Rob Walker over at the NY Times calls attention to an interesting study conducted at the University of Maryland recently, tracking what is being called “incidental brand-consumer encounters.” Essentially, the research was meant to determine what kind of effect, if any, brands have on us in the context of strangers. With all of the advertising bombarding as we walk down the street, the ones with the most impact might not be traditional advertising at all, but rather subtle cues picked up from the people around us holding cans of Coca-Cola or wearing a T-shirts emblazoned with an easily identifiable logo.

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