NEWS23 March 2010

Conquest hopes new viral ad measure will prove InfeXious


UK— Conquest has spent the past year investigating what makes an idea ‘contagious’ – something consumers just can’t help passing along. The result, an online tool called InfeXious, claims to know the answer.

According to Conquest, an idea is likely to catch on and go viral when it generates buzz and a desire to belong, inspires awe in consumers and brings with it a sense of energy and excitement.

InfeXious measures whether these attributes apply to a given concept by bringing the creative to consumers and asking them to show what they think other people will feel about an idea, using cartoon characters in a variety of settings – an approach that builds on the agency’s existing Metaphorix and AdSpark tools.

So, for instance, respondents are asked to score whether an idea is likely to create a sense of wanting to belong by positioning characters within a sphere surrounding the brand, while ‘numinosity’ – the awe-inspiring potential of a product – is represented by the number of characters who are illuminated using the click of a mouse.

In a paper presented today at the Research 2010 Annual Conference, Conquest boss David Penn drew a distinction between a contagious idea and an engaging one – ‘engagement’ typically being seen as a prerequisite for a successful viral campaign.

Penn said: “Although closely linked, it appears that contagiousness and engagement are not the same thing. Contagious ideas are different because they produce a ‘social’ response (in addition to the individual one) – one that encourages us to share the idea with others.

“Contagious advertising therefore has to have a quality that goes beyond advertising engagement – a quality best captured by measures of numinosity, energy and excitement. In metaphorical terms, it’s about ideas that capture our imagination, which spark and light a fire under the brand they advertise. Thus, unsurprisingly, inspiration and empathy also seem to be key qualities of contagious advertising, whilst (rationalised) enjoyment, delivering new news and providing a call to action are less important.”