Can advertisers invade your dreams?

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Coors Light developed the first targeted dream incubation advertisement in early 2021. Credit: NewsWire
Coors Light developed the first targeted dream incubation advertisement in early 2021. Credit: NewsWire
[B]rands from Xbox to Coors to Burger King are teaming up with some scientists to attempt [to] “engineer” advertisements into willing consumers’ dreams, via video and audio clips. [Recently,] a group of 40 dream researchers has pushed back in an online letter, calling for the regulation of commercial dream manipulation.

“Dream incubation advertising is not some fun gimmick, but a slippery slope with real consequences,” they write on the op-ed website EOS. “Our dreams cannot become just another playground for corporate advertisers.”

[For example, dream researcher Deirdre] Barrett consulted with the Molson Coors Beverage Company on an online advertising campaign that ran during the Super Bowl. Following her instructions, Coors, which features mountains and waterfalls on its logo, had 18 people (12 of them paid actors) watch a 90-second video featuring flowing waterfalls, cool mountain air, and Coors beer right before falling asleep. According to a YouTube video documenting the effort, when the participants awoke from REM sleep, five reported dreaming about Coors beer or seltzer.

Related article:  ‘Cutting-edge’ artificial cells could boost precision medicine efforts

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“They are coming for your dreams, and most people don’t even know they can do it,” [says neuroscientist Robert Stickgold.]

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