Derren Brown and cycle helmets

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horizon
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Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby horizon » 12 Oct 2016, 12:46am

I watched Derren Brown last night. I imagined a show where he manages to persuade a large group of cyclists to wear polystyrene "helmets". To do it, he first invites a number of cyclists (selected for their propensity to conform) to a "safety" meeting. He then uses a variety of psychological tricks to get the cyclists thinking about their skulls and imagine what would happen if they were to hit them on a hard object such as the kerb. The constant focus is shown (to the audience) to induce a high level of anxiety centred on each person's skull. He then introduces an "expert" (an actor wearing a white coat) who tells the group that statistically there is a strong likelihood that they will fall and hit their head on the road. Another "expert" (again played by an actor) convinces them that the helmet has been proven in tests to be effective at protecting their skulls in the event of a fall. Derren then explains (to the audience) the power of the "expert authority" and how he has used this in other shows. The combination of induced anxiety and the power of authority works its "magic" and many participants are now thinking of giving the colourful (but useless) "helmets" a try. Finally, another group of actors wearing the "helmets" enables Derren to set up a "group think" situation in which no participant wants to be the only one not wearing the pretend "helmet". The last sceptic bows to the pressure. In the final part of the show, the cyclists are invited to a group ride in public. Derren and the "experts" are present at the start of the ride and only gently suggest that wearing a "helmet" (the plastic covered polystyrene) would be a sensible and obvious thing to do. However the cyclists are already putting their "helmets" on and ride off happily, voluntarily wearing them. Bemused on-lookers at the roadside try to work out what it's all about. The studio audience by this time are laughing and clapping, delighted by another Derren Brown success and the comic but unwittingly humiliating discomfort of the cyclists.
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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby bovlomov » 12 Oct 2016, 11:58am

He must have already done that show, and he's having trouble de-programming his victims.

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horizon
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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby horizon » 12 Oct 2016, 1:29pm

bovlomov wrote:He must have already done that show, and he's having trouble de-programming his victims.


Unfortunately for Brown, quite a few people got in there before him. But what these other people did was follow almost to the letter the techniques he uses in his shows. I tried to follow these as faithfully as I could (there are four techniques in my imagined example) and I cannot see any difference between what he does and what has happened in regard to cycle helmets in the real world.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby bovlomov » 12 Oct 2016, 1:44pm

horizon wrote:
bovlomov wrote:He must have already done that show, and he's having trouble de-programming his victims.


Unfortunately for Brown, quite a few people got in there before him. But what these other people did was follow almost to the letter the techniques he uses in his shows. I tried to follow these as faithfully as I could (there are four techniques in my imagined example) and I cannot see any difference between what he does and what has happened in regard to cycle helmets in the real world.

Yes, it's a very good point. I wonder whether the same case could be made about any number of other safety, health and hygiene products.

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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby meic » 12 Oct 2016, 3:17pm

It is called marketing.
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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby drossall » 12 Oct 2016, 9:49pm

But curiously I'm not sure that helmets ever have been marketed for their safety benefits? The manufacturers can only make supportable claims? Whereas everyone else...

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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby meic » 12 Oct 2016, 9:53pm

I think it fits with Horizon's role play. Derren Brown is the manufacturer/marketer and he uses outside experts to make the claims rather than doing it personally.
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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby Bez » 12 Oct 2016, 11:48pm

Oddly enough I recently tweeted a Derren Brown thing as part of a "why people with one anecdotal experience relating to head injury shouldn't dictate laws about helmets" conversation.

https://twitter.com/beztweets/status/777946788217122816

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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby mjr » 13 Oct 2016, 10:18am

drossall wrote:But curiously I'm not sure that helmets ever have been marketed for their safety benefits? The manufacturers can only make supportable claims? Whereas everyone else...

Helmets have been marketed for the safety benefits. Usually with claims made by unethical retailers, rather than the manufacturers. I've had one ad removed through the ASA (a Halfords ad for the rubbish, ugly Kask Mojito) and I know others have had ads removed. Why aren't you sure that this has been done?
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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby drossall » 13 Oct 2016, 6:40pm

It's widely pointed out in these debates that safety isn't usually a feature of helmet advertising, that's all.

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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby PaulB » 13 Oct 2016, 11:40pm

drossall wrote:It's widely pointed out in these debates that safety isn't usually a feature of helmet advertising, that's all.


Yes, the adverts in cycling magazines enphasise the styling, comfort and ventilation but I can't recall seeing any claims of safety.

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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby mjr » 14 Oct 2016, 11:00am

PaulB wrote:
drossall wrote:It's widely pointed out in these debates that safety isn't usually a feature of helmet advertising, that's all.


Yes, the adverts in cycling magazines enphasise the styling, comfort and ventilation but I can't recall seeing any claims of safety.

It's because it's so insiduous and pervasive that you don't recall them. I doubt we manage to spot and report all incidences of unsupportable safety claims to the ASA - we'd much rather be out cycling, thanks.

Also, a lot of the more egregious safety claims are made by well-meaning sadist volunteers who aren't as accountable as advertisers (who aren't very accountable anyway).
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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby Mick F » 15 Oct 2016, 8:14am

Darren Brown?
Never heard of him.

I've heard of Dan Brown, Joe Brown and Gordon Brown. :lol:
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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby 661-Pete » 15 Oct 2016, 3:18pm

Mick F wrote:Darren Brown?
Never heard of him.

I've heard of Dan Brown, Joe Brown and Gordon Brown. :lol:

Me neither. Anyone remember George Brown? (*gulp*)
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Re: Derren Brown and cycle helmets

Postby horizon » 15 Oct 2016, 8:19pm

Mick F wrote:Darren Brown?
Never heard of him.



No, neither have I. But Derren Brown is a successful and well known performer of magic and other tricks.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher