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BUENOS AIRES — Did your parents ever tell you that chewing gum made you look like a cow chewing cud? One social experiment-based ad tells a different story.
On Oct. 1, 2013, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Buenos Aires hosted an installation featuring identical twins called “Almost Identical.” But it wasn’t just any installation: It was a social experiment.
Advertisers Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi created the installation for gum company Beldent in an effort to debunk the idea that chewing gum “gives a bad impression,” according to the company's website.
The exhibit asked participants to sit in front of five different pairs of identical twins and answer questions about which twin was more or less appealling. The twins each had the same hairdo, outfit and posture; the only difference was that one twin was chewing gum.
Participants were asked questions like, “Which one seems like he has more friends?” and “Which one is the ‘bad cop’?”
The conclusion at the end of the experiment suggests that the majority of people may not see gum chewing as a turn-off.
The ad company’s site states: “Of the 481 people who participated in the experiment, 73 percent favored those twins who chewed gum, proving that chewing gum doesn’t give a bad impression. In fact, it does the opposite.”
The video is fascinating, but the experiment failed to take into account that some gum chewers don’t just chew gum, they pop it, chomp it and smack it for hours on end. And I have a feeling a social experiment based on gum chompers would have a quite different conclusion.
So maybe your parents were wrong about the impression that gum chewing gives, but they were probably right in their instruction to chew with your mouth closed.