Theater Ads Ineffective When Already Gorging Yourself on Popcorn

October 15, 2013


Researchers at Cologne University have found the upside to accidentally eating all our popcorn before the movie even starts: though we will still be sad and keep wondering if there's a point we could sneak up and grab a refill, it turns out our mindless gluttony makes us resistant to all the ads before the film.

The secret? All that obnoxious chewing. According to The Guardian, the study showed that those obliviously crunching away during a set of commercials will be vastly less susceptible to their influence thanks to "inner speech."

Apparently, when we hear a brand name, our tongues and mouths subconsciously practice saying the word, ensuring that we'll never mistakenly call it an "ip-odd" again. Chewing disrupts that subtle inner mouth movement, as the researchers demonstrated in an experiment that subjected 96 movie-goers to the usual pre-show ads. Half the participants were given a steady stream of popcorn; the rest were given the most obvious placebo in a sugar cube that quickly dissolved. The results:

A test at the end of the screening showed that the adverts had left no effect on those viewers who had chewed their way through popcorn throughout, while the other participants showed positive psychological responses to the products they had encountered in the ads.

"The mundane activity of eating popcorn made participants immune to the pervasive effects of advertising," said Sascha Topolinski, one of the researchers.

So maybe that's why some of your friends really like that Kia commercial with the hamsters.

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