HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Neuromarketers Score a Win By Using Brain's Response to Magazine Cover Choices

The magazine New Scientist chose its August cover based on tests of three covers by neuromarketers who study the brain's response to products. Did it work? Apparently, yes. The NY Times reports that

Graham Lawton, the deputy editor of the magazine, said in a release last week that the issue had sold 12 percent more than the same issue a year ago, sales “much higher than we would expect for a similar cover story at that time of year, so we would certainly say the experiment was a big success.”

NeuroFocus, a California company, tested three covers prepared by the magazine, using an electroencephalograph machine to measure brain waves of the subjects in the test. It then rated the results on a scale of 1 to 10, based on factors like memory activation and emotional engagement.

A. K. Pradeep, chief executive of NeuroFocus, said a magazine cover was no different than the packaging of a consumer good, something his company regularly tests.

The top-scoring cover had the logo in red (emotionally involving) and a single main image of space (limited distractions) with a curve at the bottom split open to reveal fabric. That split, when combined with the tagline, “Has the fabric of the universe unraveled?” gave a dose of brain candy. Over all, the cover scored 8.2.

When the issue was on the newsstand, Mr. Lawton said he would be interested in testing other parts of the magazine, and acknowledged that any apples-to-apples comparison over an issue from a year prior was difficult to come by, as there were many uncontrollable variables.

Still, he said, “we found this to be tremendously useful. It confirmed some of our hunches.”

It wasn’t too bad for the bottom line, either

September 6, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Costs Are Being Shifted Onto Workers For Family Coverage

The amount that workers are paying toward the cost of family health coverage increased this year by 14 percent, or $482, according to the benchmark 2010 Employer Health Benefits Survey released September 3 by the Kaiser Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET). This means that workers are paying on average nearly $4,000 per year for family health coverage. Selected findings were published September 3 as a Health Affairs Web First article.

The jump occurred even though the total premiums for family coverage, including what employers themselves contribute, rose a modest 3 percent to $13,770 on average in 2010. The amount employers contribute for family coverage did not increase.

Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) continue to dominate the employer market, enrolling 58 percent of covered workers. Average PPO family premiums topped $14,000 annually in 2010.

Since 2005, workers' contributions to premiums have gone up 47 percent, while overall premiums rose 27 percent, wages increased 18 percent, and inflation rose 12 percent. Many employers are also raising the annual deductibles workers must pay before their health plans begin to share most health care costs. A total of 27 percent of covered workers now face annual deductibles of at least $1,000, up from 22 percent in 2009, the survey finds. Among small firms (3-199 workers), 46 percent face such deductibles.

September 5, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)