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Thanks a lot, Mom: Emotional attachment predicts buying behavior?

You may think you’re a terrifically unique individual, but I’ll bet that if you drive a Honda and enjoy cable TV, there are three shows in this fall’s 235-show lineup that you’ll really dig.

And I know exactly which ones they are.

The program you’ll most likely enjoy is TNT’s new offering “Falling Skies,” which tells the tale of the chaotic aftermath of an alien attack that left most of the world devastated. Second is the Discovery Channel’s new show “Curiosity,” in which Mike Rowe – the handsome actor known for elevating the mundane in “Dirty Jobs” – will be put “through a gauntlet of crazy human parasites and body invader tests.” The third show, “Impractical Jokers” on truTV, features four lifelong friends on a mission to embarrass each other to the max by competing in unbelievably awkward social experiments – all recorded by hidden cameras.

I know what you’re saying: “These shows sound awesome!” and “Get out of my head!!”

Am I psychic? No. As remarkable as it may seem, NewMediaMetrics claims it’s possible to predict with a high degree of accuracy the media people will choose to consume, and what they’ll go out and purchase, based on their emotional attachments to certain brands.

At the core of all this? The bond between a mother and her child.

Though sounding a bit like science fiction, the Emotional Attachment Index is actually based on a 1930s research model developed by psychologist Edward John Mostyn “John” Bowlby, who established a widely accepted measurement scale for that strongest-of-strong human emotional bond between a mother and child.

The Emotional Attachment Index adopts Bowlby’s underlying concept, but it leaves momma behind and instead uses an 11-point system to measure consumers’ attachment to specific brands and media properties.

Those who rate their attachment to a brand to be a 9 or 10 on the scale are the brand’s most loyal prospects – they buy the product with great frequency or view the media intently, and are likely to continue to do so. Accordingly, someone who has a 7 or 8 rating for a brand may be less attached, but on the cusp of brand loyalty.

Knowing this can help marketers target their messages more effectively, as they may want to prioritize their most loyal customers first … or perhaps they want to go after those 7/8 folks who are a nudge or a discount away from becoming those loyal customers.

Each year, NewMediaMetrics surveys 3,500 consumers aged 13 to 54 to gauge their attachment to 330 brands and more than 350 media properties. The data captured is syndicated into three major databases: one measuring the level of attachment, a second that links brands and media platforms and a third focused on TV programming. The company claims that with 85% accuracy, marketers are three times
more likely to drive purchases by targeting consumers with the highest
emotional attachment to their brand in the media outlets to which those
same consumers are also the most attached.

My unfortunate 9/10 emotional attachment to Pepsi actually shows me to have almost the same TV programming preferences as our Honda driver, except reversed: The index predicted I would enjoy “Curiosity” a bit more than “Falling Skies.” I should probably tune in – my 9/10 attachment to Samuel Adams beer independently produced the same results.

So later this fall, look for me on the sofa with a Sam Adams in hand. I wonder if I’ll be seeing commercials for Honda or Pepsi?

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