), such as cancer, it was easy for many to believe the story of Belle Gibson.

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Coco-Pops gets two stars; Just like a chocolate milk shake would…

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Coco Pops has received two stars in the voluntary health star rating system, but don’t expect a huge change in buying patterns, at least in the short-term.

Sales may even increase slightly, because it is likely that most people already know that Coco Pops isn’t a health food, and the two stars may well provide current users with tacit permission to keep eating them, because their rating wasn’t as bad as they thought. It may also mean that they go searching for those tiny snippets of evidence that help to justify their current choices.

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With Google Glass back in the labs, Sony’s SmartEyeglass is not so smart

By Hannah Francis from smh.com.au

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 10.43.39 pmAccording to the ANZ Oxford English Dictionary, “smart” means — variously — “clever”, “ingenious”, “quick to take advantage”, “stylish”, “fashionable”, and/or “prominent in society”.

So we think it’s about time electronics manufacturers ditched the term when referring to their eyewear prototypes.

While “quick to take advantage” might rightly apply to the likes of Toshiba and Sony jumping on the wearables trend with their own iterations of Google Glass, the cleverness of such a move is doubtful.

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Obesity, health star ratings and the nanny state

healthy-food-stocksA quick question: How many kilojoules have you consumed so far today? What about the number of kilojoules you consumed at breakfast? Even an estimate will do. Most of us wouldn’t have a clue.

An analysis conducted by Jason Block from Harvard Medical School found that found that that “adolescents underestimated their meals by about 250 calories (1,050kj). Adults were off by about 175 calories (730kj) on average, but one quarter thought their meals had nearly 500 calories (2,090kj) less than they actually contained.” Continue reading

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Falling for scams again…

Head in HandsNever wanted to
What am I to do?
Can’t help it.

Scams. They’re everywhere.

They tap into our emotions, our desires, our needs and our wants.

The recent story of the Sydney grandmother who is facing the death penalty in Malaysia after being caught with 1.5kg of crystal methamphetamine, after it seems she was unwittingly scammed into carrying the drug on behalf of a US army soldier, reportedly her fiancé, reminds us that everyone is a potential victim. But the fact that her lawyer says that she is “one of those naive and innocent mules that has been targeted by some unscrupulous people” hides the fact that we we are all susceptible to scams, particularly if we are vulnerable in some way.

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Cost of living getting you down? It depends how you look at it

transmedia-baby-232x300In late August, news.com.au launched a national survey to examine Australians’ attitudes toward the cost of living.

They framed their ‘survey’ with a preamble that included paragraphs such as “The thing about cost of living is that it’s a universal problem. Whether you’re a low income earner with a household kitty of $40,000 a year or you’re better off with an income well into the six-figures, everyone is feeling the pinch, at least a little” and “The cost of groceries, bills, childcare, petrol and you name it keep rising while only the cost of big ticket items you buy once in a blue moon (like big screen TVs) seem to be falling. But with wage growth at an all-time low and unemployment at a 17-year high, it seems like there’s less and less money left over every week.”

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