I was watching a TED talk given by Rory Sutherland last night. In case you don’t know, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and is known for it’s conferences where speakers share “ideas worth spreading”. The lectures given at these conferences are freely available on the internet and I highly recommend watching them.
Rory Sutherland is the vice chairman of the Ogilvy Group. I’ve embedded the talk below. He speaks about how advertising provides value by changing our perception of a product rather than the product itself. His main point is that a change in perceived value can be just as important as a change in real value. I think this is manifest in the food industry where a change in perception often drives up (or lowers as the case may be) the demand for a given product. Think of the change of perception around fast food lately perhaps due to movies like Super Size Me having an impact on how we perceive it – the food itself has not changed.
I also like how Rory makes his point using a couple of food related cases: the adoption of the potato by the Prussians under Fredrick the Great, and Shreddies.