New Study: Popcorn at the Movies may Decrease Effectiveness of Ads

Researchers at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany have come to the conclusion that “oral interference,” like eating popcorn, makes the effectiveness of an ad for a new brand virtually nonexistent. Ironic? Eating popcorn and chewing on gum or candy is what many people like to do while waiting for their feature presentation.

Researchers gave half of the 96 total participants a constant supply of popcorn during a movie and the other half were given a small sugar cube that dissolved on their tongues, preceding a series of ads.


A week later, both groups’ reactions to the ads were assessed. The sugar cube group demonstrated a preference for the advertised products over new ones, however, the popcorn group’s opinions about the advertised products had not changed.

According to The Guardian, the reason why ads for new brands tend to normally stick in our mind is that our lips and the tongue automatically simulate the pronunciation of a new name when we first hear it. Every time we re-encounter the name, our mouth subconsciously practices its pronunciation. Kind of freaky, right? However, according to the study this “inner speech” can be disturbed by chewing, rendering the repetition effect redundant.

So, what’s worse? Mindless eating or mindless marketing? That bucket o’ popcorn can set you back a good 1,200 calories, while that new brand you fall in lust with could consume next month’s paycheck. Perhaps snack on some carrots at your next movie and avoid the calories and the consumerism.

Image Source: Robert Banh/Flickr