Some neuromarketers look at the recruiting videos of the US military and the Islamic State as a battle for youthful hypothalami. The hypothalamus is an area of the brain pretty near smack dab in the middle of your head. The hypothalamus controls the production of both oxytocin and testosterone. Oxytocin and testosterone are hormones that can inspire us to either cuddle or compete. Consumer neuroscientists say, “If you got them by the hypothalamus their hearts and balls will follow.”
Neurobiologically, one could say: [MASSIVE OVERSIMPLIFICATION ALERT!!!] US military recruiters want your testosterone. More specifically they want your hypothalamus to stimulate the production of testosterone via the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. US military recruiters have for decades produced testosteronic commercials that try to make young men feel like superheroes. Whether it was last century’s “Be all that you can be” or today’s “Army Strong,” the US military ads challenge would-be recruits to “grow a pair” and ready themselves for the honor of battle.
To again MASSIVELY OVERSIMPLIFY!!!, ISIL want your oxytocin! Its neuromarketers want young Muslim hypothalami to turn up turn up the oxytocin, popularly know as the “Cuddle hormone.” Islamic State recruiting videos look like ads for “Camp Jihada”. MujaTweets assumes victory and asks potential jihadis to envision post-battle life. It appeals to dreams of a warm and fuzzy paradise wherein you and your comrades celebrate the triumph of justice and joy. MujaTweets don’t appeal to the hypothalami of guys looking to become action figures. Islamic State neuromarketers aim to crank up the oxytocin and thus motivate dreamers of a better world, to join in the fight for it.
The Islamic State of course produces other media that is brutal and horrific. But their recruitment division focuses on inspiring images of an Islamic Tomorrowland built by an international coalition of the willing Jihadis.
Again I am massively oversimplifying for the sake of comparison… and jokes. But in terms of the current neuromarket competition between the United States and the Islamic State aka the struggle for “hearts and minds” it’s worthwhile to note which side may be aiming at what hormone in the battle for the hypothalamus.