Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why

By Max Sutherland | Go to book overview
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8 VICARIOUS EXPERIENCE AND
VIRTUAL REALITY

The theater is a form of hypnosis. So are movies and TV.
When you enter a movie theater you know that all you are
going to see is twenty-four shadows per second flashed on
a screen to give an illusion of moving people and objects.

Yet despite this knowledge you laugh when the twenty-four
shadows per second tell jokes, and cry when the shadows
show actors faking death. You know that they are an illusion
yet you enter the illusion and become a part of it and while
the illusion is taking place you are not aware that it is an
illusion. This is hypnosis. It is a trance.
1

Robert Pirsig

Virtual reality technology has been developed partly from video games, partly from cinema and partly from flight simulators. It is based on the concepts of illusion and immersion. It creates the illusion of being immersed in an artificial world.

Years ago Morton Heilig (the inventor of Sensorama), after he had seen Cinerama and 3D, said: 'When you watch TV or a movie in a theater, you are sitting in one reality, and at the same time you are looking at another reality through an imaginary transparent wall. However when you enlarge that window enough you get a visceral sense of personal involvement. You feel the experience and don't just see it.'2 Anyone who has been in an Imax big-screen theater will relate to this. As Heilig put it: 'I felt as if I had stepped through that window and was riding the roller-coaster myself instead of watching somebody else. I felt vertigo.'

What has this got to do with advertising? Sometimes studying the extremes of a phenomenon can provide insights into its milder forms

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Advertising and the Mind of the Consumer: What Works, What Doesn't, and Why
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