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There’s Scientific Proof That You Should Eat Popcorn at the Movies
by Rebecca Pahle | 4:15 pm, October 16th, 2013
A study by researchers at the Cologne Institute has determined that eating popcorn makes moviegoers at least somewhat immune to advertisements—for example, those godawful commercials that you’re forced to sit through before the movie starts. “Thank you for watching Regal FirstLook” my tuchus. Not like I have a choice, Regal.
The idea behind the study, published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, is that whenever we hear a new name our tongue subconsciously practices its pronunciation, and that’s how commercials manage to imprint brand names onto our brain. But if we’re eating popcorn our mouths are already moving, so that process is interrupted. The researchers invited 96 people—half of whom got free popcorn, half of whom only got a small sugar cube that dissolved instantly in their mouths, poor guys—to watch a commercial/movie combo. The ads left no psychological impact on the popcorn group, but the sugar cube group found themselves with warm, fuzzy feelings toward Coke or Toyota or whatever the ads were for.
Says researcher Sascha Topolinski:
“The mundane activity of eating popcorn made participants immune to the pervasive effects of advertising… This finding suggests that selling candy in cinemas actually undermines advertising effects, which contradicts present marketing strategies. In the future, when promoting a novel brand, advertising clients might consider trying to prevent candy being sold before the main movie.”
Eagle-eyed readers will note that Topokinski said “candy,” not “popcorn,” and that if the mere act of chewing interrupts advertising’s siren call then people should be able to eat anything, even chew gum, and get that same effect.
You’re wrong. I mean, you’re technically, scientifically right, but you’re also wrong on such a fundamental level that it beggars belief. Because there’s no better movie theater snack then popcorn. Nachos? Pah. Hot dogs? Please. Junior Mints maybe, but preferably in conjunction with popcorn. I’m generally a peaceful person, but I will fight you on this, I swear. It’s a matter of honor.
Also: If advertisers ever convince movie theaters to stop selling snacks, I will riot. Who’s with me?