Preston: Do you know how many cats there are in this country?
Frank: No, ummmm...I don't have...no.
Preston: Twenty-seven million. Do you know how many dogs?
Frank: ...in America?
Preston: Forty-eight million. We spend four billion on pet food alone.
Preston: I have a study which shows that cats and dogs are beginning to watch television. If these scientists are right, we should start programming right now. Within years, they could become steady viewers.
Frank: Programming...for cats?
Preston: Walk with me, Frank.
It was funny because it was ridiculous but we also knew that as neuroscience began to reveal its mysteries it might not be that far out. Just recently, a study has shown that talking cartoon birds are not far off the mark and new research is also examining primate similarity to humans in order to understanding marketing.
It's advertising...for monkeys.
Laurie Santos gave a TED talk last year on 'monkeynomics' - the realization that monkeys understood an abstract idea like currency, and two advertising executives happened to be in the audience and struck up a dialogue with her.
The result: A monkey ad campaign shown at the Cannes Lions Festival, to see if they can change the monkeys' preference for Jell-O flavors.
Obviously some people will be derisive and lump it in with non-science wastes of money that still get science funding like how quickly parents adopt trendy baby names or why political candidates make vague statements. But neuroscience is the most mysterious frontier humanity will set out to understand in the next century.
Does sex sell for monkeys the way it does humans? Apparently so. Rowan Hooper at New Scientist has seen the billboard ads for the monkeys and can reveal (pardon the pun)
One billboard shows a graphic shot of a female monkey with her genitals exposed, alongside the brand A logo. The other shows the alpha male of the capuchin troop associated with brand A."After we settled on what they were being sold and that we were going to be doing 'sex sells', we really wanted to make a very direct ad. We wanted to shoot our subjects involved in normal day-to-day life," said Keith Olwell and Elizabeth Kiehner.
In "Scrooged" they ended up putting a dormouse in the program to appeal to cats. Maybe random bananas will start showing up in Jell-O commercials this decade.
The first advertising campaign for non-human primates - Rowan Hooper, New Scientist
H/T Alex Berezow, RealClearScience