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Study Looks at Playstation vs Xbox Psychology

by Rainier on Aug. 7, 2006 @ 12:39 p.m. PDT

Market research consultancy Anderson Analytics has devised a technique to measure subconscious attitudes of potential consumers, combining personality psychologists with new text mining software. The technique was used to measure Playstation vs. Xbox, and Barbie vs. Bratz research.

The new methodology exposes respondents to a certain pictures or video (the control stimulus), the respondents are then asked to write a short story based upon the pictures or video. Each respondent story is then analyzed for themes, word choice, and content to indicate the subject's baseline subconscious state. Then half of the respondents are exposed to one ad or brand logo, and the other half to a different brand ad or logo. Respondents are asked to complete a similar short story exercise, and the subconscious effects of the brand logo or advertising can then be measured.

Anderson used this methodology to measure how youth respond to Barbie/Bratz or Playstation/Xbox images on a subconscious level, thus indicating how they may act on a consumer level. Anderson's study determined that there were marked differences between initial baseline psychological measures and post-advertising measures.

For all girls viewing either Barbie or Bratz ads, respondents became either more distrustful of the brand, more interested in the prestige and status of the brand, or more confident of the brand after rating the ad. Girls who were exposed to the Barbie brand ads exhibited a more trusting psychological state than those who were exposed to the Bratz brand.

"It is not surprising that Mattel's Barbie brand has been able to build a great deal of trust with girls over the years," said Tom Anderson, Principal of Anderson Analytics. "Yet the results also indicate that MGA Entertainment has done a good job building `other' emotional equity into the Bratz brand".

Likewise there were significant differences between boys who saw Playstation images and Xbox images. Boys who saw XBox pictures were higher on power motivation than boys who saw Playstation images. Boys in the Xbox group also scored higher on self-confidence than participants in the Playstation group. In addition to these differences between Playstation and Xbox, the images of these game consoles affected boys in different ways. For boys in the Xbox group seeing the ad increased levels of distrust. This increase was not seen in the Playstation group.

"The differences are striking," said Dr. Anna Song, consultant for Anderson Analytics. "The participants were randomly assigned to groups, so to find these types of psychological differences is conceptually interesting. The implication for these findings is that exposure to ads can have a significant effect on young adults."

"Our findings confirm that brand advertising can increase positive attitudes and perceptions," said Tom Anderson. "The reverse is also true. Some ads actually decrease brand trust in the target market. That's why it's more important than ever for marketers to pay attention to psychological profiles and the power of the subconscious mind."

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