Media Testing Study
January - September 2014
What is the role of emotion in advertising? Do effective ads tend to evoke stronger emotional responses than their less effective counterparts? Furthermore, what role does music play and does it affect our emotions?
KEY VALUE POINTS
GAUGE SUCCESS - IDENTIFY WINNING SELECTION
OPTIMIZE ADS TO BE MORE EMOTIONAL AND ENGAGING
GAIN BETTER INSIGHT ON CUSTOMERS’ ACTUAL (OVER CLAIMED) BEHAVIOUR
The idea that ads can work by emotional priming, rather than rational messaging, has important implications for market research and ad pre-testing. Most pre-tests and tracking studies focus on how well people notice, remember and understand what adverts say. Over the years, a steady drip of empirical evidence, from the ARF’s 1990 Copy Validation Project to Binet and Field’s analyses of the IPA data, has led to a growing consensus that “traditional” pre-testing needs to be supplemented with other techniques that probe less conscious, more emotional responses to advertising. Skin conductance can be used as a way of measuring emotional priming.
20 different TV ads from several different categories, including finance, drinks, retail, and food were selected from the IPA database. These were matched with another 10 ads from the same categories and comparable brands but where the ads were not judged to be effective on the same criteria.
The ads were embedded into a TV documentary with three ad breaks to create a realistic viewing situation. 10 out of the 20 ads used a music track very prominently. Of these 10 musical ads, each respondent saw 5 in their original form, and 5 with the music track muted.
Whilst each respondent watched the videos, a GSR sensor was measuring their non-conscious response through the Sensum Insights platform. We also asked respondents to rate each ad using a “traditional” research questionnaire which measured advertising recall, branding, communication, etc., and also to indicate their subjectively felt emotions on a non-verbal rating scale.
The results showed that effective ads triggered significantly more and stronger emotional reactions and the same ads with music were experienced as significantly more emotional than with the music track removed.
The respondents’ emotions ratings also differed significantly between effective and ineffective ads and therefore validated the GSR measurements as an objective and non-intrusive tool for measuring emotional arousal.
Biometric responses such as GSR have proven to help evaluate advertising, particularly advertising that works via emotional priming rather than rational messaging.