There is an excellent post on Mark Lewis' blog that talks a bit about new learning from neuroscience that indicates we are chemically programmed to seek out and enjoy the new - when we encounter this the brain releases a shot of dopamine.
Mark links this to the need for continuous innovation in brand offering and communication (reminds me of the teaching we get early in the ad world about the power of new news) but it also reminds me of why we need to throw away some of the old models of how ads, communication and brands work. We're taught to be single minded, repetitive and reductive - reduce brands and briefs to one word and repeat untl submission. (And Millward Brown et al always debrief pre-tests and tracking on the importance of seeding and repeating one message.) Yet this reduces the chance of a brand being truly interesting (or at least puts all the onus on execution). It's an analogy Russell Davies has used (talking about nuance) but maybe we should start thinking less about single notes being repeated, and think more about the power of chords, harmony and counterpoint in the way brands communicate. You only have to hear old ringtones vs. new polyphonic ringtones to grasp how less interesting the single note is.
A few brands - Nike, Honda (in the UK), HUMMER - seem to have grasped this. Anyone think of some newer, better examples to keep us all interested?