June 24, 2006

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo...

As we watched one of the soccer games from the World Cup on television last evening, my older son, Aidan, remarked on how difficult it must be for the commentary team to remember the names of so many different players from one game to the next. Yet as we watched the ball being transferred from one to the other, sometimes at breathtaking speed, the names seemed to just roll off the tongue of the commentator. How do they do that?

I remember hearing how the human mind is confused by too much choice, yet here you have the option of ten outfield players on each team, often with little to distinguish them and seen from a distance, and somehow the commentator picks out the right one every time. (Or perhaps they simply call it with such confidence that we believe they must be right?). I know they rehearse the team-list before the game, but still...

I wonder whether it'’s something to do with the personal element? Perhaps the human mind struggles to make a distinction between more than three objects or ideas but revels in the variety thrown up in a typical group of people? Fans of TV series such as The Soprano'’s or Lost seem to have no difficulty following the wide array of characters and their back-stories and jumping from one plotline to the next.

Maybe that'’s it? Maybe that'’s why brands that rely on listing functional strengths and benefits are largely forgettable whilst brands that add some touch of personality and tell a story seem to be more easily remembered?

Mind you, I'm not so sure that explains why TV commentators can distinguish between one horse and the next, simply by their racing-colours. Perhaps the pundits simply have unusually sharp eyes and power of recall..?

Technorati Tag: World Cup, brand

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