If you plan to welcome the new year with a ritual libation, you might consider whether subliminal factors are at play.
In an experiment, French and German music was played on alternate days from an in-store display of French and German wines over a 2-week period. French music led to French wines outselling German ones, whereas German music led to the opposite effect on sales of French wine.
Responses to a questionnaire suggested that customers were unaware of these effects of music on their product choices. The results may be discussed in terms of their theoretical implications for research on music and consumer behavior and their ethical implications for the use of in-store music.
This according to “The influence of in-store music on wine selections” by Adrian C. North, David J, Hargreaves, and Jennifer McKendrick (Journal of applied psychology LXXXIV/2 [April 1999] pp. 271–76).
In an experiment, 250 adults were offered a glass of wine in return for answering a few questions about its taste. After clearing their palates, each received a glass of either cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay and was taken to one of five rooms: four that each featured a different type of music playing in a continuous loop, and a silent one serving as a control. Participants were asked to spend about five minutes sipping the wine, and were told not to converse.
A smaller pilot study had determined the four types of music:
“powerful and heavy” (“O Fortuna” from Orff’s Carmina burana)
“subtle and refined” (“Вальс цветов” [Val’s cvetov/Waltz of the flowers] from Cajkovskij’s Щелкунчик [Ŝelkunčik/Nutcracker])
After drinking the wine and listening to the music, participants were asked to rate the wine’s taste on a scale from zero to ten in the categories represented by the music types. In each case, participants perceived the wine in a manner consistent with the music they had listened to while drinking it.
Trade cards, which disseminate advertising by fostering cartophilia, have been issued since the early nineteenth century. Some are sources for music iconography, depicting musicians, composers, or dramatic works; those issued by instrument makers often depict their wares in attractive settings.
The card shown above (recto and verso) is an example of the latter, printed for the Estey Organ Company. Behind the group of music lovers, two children gaze at the Estey factory, which is now a museum. The company revolutionized musical life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by using marketing techniques like this card to place Estey organs in homes and institutions throughout the world.
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