Cheetos Finger-Stains Leave Lasting (Neural) Impression

What could possibly be positive about the sticky, day-glo orange residue that Cheetos leave on consumers’ hands? “It’s how consumers are reacting to it emotionally” -- which, as it turns out, is quite nostalgically -- according to Doug Pulick, SVP of Strategic Insights at NCM Media Networks.

Based on pioneering neural research, the Frito-Lay brand found that what it assumed was a negative product trait is, in fact, what connects consumers to the cheesy snacks. Just the thought of Cheetos residue produces a “visceral reaction” among consumers, according to Pulick, as it harkens back to their childhood when it represented “an orange badge of courage.”

Presenting at MediaPost's Digital Out-Of-Home Forum, the bigger point that Pulick hoped to make was that brands are flying blind without neural data. In other words, "paper and pencil research just doesn’t cut it."

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