Post Office brings neuroscience to its Christmas advertising campaign

Festival of Marketing 2015: The Post Office is using neuroscience principles in a bid to achieve a deeper emotional impact with its new Christmas TV advert.

The ad is not due to air until 2 December, but Post Office CMO Pete Markey gave an exclusive preview of the spot during his presentation at the Festival of Marketing this morning (12 March).

The advert again features The Inbetweeners actor Simon Bird, who began fronting the Post Office’s campaigns earlier this year.

It shows Bird sending a Christmas parcel in a Post Office branch before daydreaming about running in the snow and performing a ‘chest bump’ with Santa Claus. It ends with the line ‘Christmas. Sorted’.

Markey said the ad was part of the Post Office’s efforts to achieve a deeper emotional resonance with consumers. This involves appealing to the ‘system 1’ brain – a term used by neuroscientist Daniel Kahneman to refer to people’s unconscious responses and feelings. This contrasts to the more superficial, conscious thinking that people do via the ‘system 2’ brain.

“We’re trying to show the feeling that you get from sorting things out through the Post Office,” explained Markey. “We’ve deliberately moved away from just telling you what we do. A year ago our Christmas campaign was about telling you what we had changed, the fact that we’re open for longer and all the things that we do.

“That worked very well on one level, and performed very well commercially, but it didn’t go deeper into actually changing the way people feel about the business. We’re starting to look much more at both system 1 and system 2 thinking, to really show what customers are feeling.”

The Post Office has embraced neuroscience as it looks to dramatically improve its customer experience. Markey, who joined the Post Office 18 months ago from RSA Insurance Group, said this included testing heart and sweat monitors on customers as it experiments with new concept branches.

The first such branch opened in London’s Kennington Park in May and includes new features like an app that allows customers to ‘check in’ to the queue and a focus on products and services tailored to the demographics of the local area.

Markey said the Post Office would continue using this scientific approach as it looks to improve other branches. “Customer experience is the new branding,” he claimed. “You can have the most amazing campaign in the world, but if that’s not delivered when people go online, in your branch or when they phone you, then it’s just a waste of money.”

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