NEWS22 March 2016

Emotion, not facts, most effective in advertising

Media News Trends UK

UK — A neuroscientific study has revealed that the overt selling of products in TV ads is a less effective way to be remembered than using real people, emotion and humour. 

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The study, commissioned by Thinkbox and carried out by Neuro-Insight, analysed over 150 ads to understand which creative factors were most strongly correlated with long term memory encoding at key branding moments. 

It was found that neither the ethnicity of characters in TV ads nor the portrayal or women in ‘traditional’ or ‘non-traditional’ female roles made a difference to memory encoding response. The study concluded then that there was no reason for creative agencies to be ‘cautious or conservative when casting and scripting ads'. 

The study also revealed that ads emphasising hard facts and scientific information were on average in the lowest performing quarter of all the ads tested for long term memory encoding. Ads featuring live filming of real people, emotion and humour registered memory encoding levels on average 15% higher. 

Other findings included: 

  • Showcasing a product led to 17% higher memory encoding response than overtly selling
  • Having brand cues interspersed through an ad’s narrative led to 9% higher memory encoding than when a brand was ‘only weakly present throughout the story'
  • Using contrast, breaks and pauses – for example changes in pace or sound – created a 20% higher response than other ads

“There is no recipe for success in TV advertising," said Matt Hill, research and planning director at Thinkbox. "But what this fascinating study by Neuro-Insight shows is that there are lessons to be learned from how the brain reacts to different creative approaches.

"It provides some good rules of thumb to bear in mind for increasing the likelihood of ads being remembered for the long-term.”