In our busy everyday lives it’s hard to appreciate that everything we experience is actually processed inside our brain. Every movement, every decision and every feeling is the result of billions of tiny brain cells talking to each other via weak electrical impulses. In total they would power a dim light bulb.
It is a complex system; in fact there are more connections between the neurons in your brain than there are known stars in the universe. However over the past century Neuroscientists have been discovering the functions of each part of the brain and how to take a look at just what is going on inside our skulls.
Launched in 2011, MyndPlay are a new London based company who have a very practical way of measuring brain activity without the messy use of drills, wires or conductive gels. They use EEG (Electroencephalography to be proper) which essentially consists of a sweatband that goes round the head with sensors round the front to pick up the weak electrical impulses discharged by the brain. These are positioned round the front in order to measure focus and concentration.
Early on in 2012, Tre Azam, the Myndplay Founder, came to an event organised by OgilvyLabs. Here he met an Ogilvy Creative Director who’d already been looking for a way to measure pleasure for premium (and very delicious) chocolate brand Beyond Dark. Discussion began about whether the headsets could be adapted to measure pleasure. In theory it could work. The ‘prefrontal cortex’ – the bit just inside your forehead – has strong connections to the deep, primal part of your brain where pleasure originates.
And so a small space ad was placed in Metro calling for participants in the first ever scientific study of its kind. Popping bubble wrap, blowing bubbles, stroking kittens and classical music were all benchmarked on the brand new pleasure scale developed by MyndPlay and Beyond Dark.
The project grew to be a collaboration between OgilvyOne, OgilvyLabs, Ogilvy PR and Birkbeck University and as a result is now making headlines around the globe and will form part of academic literature.
Aside from being a fascinating piece to read about, it was also great news for Beyond Dark who found that just one tiny drop of their chocolate was even more pleasurable than stroking a kitten or listening to a concert violinist!
The Measure of Pleasure is a fantastic example of how collaboration makes for a brilliant project that could not have been achieved by individual parties. It’s a great case study of how by connecting the right people and working together we can achieve such innovative and interesting work. Watch the video below.
Daniel Bennett is a Project Manager OgilvyOne London in their Digital Labs.
Follow Daniel on Twitter at @danbenyork