NEWS7 September 2009

GfK’s EMO Sensor to gauge emotional response to adverts

Europe New business

GERMANY— GfK has launched a service to measure consumers’ emotional reactions to advertising and marketing campaigns, called the EMO Sensor.

The firm worked with Saarland University’s Institute for Consumer and Behavioural Research to develop the service, which asks study participants to describe their responses to creative executions using a series of pictures depicting certain emotions.

GfK’s work with the university identified 22 different emotions that have a “significant impact on the behaviour of consumers”, including surprise, interest and boredom.

This information was used to compile a series of images of adults and children expressing these emotions, which are shown to respondents after they have been exposed to the advert being tested. Respondents are then asked to pick which of the images best match their feelings towards the ad, said Oliver Hupp (pictured), GfK’s divisional manager for brand and consumer research.

A trial study of the EMO Sensor found that not everyone responds to an ad with the same single emotion. “Rather,” GfK said, “advertising usually triggers distinct patterns of emotional response or ‘emotional schema’. The consistency of these schema across the ads tested in this global study reveal a deeper understanding of the emotional landscape of brand advertising.”

GfK plans to use the EMO Sensor across the world in its brand and consumer research. The firm said the service is market-ready in Europe and the Americas while a specially-tuned version is being developed for Asia.