What helps burn victims may hinder advertising

Physicians at the University of Washington have created a virtual Snow World to help burn victims ease their pain. It seems the human mind, when immersed in stimuli, bends the body to its perceived reality.

The intriguing aspect for communication professionals is that brains can only handle so many data inputs. Just as a burn victim processing a video game where he hurls cool snowballs at penguins forgets about his real agony, consumers taking in one form of communication may not register other messages. It’s not a stretch to be reminded of the failure of advertising models in social media sites, such as Twitter or Facebook — where users are too busy creating content to peer at banner ads on the side.

This has dire implications for marketers as people begin grazing multiple media formats at the same time — watching TV while reading an iPhone while listening to music while texting a friend. Ad impressions are no longer impressions. Unwanted signals are filtered out. Why? We’ve found new social stimuli to ease our pain.

Via Dirk Singer. Backstory here.

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