Author Archive for Gerd Inger Aarnes


To save 5 dollars or to save 5 dollars?

courtesy of

The way the mind works is not just efficient and logical. Sometimes, the shortcuts your mind takes can be deceptive. Consider this scenario:


You are in a shop buying a 125 dollar jacket and a 15 dollar calculator. The cashier tells you that if you just take a 500 meter walk down the street to another shop, you can get the same calculator for 10 dollars instead of 15 dollars. Would you do that?


…Then consider what you would do if you were in a shop buying a 15 dollar jacket and a 125 dollar calculator. The cashier tells you that if you just walk 500 meters down the street to a different shop, you can get the same calculator for 120 dollar instead of 125. What would you do?


In the first scenario, most people say they would gladly take that 500 meter walk to save 5 dollar on a 15 dollar calculator, in the second scenario most people choose not to go to the next shop to save 5 dollar on the 125 dollar calculator. The difference between the scenarios is proportion. But if you think about it: the proportion should be irrelevant becuase in both cases you save 5 dollars on taking a 500 meter walk.


This is a classic example of how our minds can deceive us by using something called heuristics. The term heuristics was first posited by two Israeli psychologists: Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky in the 80’s. It is basically a way to make up your mind about something without thinking analytically through every possibility (most of the time, there is no time to do that). They conducted several experiments (such as the calculator story above) showing that people very often rely on heuristics to make the process of thinking more efficient.


I’m back!

Dear blog,

It has been one year, three months and eighteen days since my last post. I have started writing posts without finishing three times. I have committed consumer adultery two times consuming foods from the place with the golden arches. I feel truly sorry and I beg for your forgiveness.


Product placement- You either love it or hate it

What brand of sneakers does Marty McFly wear in Back to the future? What is Carrie´s guilty ”shoe-pleasure” in Sex and the city? What brand is Scarlett Johanson and Ewan McGregor´s tracksuits in The Island? You probably know the answer to at least one of the questions listed above. Studies show that product placement in movies is easily noticed by viewers and they remember the products and brands they are exposed of.

Product placements in movies can be something as little as a two second screen shot of the logo of a brand, a character using a product, or a product just about being it´s own part of the plot. Here are some famous examples:

In Seinfeld there are many examples of embedded marketing. My favourite is the episode in which Kramer drops a Junior Mint into the bowels of a patient undergoing surgery just after uttering ”Who´s gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It´s chocolate, it´s peppermint, it´s fantastic!”. The junior mint plays a vital part of the plot in this episode. In Cast away the main character played by Tom Hanks´best friend is a volleyball that goes by the name of Wilson.

Studies show that viewers do remember products and brand from movies. If the viewer is distracted or if there is a time-delay between the viewing and the recall, the explicit memory fades but the unconscious memory prevails. Naturally, if you remember something like someone saying “junior mints are fantastic” but you cannot consciously remember where you heard it or who said it, the memory can trigger a want for that product.

Michael Bay, director of The Island takes advantage of this knowledge:

And in Sex and the city 2, Carrie tries on wedding gowns from 7 –seven different designers and falls in love with Vivienne Westwoods creation at the end:

Not everyone is so fond of embedded marketing as Michael Bay and Michael Patrick King; this is what David Lynch thinks about product placement:


Law and Brown 2000 I´ll have what she´s having: Gauging the impact of product placements n viewers

Shapiro and Krishnan 2001 memory based assessments fo measuring advertising effects. A compraison of explicit and implicit memory effects


The Plastic Island

In 1997 Charles Moore, a sailor and heir to an oil fortune discovered what has since been known as “the plastic Island”.

Moore was on his way home from a yacht race and sailed into the plastic island when he decided to take a shortcut over the North Pacific Gyre. The swirling underwater currents in the area makes dispose from the surrounding coastlines gather in one area. He was horrified by the vast reaches of what appeared to be rubbish consisting mainly of plastic floating around in the North Pacific Ocean. For days his sailboat was surrounded by rubbish. Moore sold his business interests and changed the focus of his foundation Algalita Marine Research Foundation to being devoted solely to research on the impact of plastic pollution on the marine environment and protecting the oceans from pollution. What a hero!

The plastic Island stretches from Hawaii almost all the way to Japan. The size of the area could be about twice the size of the American continent and the depth is up to 10 metres! But why is it there?

Plastic-polymers are not biodegradable. This means that when you put plastic in the rubbish bin it does not disappear, it simply changes location and is subsequently slowly broken into smaller pieces that pollute the environment and the creatures living on land and in the sea. The plastic that is manufactured does not only consist of plastic polymers, but also additives that leak out from the plastic and becomes an unnatural and potentially hazardous part of the metabolism of the creatures that ingest the plastic.

How to save the world from the plastic island

Plastic is used in all sorts of disposable material: plastic cups, carrier bags, food containers and so forth. As consumers, we are responsible for what we buy and dispose of. Here are some simple things YOU can do to save the world from the plastic Island:

  • Use other materials When you have the choice between putting your goods in a plastic bag or a paper bag in the shop, pick paper! Some places they even offer bio-degradable “plastic” bags made from corn starch.
  • Reuse plastic: The plastic containers from Far east take-away can be used as lunch boxes and instead of buying a new bottle of water every day, refill the bottle with tap water. If you stop by Starbucks every day before work for a Frappe, get one of these reusable babies:

You can use them again and again and it keeps your drink cool

  • Recycle plastic: It is crucial to the environment and the survival of the planet that people start recycling plastic. Plastic can be made into new stuff, like furniture, toys and other things.
  • Make others aware: Awareness à Care à Action = saving the planet



Tiger Woods: A falling brand?

Tiger Woods: A falling brand?

Tiger Woods used to be one of the most profitable brands in the world. He has his own video games; he was sponsored by Tag Heuer, Gatorade, Accenture, Gillette and AT & T. He had a gorgeous wife, children and enough money to do silly things like buying himself and island and make himself president of the island. He was known as the world’s best golfer and a role model for young children who were dreaming of becoming as good as Tiger Woods. Nike took advantage of this in the “I am Tiger Woods” ad.

Watching the ad now, in light of this year’s scandals the ad has lost its credibility and makes Tiger Woods seem like a twat. Tiger Woods’ image as a successful, perfect guy and golf player has been shattered by the news about his infidelity. Gatorade, Accenture and AT & T dropped him. And more and more of his mistresses are coming out telling humiliating stories about his affairs. Nike dealt with this by having Tiger in an ad with a sad, regretful look on his face:

However, according to Forbes, the value of the Tiger brand is still strong. The value of the brand is exceeding the value of David Beckham, Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Lebron James combined! Basically, Tiger Woods is hated on the internet (Just look at the comments on his videos on youtube), he is clearly not a role-model for children anymore and his friends do not like him any longer. But at the same time, Forbes says he is the most valuable athlete brand in the world! What is going on here? I think Tiger Woods has lost his credibility as “the good guy” and role-model. But the image of Tiger Woods as the best golf player in the world still stands, and that image is more powerful than the “good-guy” image.

What’s the moral of the story? Tiger Woods can still play golf even though he is a twat. And don’t cheat on Elin Nordegren.



Hamburger University

Did you know that McDonald’s has their own schools for training McDonald’s leaders? McDonald’s has six of these “Hamburger-schools” already and are now expanding with another one in China. Their goal is to educate 5000 McDonald’s leaders the next five years. When I read this news on I almost fell of my chair. It’s a fast-food chain! They cook burgers and sell them to people; do they really need a university to train their own people?

Apparently they do, their first training facility was opened up in 1961 and they have been running and expanding ever since. The official name of the Hamburger school is Hamburger University and they actually receive college credit recommendations from the American council of Education.

At the hamburger school future leaders are trained in McDonalds key values for running a McDonald’s: Quality, Service, Cleanliness and Value. Perhaps the hamburger schools are the reason that all the McDonald’s restaurants are so successful?



Kvikk Lunsj sentimentality

Kvikk Lunsj sentimentality

I love being in America, but watching this commercial made me miss Norway a little bit:

Kvikk lunsj (“quick lunch”) is a chocolate that resembles Kit Kat but tastes so much better. Or does it?

Kvikk lunsj was modelled after Kit Kat, the British chocolate coated biscuit- bars. Personally, I think the major difference between a Kit Kat and a Kvikk lunsj is the sentimental value of a Kvikk lunsj bar. Kvikk lunsj has been marketed as the hiking chocolate for 60 years, and Norwegians love hiking. Easter is high season for Kvikk lunsj as Norwegian families pack their bags and head to the mountains to go hiking and cross-country skiing, with a Kvikk Lunsj in their backpack.

The commercial depicts the spirit of Easter, the true love for nature and how volunteers make all the hiking tracks possible around in the mountains. My favourite part of the commercial is when the man driving the maintenance car that makes the ski-tracks, turns around and looks at the tracks and they are shaped like (inverted) Kvikk Lunsj tracks. In the clip we see volunteers in the Norwegian Trekking association in action. They are building cabins and bridges, putting up signs and paint red T’s on rocks and trees of hiking tracks. The red T’s show where the hiking tracks go and are a sight for the sore eyes of a Norwegian missing home.

Kvikk lunsj, I do not know how you would do in a blind taste test against Kit Kat, but I know that our connection is much deeper than that. You are so much more than a chocolate bar to me. You are everything I like about Norway: hiking with my family, reaching the goal and take a break, simplicity and purity.


Sexing up chocolate milk

Sexing up chocolate milk

Cocio is a Danish chocolate milk brand. The brand is known to be a rather old-fashioned and un-glamorous brand in Denmark where it is preferably drunk together with traditional Danish hot dogs. The Cocio factory in Esbjerg, Denmark produces about 400 000 bottles of Cocio a day and export  to USA, Norway and Sweden.  However, in Norway and Sweden, the sales aren’t going so well. Where I come from (Stavanger, Norway) Cocio is one of those drinks that you find on the bottom shelf in the fridge in the local petrol station.  This image of Cocio as a classic but un-glamorous brand is about to change as Cocio now tries to take over larger market shares in Norway and Sweden.  Cocio’s marketing department decided they wanted to keep their classic image but at the same time, sex it up a little by having Sexy Eva Mendez delivering Cocio milk in this TV commercial:

Michael Broch Hansen, Cocio’s sales- and marketing director says that it is not an easy task to describe what it feels like to drink a bottle of Cocio, but Eva Mendez personifies the experience because she is a classic beaty and at the same time she has that dark side to her, just like Cocio. I think they do a good job with making the brand more sexy and glamorous and at the same time keeping the classic, retro brand-image. What do you think of the commercial? please post a comment!


5 reasons why I love IKEA

IKEA is a Swedish brand that has stores in 25 countries all over the world. The countries with top the sales numbers are Germany, USA and France. Last year, IKEA sales rose by 1.4% despite there being a recession which is not at all surprising as it is a place you can go shopping on a budget, and IKEA is known for their low prices and functionality of their furniture. The low prices is something they are able to offer due to their designers using their creative skills to find the cheapest possible way to manufacture their products and by cutting costs in transportation by packing unassembled pieces of furniture in flat boxes to save money on transportation and assembling. IKEA is no doubt one the reasons why Sweden is ranked high on brand worth. (see

5 reasons why I love IKEA:

1. The IKEA catalog

I used to have a note on my postbox that said “No unadressed mail please, except from the IKEA catalog”. IKEA spend about 70% of their overall marketing budget on the IKEA catalog and more copies of the catalog have been published than copies of the Bible! The catalogs are pretty and can be a good read.

2. The Scandinavian spirit can be seen in the functionality and simplicity of the product designs and the hospitality and homely, friendly environment in the IKEA stores. They even let this guy live in an IKEA store for a whole week:

If you want to see how the rest of the week went, go to

3. Prices for everyone. Even though the cheap prices comes of the cost of having to assemble the furniture yourself which can be a time-consuming and frustrating activity. However, knowing that you built your own kitchen or wardrobe can make you feel like a furniture God/Godess.

4. The Stories and history behind the products: Raise your hand if you own a BILLY bookshelf! The BILLY bookshelf and Klippan sofa has been selling for 30 years, since the start of IKEA. If you remember the old electricity boxes with round knobs that you had to push in when the electricity went out, you might recognise these:

The PS candlelight-holders are made of old-fashioned electricity-box knobs that there was no use in anymore after the electricity-boxes were upgraded with switches instead of knobs.

5. The IKEA meatballs. You cannot go to an IKEA store without stopping by the cafeteria for the Swedish meatballs. They are only one dollar and some customers go to IKEA solely for the meatballs. By offering this cheap dish they draw people into their stores, increasing the likelihood of them buying something they did not know they needed.

…And that is why I love IKEA.





“One of the weaknesses of our age is the inability to distinguish needs from greeds.”

-Don Robinson

Over-consumption is a term used to describe the consumption habits in countries where consumption is unsustainable. Over- consumption is, as you may already know, more or less our fault. 76.6% of the world’s private consumption is carried out by the richest 20% of the world’s population. This picture that shows how emissions of CO2 are spread over the world should give you an idea about exactly how bad we are:

Does this make your  ache? There are ways to make it better:

Suggestion no 1:

  • Meat consumption takes 10 times the amount of resources to produce as a corresponding amount of vegetables. Therefore; quit eating meat.
  • Did you hear about the British MP who announced that he was going to quit flushing after doing “number one” on the toilet? You can do better: Stop flushing the toilet even after number two; it will save much energy and water.
  • While you’re at it, quit showering.
  • Wear your clothes and shoes until they fall of in rags, and then use the rags to sew new clothes. Individualistic and fashionable.
  • Sell your house and start living in a tent instead. That way you won’t have to consume electricity, sewage and garbage disposal services.

However, if you are like me, you love meat too much to give it up, you like smelling nice, you think the sound of a toilet flushing is like msic to your ears. You can still be a normal person but adjust your consumer habits to become more environmentally friendly with these simple steps:

Suggestion 2

  • Turn showers and tap off when your are not using the water.
  • Turn lights off when you leave a room.
  • Print on both sides of the paper.
  • Read the news online instead of buying papers.
  • Bring your own bags when shopping.
  • Choose green products.
  • Use a bicycle to get to work when the weather permits it, rather than driving a car.
  • Give things to do for gifts, like theatre tickets or offer to help out with something for free instead of silly things like ear-muffs shaped like teddy-bears, grapefruit-scented candles, decorative pillows or books titled “100 light-houses you should see before you die”

Next week I become a green consumer super-hero!