In my opinion, there is nothing like going to the movies and getting some delicious buttered popcorn. Right after you walk through the movie theater doors you are overcome by the smell at the snack counter. You make your purchase, probably spending a little too much money, and make your way into the theater. Whether you enjoy sitting in the front or the back, you find a seat and settle in. You are probably there before the previews so the lights are a little brighter and some advertisements are playing on the screen. You figure you might as well eat some popcorn while you wait, but little do you know, this makes you immune to the advertisements on the huge 22×52 ft screen in front of you.
How could that be possible? You are watching the advertisements in front of you while enjoying some of your popcorn, but you are not processing the information. Well, a recent study by Cologne University has found that “chewing makes advertising ineffective.” They did a test by having participants sit in a theater and watch advertisements. Half of the participants were given popcorn while the other half was given a sugar cube that dissolved very quickly.
You may have noticed in advertisements, they repeat the name of the product they want you to buy multiple times. In order to learn this new information given to us, we tend to mime the act of speaking even if we aren’t saying anything aloud. Apparently, our brain simulates muscle movements in our throat and mouth to repeat the word that is new or repeated to us. However, this study found that if your mouth is preoccupied with chewing, you will not be able to repeat these muscle movements and therefore don’t remember the information.
What does this mean for movie theater goers? It could be that those of us who don’t want to be persuaded by advertisements will start chewing anything before our movie starts. The companies advertising in movie theaters may want to rethink how they get their message across if people are too busy enjoying their popcorn to pick up on their cues.
Information about the studies mentioned can be found in these two articles: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/13/eating-popcorn-cinema-advertisers