Digital marketing, behavioral marketing, neuromarketing, psychology, childish, robot

Don’t forget to be childish

Dalibor Šumiga Behavioral marketing/Neuromarketing, Marketing

This is M-O … (pronounced “Mo”).

Digital marketing, behavioral marketing, neuromarketing, psychology, robot

M-O was named after a character from the Wall-E cartoon.

M-O is trained for two things – cleaning and mopping floors.

M-O lives in my house.

We’re neither the first nor the last family that has a cleaning robot , but more interesting is that certainly we’re not the only family that talks to a cleaning robot.

If you have a cleaning robot, ask yourself have you ever talked to him? Sure, he can’t answer you, but did you talk to him?

A few months ago it seemed crazy to me, I even laughed at my family in such situations.

Until the day when M-O came into my office and I told him, “M-O, do you have to (clean) right now while I’m working?”

I have fallen, just like most of you, into a very banal psychological “trap” called anthropomorphism – giving human characteristics to things, animals, plants and supernatural phenomena.


Anthropomorphism is present in marketing, usually through cute mascots representing brands. In Croatia, the most famous, and probably the longest-lived example of anthropomorphism is the bear Lino, with which generations have grown up who literally pass on their attachment (to this cute bear) to their children. Technology is changing, communication channels are changing, but the Lino bear is still a favorite character of most people in Croatia, regardless of age.

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It has been proven that anthropomorphism in marketing reinforces the emotional connection between customers and the brand and although we know that we do not communicate with real beings; we prefer brands that have human characteristics.

The next time you notice a mascot at a promotion, just observe the reaction of passers-by. Regardless of age, the reactions are amazing.

If you’ll have the opportunity to stop by the headquarters of Podravka, the company that created the Lino bear, there is a high probability that you will meet him in the hallway.

Since Promosapiens has been running a Lino’s Facebook page for years, I can tell you from first-hand experience that no one is indifferent when they meet a Lino bear in the hallways of a mega-company, not even the employees who spend every day in that place.


An interesting fact is that the use of anthropomorphism at some point has gone out of focus.

Probably because marketers have become bored with that way of communication, but there’s no evidence (at least I haven’t found it) that the use of anthropomorphism has bored customers.

In Croatia, the last campaign that used this psychological phenomenon gave excellent results (it is Konzum’s campaign “Zdravoljupci”).

An interesting example of what happens when you remove anthropomorphism from your strategy is described by Martin Lindstrom in his book “Small Data”.

Lindstrom was hired by a well-known manufacturer of cleaning robots, Roomba, to find the reason for the drop in sales.

Lindstrom’s research led to the conclusion that the drop in sales occurred because the manufacturers removed the characteristics that made cleaning robots “cute”.

Interestingly, the designers of Roomba’s iRobot also found inspiration for their product in the cute R2-D2 from Star Wars. The R2-D2 communicates with the rest of the world using confusing but cute electronic sounds.

Similarly, an iRobot would say “uh-oh” when it hits an object or produce a “dood dood” sound when moving backwards.

For some reason, the designers removed those sounds and thus automatically removed that emotional component of the cleaning robot.

Customers not only considered the cleaning robot as a piece of technology but also as a cute pet. Identically, M-O became cute to my family.

Remember, some things may seem childish to you just because you look at them as a professional, in a business suit, and think the “lack of seriousness” would harm you or your brand image.

But don’t forget, when you take off that business suit, you are also a person of flesh and blood – playing on the floor with your own children, maybe dancing on tables, maybe wearing funny costumes when there are masquerades, maybe jumping naked into the sea….

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Whether you admit it or not, there is still Peter Pan syndrome in you, you just suppressed it so it is not visible while you are at work.

Your customers don’t have that obligation, they can be whatever they want, and they want to see in your brand everything that reminds them of the most beautiful times of their lives.

You don’t have to think too much to say that the most beautiful time of your life was when you were kids.