Just Try and Stop Me!


Here is a few examples of adverts that slipped the net during their time (courtesy of boredpanda). Wouldn’t sneak these past the ASA in this day and age, but you’d be surprised how often those cheeky marketing scamps will try. According to TV Licensing  there were 24,963,799 licensed televisions in the UK in 2010. It’s a great way for companies to penetrate the home and expose their message to us all. However, there is a responsibility (despite the debate about where the responsibility lies) to monitor what eventually ends up on our Technicolor screens. Think of the children! Using the social learning theory as a basis, it could be said that advertising contributes to what is perceived as “normal  activity” in our society (Bandura 1986, Grube, 1995). You may be surprised to find out that after a 58 year ban on alcohol ads in Saskatchewan, consumption of wine and beer actually dropped significantly (Makowsky & Whitehead, 1991). So is banning adverts actually effective? It’s often not long until they end up thrown all over the internet anyway. What effect does banning an ad actually have?

Taking A Closer Look


The mere exposure effect states, that simple repeated exposure to a neutral stimulus that is not consciously perceived can lead to increased liking of such stimuli: we ignore adverts everyday, it doesn’t mean they are not working (Bornstien, 1992). You may have heard of the mere exposure effect before, if you haven’t lucky you! The logical solution to saving our children’s impressionable brains then is simply to reduce this exposure by banning inappropriate adverts, yes? No, unfortunately the evidence suggests that bans on alcohol ads (broadcast) may even increase consumption (Young, 1993).

Here is one theory of what might be going on here…

Indeed, advertising may increase product differentiation and/or signal product quality, resulting in higher equilibrium prices and lower
consumption.” (Nelson & Young, 2001).

 In an attempt to make that clearer, banning one product (lets say Dave’s Whiskey) decreases its exposure causing it to be more differentiated. Popular products that are bought more frequently (WKDs) may drop in price to match the demand, meaning the less exposed product is more expensive, appealing to those with upper class tastes (Ambler, 2008).

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is an incredibly effective tool for companies but it is often discussed in regards to post-consumption evaluation (worth reading up on). Banning adverts means that one of the few ways they will ever be seen is by becoming viral. Viral marketing is effective because its works on a few basic assumptions: that the ad is worth sharing (funny, shocking, interesting), that consumers are actively sharing it and that people are sending it to other people that they think might find it relevant, thus segmenting the market for the company (Fergurson, 2008).


There is a reason these adverts got banned in the first place. Whether it was for explicit, racist, sexist, shocking, sexual or inappropriate content, they tend to include something that stands out from the norm, making it particularly tempting to discover why they got banned in the first place.

Shocking adverts grab our attention making it more likely that they will be remembered (Fanselow 2003).

Sexy adverts tap into your evolutionary reproductive instincts to grab your attention (Riechert, 2003) and actually causes a larger amygdala response in men (Hamann et al. 2004). However, it is important to avoid misattribution  (White, 1981).

Humour is often used in adverts, it increases engagement and not only helps us associate the brand with pleasant thoughts, if the joke is good we think the company is more intelligent (Sternthal 1973, Roux 2008).

Panda’s are one of the most effective marketing tools of all time.


  • Adverts are banned for ethical reasons to protect us (and the little children) from inappropriate content.
  • Adverts may be banned to reduce their exposure (mere exposure effect).
  • Banning adverts may simply cause the product to become more differentiated.
  • Word of mouth and word of mouse help the spread of viral videos.
  • The content on which the advert was banned may make it more interesting when it is shared across the internet.


Could lifting bans in this way have implications for the possibility of drug legalisation?

Should this marmite advert be banned?  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/10226396/Marmite-advert-faces-ban-as-animal-welfare-campaigners-either-love-it-or-hate-it.html

Bandura, A., Social Foundations of Thought and Action (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1986).
Grube, J.W., ìTelevision alcohol portrayals, alcohol advertising, and alcohol expectancies among children and
adolescents,î in S.E.

Martin (ed.), The Effects of the Mass Media on the Use and Abuse of Alcohol,
NIAAA Monograph No. 28 (Washington, DC: DHHS, 1995), pp. 105-21.

Makowsky, C.R. and P.C. Whitehead, ìAdvertising and alcohol sales: A legal impact study,î Journal of Studies on
Alcohol 52, November 1991, 555-67.

Bornstein, R. F., & D’Agostino, P. R. (1992). Stimulus recognition and the mere exposure effect. Journal of personality and social psychology63(4), 545.

Ambler, T. (1996). Can alcohol misuse be reduced by banning advertising?.International Journal of Advertising15, 167-174.
Ferguson, R. (2008). Word of mouth and viral marketing: taking the temperature of the hottest trends in marketing. Journal of Consumer Marketing25(3), 179-182.

Fanselow, M. S., & Gale, G. D. (2003). The amygdala, fear, and memory.Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences985(1), 125-134.

Reichert, T. (2003). Sex in Advertising. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing.

Hamann, S., Herman, R. A., Nolan, C. L., & Wallen, K. (2004). Men and women differ in amygdala response to visual sexual stimuli. Nature neuroscience7(4), 411-416.
White, G. L., Fishbein, S., & Rutsein, J. (1981). Passionate love and the misattribution of arousal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology41(1), 56.

ROUX, G. A. G. Humour in British Print Advertisements.

Sternthal, B., & Craig, C. S. (1973). Humor in advertising. The Journal of Marketing, 12-18.

Nelson, J. P., & Young, D. J. (2001). Do advertising bans work? An international comparison. International Journal of Advertising20(3), 273-296.

Sell the Rainbows!

Evolutionary origins, why do we have colour vision?


Our hairy, hairy ancestors sacrificed their acute night vision in return for colour vision. This was advantageous as it helped distinguish objects, animals and dangers in the world, as well as helping us gage the ripeness or rottenness of fruit.

Is it then possible for marketers to capitalise on these effects imbedded for our survival all those years ago?

First its important to explore how colour effects our perception and help explain some strange phenomenon, like this for example. It may surprise you to find out that pastel vacuum cleaners feel like they weigh less than black vacuum cleaners! Further dramatic revelations to follow.

Colour can have an effect on the inner workings of our bodies. Kido (2000) found that blue stimulated the sympathetic pathway. This effects homeostasis, so things like heart rate, blood capillaries dilation and perspiration. Opposing the popular belief that the colour red make us alert and excited.

Contrastingly, consider this experiment on the BBC program horizon (Do you see the same colour as me?)
Participants were placed in pods flooded with coloured light for four minutes, afterwards they were asked to predict how long they had been in the pod. You might expect that the people in the red pod felt time was going quickly and they would underestimate the time they were in the pod. And that the blue pod would cause people to relax and feel like they had been in their for longer. However, people in the red pod were made more alert and therefore more aware on the time passing. This made it feel like they were in the pod for longer. Whereas, the relaxing effect of the blue pod made it feel like no time at all. Yet more surprising revelations about the wonderful word of colours!



We are often told colour is very important to branditture, we are told that different colours carry different meanings that we can effectivly convey to our customers. If colour has an effect on our perception and physiology, can we really use colour effectively in marketing?

On the shelf…
Choosing the right colour can help direct attention to your product (Kotler, 1973). Especially if you take into account the category. Making your product different enough that it stands out, but not to different that it escapes the category you will achieve something known as the pop out effect.

Got milk? Who knows…

Brand Recognition
Retaining a colour scheme throughout your product range helps brand recognition (Tutssel, 2000) e.g. Cadbury is? Heiniken is?
Whats this?


Any TV networks springing to mind?

On our bodies…
As stated earlier colours may have an effect on our bodies, including our metabolism (Kido, 2000). Is it possible then, that not only do all the properties of the Macdonals Logo make us think about fast, tasty, unhealthy food, but it may actively speed up our metabolism making us hungrier.
If you wanted a relaxed atmosphere in your restaurant, you might consider a nice blue lighting scheme throughout. But what if the calming hue is actually causing your patrons to lose their appetite? What if you run an all you can eat restaurant? MORE REVELATIONS!

All the exciting revelations are truly revelatory, that is of course, if these effect actually work.
Do these effects actually work?

Because this brown tooth paste looks delightful...

Because this brown tooth paste looks delightful…


The literature is… confusing frankly, there is really nothing black and white about it, colour loyalists sizing up to colour sceptics all over the place.
Kaiser answered… “Do human beings respond physiologically to colour?  Yes and perhaps.”

The main criticism is individual differences . We may not even perceive the same colours. (Science daily, link below). The effect of colour on a person is hugely influenced by their own experiences, what associations they have developed over their life time and their culture. At Chinese wedding the bride often wears read, in old celtic tradition the bride used to wear green, until the christians encouraged them to wear white. So all your feelings about white being pure and clean may complete contrast your native Chinese friend who attended his grand fathers funeral wearing white.

There are also proven gender differences in colour preference (Khonuw, 2002) where men tend to prefer bolder colours and women prefer softer, pastel shades. a disadvantage perhaps for unisex products. aD0R2v9_700b_v2

What came first the chicken or the egg? or more specifically…
Do the colours convey the meanings or do we learn to associate the meanings with the colours?
If we aligned our selves with the behaviourist approach, adopting the idea that everyone is born as a blank slate. We might determine that any effect caused or any characteristic attributed to colour must have been learned somewhere.

It may seem like this blog has raised more questions than it answered, this is simply because the literature is not clear…. and thats what I wanted to make clear… clear? Crystal.
Do we know if colours have a  predictable affect our behaviour and decisions? The simple answer…. not yet.

Khouw, N. (2002), “The meaning of color for gender”, Colors Matters – Research, available at:
http://www.colormatters.com (accessed 11 November 2002).
Information Science, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 254-62.
Tutssel, G. (2000), “But you can judge a brand by its color”, Brand Strategy, November, pp. 8-9
Kotler, P. (1973), “Atmospherics as a marketing tool”,Journal of Retailing, Vol. 49 No. 4, pp. 48-61.
Kido, M. (2000), “Bio-psychological effects of color”, Journal of International Society of Life
Information Science, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 254-62.

Lost in Translation

This blog is an exploration of a few key elements surrounding international marketing. A quick peek at some important strategies and psychological frameworks you might want to look into if you are considering going worldwide.

The Global Market houses some incredible opportunities for businesses to expand internationally. This may be done independently or in cooperation with a pre-existing company in the region, either way it is important to safe guard for possible mistakes. Take these for example..

Ikea’s popular child’s bed called the ‘Gutvik’ which holds some similarity to a German expression meaning ” Good F*%!”
How about the innocent “la crosse’, produced by General Motors. It was quickly renamed when they realised La Crossee means masturbation in Quebec slang.Image

Back in 1991 a Swedish company spread the love by replacing the letter O with an adorable little heart. Unfortunatly the company was called Locum.


Our favourite sweetcorn provider fell into a spot of trouble when they realised that “the Jolly Green Giant” translates directly to “Intimidating Green Ogre” in Arabic. ” JUST EAT YOUR SWEETCORN DONKEY!”

green giant

Looking for love? Find dating websites as intimidating as a big green ogre? then intimidating dating is not for you. It was advertised on Israeli radio but ‘Intimi’ is revilingly a hebrew word for intimate. Guess she’s just not that intimi…


Finally and slightly more sinister is the Zyklon vacuum cleaner (zyklon being an apt name as it means cyclone in German). Unfortunately, Zyklon B was a gas used by the Nazi’s in some of tragedies in World War II.

Of course, translation is very important, have a look round the web you will find many examples of mis-interpretation which probably caused the respective companies to blush with embarrassment. Of course this is only a small element of expanding a business cross-culturally. With the ever expanding usefulness of the great and all powerful internet. Extending your business to the world has become as simple as putting it online. Take eBay for instance, anyone can post an item and have it shipped almost anywhere in the world (now a practice that is becoming even more prevalent due to the increase value of bitcoins, check out TheDancingDuck to find out more).
Putting your products on the infinitely expanding internet does not guarantee sales. To ensure loyal customers you need to gain some international brand recognition.

With thousands of companies and sub-companies and products and brand extensions it seem an impossible task to keep track of them all. Luckily for us, Yoo & Donthu (2001) developed a method of measuring brand equity. Brand equity encompasses the brand value, including aspects like brand awareness. Using a cross-cultural sample they analysed several brands

which you can find here http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0148296399000983.
They arrive at several interesting discussion points.

Here is the Facebook version

Can we use social media to measure this?

A brand is essentially a mental short-cut, our brains love to group things together & categorize, brands facilitate this. However, if you want you brand to be effective it has to be relevant to the individual brain that is perceiving it. That in mind, the individual is part of a culture full of influential factors like tradition & norms. Understanding the culture is therefore key to understanding the individual.

Perhaps some examples will make this more clear.
Kraft jumped right into the Chinese market thinking that “hey everyone loves oreos”. The launch was declared a failure.

Then they did their research. They changed the sugar content, proposed new flavours and even produced a straw shaped version. These were much more successful.


Recognise this? Is it still an Oreo?

Pepsodent toothpaste was advertised promoting the fact it whitened teeth. What they didn’t realise is that in one area of Southeast Asia the populous chewed betel nuts to stain their teeth black as it was considered an attractive quality.

Squeaky Clean

Squeaky Clean

The Integrative theory  discusses the concept of a “national character” (Clark, 1990).

“the idea that the people of each nation have a distinctive, enduring pattern of behaviour and/personality characteristics.”

Imagine a complex form of intense, diverse, research based stereotyping. Segmenting your market and adapting your product this way may help the success of your international business.

However, you must be aware of our own shortcomings. Your own culture will not only significantly but predictably influence your decision making behaviour (Tse et al. 1998). So, having strong consultants based in your target region is a great strategy.

What have we learned?

  • Communication and therefore translation is very important.
  • Success is influenced by branditure
  • Your brand will be perceived by an individual in a population and must be relevant to both
  • Brand equity is now a measurable concept
  • We can be segment by cultural stereotypes
  • We may be influenced by our own culture.

007 Sales

What do you think of, when you think of James Bond?
Fast action, fast women, shoot-outs, chases scenes, explosions and hot girls?
Take a Look at this picture. What car is Sean leaning against?


If you said an Aston Martin. You’d be right.




But what about in the other way round, what movie do you see here?


The Italian job featured these three iconic minis. Unlike the first James bond example that was movie to product, this second example is product to movie.

Bond— Aston                               Mini—The Italian Job

     This “product placement” is what I’m going to explore. We know it happens, but accurate measures of their effectiveness have yet to be developed, so how do we know if it works?

The subtile power of product placement.

If we get back to the routes of product placement, we can thank the good ol’ tobacco companies for lighting the spark in the 1930s. With movie theatres becoming accessible to the public, the general population now had a collection of stars like Fritz Lang and Marlin Brando, that they could gather together and see on the big screen. This however, exposed them to a lot of smoking. Intentional or not, it linked all the characters and their attributes (cool, sophisticated, stylish) to the one observable behaviour (Escamila, 2000). This still happens today. Dalton et al (2003), found that “The effect of exposure to movie smoking was stronger in adolescents with non-smoking parents than in those whose parent smoked.”  So, we can see that it is exposure in general and not just in movies that has an effect. But where does the responsibility lie? With the parents or the movie makers in Hollywood?





How does it all work?
At the risk of a cliche psychology blog, much of it is based on conditioning, explored by our favourite psychologist Pavlov. If you haven’t heard  of conditioning before check out Pavlov’s dogs, it makes for great dinner conversation.
Product placement enhances recall, recognition and choice. Products that are involved in the plot are more easily remembered (Law and Braun, 2000) . There are several factors to what makes product placement effective.  Two of which are discussed below.

The mere exposure effect.
If you are familiar to the consumer psych world then you all probably recognise this. The mere exposure effect is defined as:

 “A psychological phenomenon whereby people feel a preference for people or things simply because they are familiar.” – Psychology Encyclopaedia.com 

     Surprisingly, stimuli that are perceived without our awareness actually produces larger exposure effects (Bornstien,1992).
Game designers have picked up on this and companies are willing to pay big bucks to be featured in their digital worlds.


Did I say companies? Sorry I must have meant Governments!This is an example of part of Obama’s campaign that was placed in several of EA’s games, including Madden NFL 2013.  According to Venturebeat, this made gamers both more aware of the campaign and more likely to vote.

Forza motor sport have taken pride in recreating realistic, iconic cars in virtual space. Allowing you to experience them and not just look at them. Nothing makes me want a ferrari more than speeding round Le Mans in my living room.

That isn’t a photo…

Role Models
When Celebrities endorse products we assess them on attractiveness, liveability and trustworthiness (Erdogan, 1999). This works on a projected level during movies or TV programs as its not just the actor we assess, but the character they are playing and the things that happen in the story. Role models presented in movies are even being used to improve students attitudes towards education (Ziegler, 2008).

Real World Implications

Does Fedex make you think about tropical island destinations?
Has Breaking Bad acted as marketing for the Meth business?

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service in the USA,  Found number of Meth users dropped from 731,000 in 2006 to 440,00. Perhaps showing the dark side of the business put people off, or perhaps people are just happy to be entertained by what they watch rather than unconsciously wanting to replicate it. You can now get this Citizen Brick meth lab to play with at home…

Does product placement have any advantages for me?

If you watched 24 you might have noticed that when Jack Bower started driving a Ford Expedition and there were two “sponsored by Ford” ads at the beginning and end. There were no longer ad breaks every 15 minutes. That’s because Ford supplied the products and paid a large fee in exchange for exclusive aces to the show and improved our viewing pleasure in turn.


What have we learned? Well, we know that product placement works in several pathways:

  • The product gains attributes of the movie.
  • The movies can cue us to think of the placed product.
  • The mere exposure effect means companies &  Governments are utilising virtual advertising.
  • People are influenced by the role models they see in movies and in turn the products featured.

So now you are equipped with all the knowledge you need about product placement. As an expert you are now qualified to announce loudly, what product placements you have spotted during a film and really really, really annoy everyone around you.
Love Science 🙂

I can’t be James Bond, but I can drive his car.

Gandalf, Pedlars & Tustworthiness

Following up on a recent business idea, I have been reading up on the laws surrounding Pedlars. According to the 1871 Pedlars act a pedlar is……

“any hawker, pedlar, petty chapman, tinker, caster of metals, mender of chairs, or any other person who, without any horse or other beast of bearing or drawing burden, travels and trades on foot and goes from town to town or to other men’s houses, carrying to sell or exposing for sale any goods, wares, or merchandise, or procuring orders for goods, wares, or merchandise immediately to be delivered, or selling or offering for sale his skill in handicraft”.


I come from a town called High Wycombe which is famous for making chairs, there is even a chair museum and the local football team are nick named ‘Chair-Boys’


No jokes its real

 I don’t know the last time you met a tinker or purchased goods from a man without a horse or beast of bearing, but it seems the law is a little outdated. Opportunity perhaps? Becoming a Pedlar is a great way for entrepreneurs to try out new products on the public and a source of income in this tough economic climate. it only cost £12.50 to get a certificate. However, I digress, I shan’t bore you to tears with a discussion on law.

What caught my attention here, is trust. Would you trust a person on foot, who travels from town to town selling his wares? Are you more likely to trust a man behind a market stall or in a shop? What characteristics make a trustworthy sales person?


In sales, it’s not the necessarily person we trust it’s their ability to demonstrate their credibility. This can be divided into three sub-sections courtesy of Ohanian (1990).

“Evil is always attractive”

This is the degree to which a person perceives you as an attractive salesperson both physically and in terms of personality, more detail on this can be found in my previous post “Sex Sells”. The link between attractiveness and trustworthiness has a neurochemical basis.  Oxytocin moderates several behaviours in humans and animals and has been shown to increase the perception of attractiveness and trustworthiness in tandem (Theodoriduo, 2009).  There is now even a scale that you can use to measure trustworthiness and attractiveness of celebrity endorsers (Ohanian, 2013).


“Trust me I’m a doctor”
This is the degree that the customer perceives you as a “source of valid assertions”. These experts are sometimes known as opinion leaders in the consumer psychology world. Getting them on your side will really help boost your sales. It is important to prove to your customer that you are an expert, exposing flaws in your pitch will lead you to ruin, so make sure you are well versed in your area (especially in tinkering). “Enclothed Cognition” is a term used to describe the effect clothes have on the wearer, choosing the right clothes will not only make you feel like an expert but others will think your an expert too (Adam et al. 2012).

“One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that would tell one anything.” – Oscar Wilde 

This results in the perception of the amount of confidence aroused in the customer. How you achieve can vary. Making the customer like you is one way, repeatedly providing good service increase loyalty and in turn confidence. Research has shown A great way to achieve this is through your Brand. Brand knowledge, familiarity, and service experience are very powerful ways to stimulate confidence in your customers and secure their loyalty (Chaudhuri 2001).

All of these must be congruent to have the customer perceive you as a credible business person. But there is that word again, perceive.You don’t actually have to be any of these things, the customer just has to perceive them. Which leads me to the moment we have all been waiting for…. Gandalf.


A study in 2010 by Gianluigi et al. (awesome name), Revealed that beardedness (the state of being bearded) affects the credibility of endorsers for different products. It worked wonderfully with products like mobile phones but failed with underwear.

So what can we take away from all this? If you want to succeed as  a pedlar, demonstrate your credibility through, attractiveness, expertise and trustworthiness.

Alternatively, lie and grow a beard.


Happy hunting!


The Future of Business?


Imagine yourself adrift in space, the earth a distant spinning sphere, the nothingness of the dark vacuum surrounding you. The subspace fusion drive has malfunctioned and just as you put the final touches to the repairs, your trusty and robust cyber-spanner falls to pieces in your hands. Disaster, surely certain death approaches! That was the only tool that could fix it and it’s not like you can just pop to Argos and buy another one. Nor can anyone send you one down a telephone wire or over wifi. Or could they?

New technology has been emerging which could change the face of the consumer world we all know and love. The line between tangible and intangible will soon be shattered and if you want to make some money you need to be ahead of the game. After the recession at a time where the divide between rich and poor is being extended and small businesses are being encouraged to grow, innovation of a new generation leads the way to recovery. Ensure your place as a fast-follower to this new trend and reap the rewards.

Simply go online, find the design for whatever you desire, and click print. Then your 3D printer will do all the work. This is the vision several scientists, engineers and designers believe will become apparent in the next 5-10 years (Van der Schueren). It works by building the object layer by layer, the printer infuses a powder with binding agent and injecting it through a small nozzle. This process is accurate to up to 40 microns (that’s shorter than the width of a human hair. “This all sounds very science fiction, how is it even helpful in real life?”. Well the possibilities are endless, need a new toilet brush, guitar, bath plug, cyber-spanner, model titanic for history class, plastic occipital lobe, prototype for your new invention, hubcap, camera mount, human heart……

“Did you say human heart?”
Yes, yes I did, but we will come back to that.


So how will and is this already affecting the business world?

Firstly, it engages co-production in a way never seen before; people are designing and sharing 3D designs all over the place. Companies could publish and sell their designs, which you could print with out ever having to leave the home. Take a look at shapeways.com. They have put forward n interesting business model, where people can upload their designs and have them printed and sent to them. They put their designs up for sale for other people to enjoy them too and make profit from the sales. It’s a community that no longer has to rely banks for investment loans or manufacturers to make their product. It appears that this technique is not “yet” suitable for mass production, it is still more cost effective to use existing techniques, and so sorry you won’t save a lot of money trying to print your own iphone. However, it give opportunity for specialist products, for example, a company that makes 20 high performance cars a year, could be sculpted piece by piece with no need to buy and ship parts from rival companies.


There has been much a discussion around file sharing in the media. People uploading movies and music for others to download free of charge, which is damaging the industries they originate from, those poor Hollywood stars. So might we see a similar process here, people scanning parts from washing machines and uploading them, so people can just print them at home. Isabel Napster says- “The UK has a huge history of innovative design. If we can create a sensible regime to deal with intellectual property rights in 3D printing that would put us in a strong position,”. Are heavy regulations really going to help?
What does this new technology mean for the world?

You exit KFC after a delicious meal and find yourself flat on your face suffering a heart attack, the Doctor explains; you need a heart transplant within a week but they are struggling to find a donor. What if we could take some of your tissue, grow it into a state where it could be used like ink in a 3D printer and build you a heart, which would match your DNA exactly? It may well be on the way. Livers, bones, ears, brain tissues. Doctors have even managed to scan a pregnant woman and give her a 3D print out of what her baby looks like.



What about something less complex, like paracetamol? You would not have to spend time using chemicals and waiting for catalysts when you could simply structure the molecules yourself.It could be used to design features to encourage coral growth, or even print out a juicy steak; Imagination and funds are the only real barriers here.

3D printing could change the face of the world. If we want to be ready for it, the better we understand it the better of we will be.

Bonus for Discussion

Take a look at these videos from the BBC, according to the American Gun Control Act of 1968 there are several regulations about the manufacturing of weapons. But, just because it is illegal doesn’t mean it’s not convenient or traceable.


While you were Tweeting Part 2…..

Welcome to part II of an attempt to reveal the shady truths of internet consumption.  I will address two main issues here. Firstly, what’s really going on behind the scenes and why are the general public ok with it? Secondly, I will expand on where this massive surge of internet usage originates from and why we allow it into our lives.The deal with a devil

This section receives the daunting title of…

Terms and conditions

We happily sign up on a cheery impulse to several things in our lives. During this wonderful process we are sometimes confronted with a rather large, hard to comprehend block of text, with the ominous check box lurking at the bottom, telling you “ah forget about it”.


What are you really agreeing to when we “accept the terms and conditions”? Like when Luke Skywalker kissed Leia, are we getting more than we bargained for? Here are a few things you might not have known.


Your photo’s can be sold.

Photo-sharing apps (Instagram) reserve the right to, use, delete, modify, or publicly display uploaded photos. Twitpic give these powers to their affiliated companies too. This is possibly less sinister than having your photos plastered on a billboard somewhere, but more so, if you snap a picture of Miley Cyrus “twerking” on your Nan they can sell it to Cyrus-Blog for a considerable sum.

Big Brother is watching you

Facebook data use policy means that they can use cookies (a tracking code). This doesn’t just watch what you look at on Facebook but also websites that you visit which feature a like or share button. This history is paired with your name and email for up to 90 days – hello spam! Ever noticed how a website you were just on appears in those side bar ads? Handy aye.

To delete or not to delete?

Well it doesn’t really matter. Because they have reserved the right to hold on to anything you delete for “a reasonable amount of time” (whatever that is).

Can the online world really affect the real world?

Wait aren’t social networks great platforms for making a difference and free speech? Imagine the difference we could make in the world if charitable causes became viral? Remember the Kony Campaign? If you don’t, it was essentially a well produced video calling out for military action against General Kony,  known for stealing children and turning them into soldiers. Truly a despicable man. “Internet justice” I hear you cry! and I agree. Unfortunately, Kony had been in hiding since 2006, the US  appointed military advisers to the Ugandan Government, as well as the slight over sight that military action against him, meant military action against the children whom I understand we are supposed to be saving. A tricky and disturbing case.


Every so often, a cause becomes viral and a phenomenon occurs where masses believe that reposting this image or post, stopped a war or fed the hungry. However, there are times when Facebook has been used to share a good message. Recently, Surfers Against Sewage used social networks for their Protect Our Waves Petition. The 5,500 signatures were taken to Downing street by Ben Howard Yesterday (22nd of October) in the hope of protecting our beautiful British Coastline.

But what about when they get it wrong? :ike American Apparels ad circulated on social media encouraging people to go out in a storm?



see more (slightly ruder ones) here. http://mashable.com/2012/11/25/social-media-business-disasters-2012/

Because of the mass membership on social networking sites, status quo effects come into play. Surely something this large could not occur if it was being used purely to sell things to us? Or does the power of the norm overcome this and we assume safety in the masses?

So why and how did we become so dependent on the internet?

Where has all this madness come from? My Great Grandparents never had these problems.

The Land before Time

Picture a time before smart phones, before Candy Crush, before Youtube, before the Internet, before civilisation, back when our ancestors were more primate than human.


Being social creatures there were social hierarchies  which were maintained through grooming. We can refer to this as the birth place of gossip. How did gossip evolve? Well, as the size of the group grew and language started to develop, our ancestors no longer had to spend so much time grooming, when they could address several tribe members at once. This is the second stage of gossip. It is logical then that social networking and “gossiping” are hard-wired behaviours (Dunbar 1998). Due to our ever-growing numbers we have turned to the internet to house our vast networks. Social groups can usually only contain up to 150 members or it becomes difficult to keep track. Social networks can help us attempt to increase this number. However, Dunbar’s number (as it is referred) has even been confirmed to occur on Twitter (Goncalves, 2011). So will the Internet be able to effectively facilitate our social needs or will we remain in groups of 150?

To summarise – is it all doom and gloom? Is there a ray of hope? Has anyone successfully released themselves from the shackles of cyber-space?
According to a study by AP-GKF, 50% of Americans think social networking is a passing fad. People who are committing “virtual suicide” tend to be more conscientious, have higher privacy concerns and higher Internet addiction rates (Stieger 2013). So if the Internet has become more of a curse than a blessing perhaps it’s time to shut it down. After all social networks aren’t run out of the goodness of their hearts, to provide us with a nice, user friendly way of communicating. It is a business, and a lucrative and addictive one at that.


Look up the Cyberball MRI studies and discover whether social pain and physical are a different as we first thought!

Valkenburg, P. M., Peter, J., & Schouten, A. P. (2006). Friend networking sites and their relationship to adolescents’ well-being and social self-esteem.CyberPsychology & Behavior9(5), 584-590.

Chia-Yi Liu and Chia-Ping Yu. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. September 2013, 16(9): 674-678. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0301.

Khodabakhsh Ahmadi and Abolfazl Saghafi. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. July 2013, 16(7): 543-548. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0237.

Zhen Zhang, Jianxin Zhang, and Tingshao Zhu. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. July 2013, 16(7): 553-558. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0542.

Merry J. Sleigh, Aimee W. Smith, and Jason Laboe. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. July 2013, 16(7): 489-496. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0561.

Diana E. Callaghan, Martin G. Graff, and Joanne Davies. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. September 2013, 16(9): 690-694. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0399.

Stefan Stieger, Christoph Burger, Manuel Bohn, and Martin Voracek. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. September 2013, 16(9): 629-634. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0323.

Francine Dehue, Catherine Bolman, and Trijntje Völlink. CyberPsychology & Behavior. April 2008, 11(2): 217-223. doi:10.1089/cpb.2007.0008.


Validation of Dunbar’s number in Twitter conversations, Bruno Goncalves, Nicola Perra, Alessandro Vespignani

Dunbar, Robin (1998). Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language. Harvard University