Getting emotional about advertising

Tony Lewis from Vision One describes how the latest thinking and findings from its own research is helping advertisers to develop more effective advertising.

Sponsored by Vision One


If you’re an advertiser, then it’s probably time
to rethink your approach to advertising development and research. Combining the latest thinking with its own extensive research into emotion and the triggers that drive it, Vision One has created
an innovative tool for creative agencies and their clients to develop highly effective advertising.

The new product – AdProbe – includes more than 50 metrics to assess the impact and success of commercials and other creative treatments.

Developed over the past two years, AdProbe incorporates the latest insights into advertising effectiveness. It is unique in the sense that it focuses on optimising advertising effectiveness, and sales, rather than simply replaying how consumers react to it.

The tool is, quite simply, the most innovative and practical approach to advertising evaluation and optimisation to date. AdProbe is built on many new ideas, the importance of emotion and a new framework for evaluating it, developing buzz, the realisation that people respond
to advertising in different ways and the need
to have a suite of metrics for effective evaluation.

The long-term benefits of emotion

In the most comprehensive analysis of the communications process ever undertaken, authors Les Binet, European director of DDB Matrix, and Peter Field, marketing consultant at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), have practically turned the advertising world on its head. Their report, Marketing in the Era of Accountability, is based on 880 case studies drawn from the IPA databank and is arguably the most definitive study ever of advertising effectiveness and the strategies that achieve it.

The main finding was that emotional campaigns are the most effective and outperform rational campaigns in terms of increasing penetration, sales and market share in the long term. The only exception is for direct response, the short term, where rational messages appear more effective.

It was found that creativity is fundamental
to driving emotions and that creatively awarded campaigns were 11 times more effective than those that were not. The use of emotions in ads
is also supported by recent work in neuroscience.

Creating emotion has two key benefits. Firstly, emotions help to generate engagement and memorability. Vision One’s work around the triggers of emotion highlights how all kinds
of emotions can dramatically affect the way people respond to advertising and impact positively on people’s involvement with the advertising. Secondly, emotions can be transferred to the brand and positive emotions can enhance perceptions and empathy with the brand.

As they watch an ad, viewers’ emotional responses can be analysed second by second

But creating emotion doesn’t just mean tearjerking, funny or melodramatic, it really means tapping into what people care about. Vision One has created a unique new framework for defining and evaluating emotions and emotional content within advertising.

Working with leading UK psychologists, Vision One has identified seven triggers of emotion that specifically relate to advertising. These
are creativity, power, alarm, passion, intrigue, prestige and reassurance.

Rigorous testing shows that advertising with
a strong emotional content is most likely to engage consumers and develop a stronger attitudinal and behavioural response. Vision One defines this content as the Emotional Intensity Index or E-Index. More importantly, there is a strong and measurable link between emotion and purchase intentions and overall advertising effectiveness.

Most advertising tends to have one or two dominant triggers. It is very difficult to activate
all seven triggers and typically there is at least one weak trigger to be found in every ad. This is to be expected, as advertising works in a myriad of ways with differing objectives and communication strategies. These will seek to achieve a range
of reactions, from challenging current perceptions and improving brand empathy to increasing penetration and frequency of purchase.

Vision One also uses facial expression analysis software from Affectiva to provide second-by- second analysis of how people are emotionally responding to an ad.

Buzz can amplify your advertising

The study also showed that while rational strategies yielded the lowest return on profits, those that sought to create brand fame or buzz (that is, encourage people to talk about the brand) outperformed strong emotional strategies by 39 per cent. As a result, Vision One has become one of the first research organisations to adopt new metrics to monitor and assess the ability of an ad to create word-of-mouth buzz. Needless to say, having an emotional hook is essential.

A third finding was that many of the traditional indicators of advertising success – awareness, standout test and other singular measures
– were not reliable predictors of advertising success. Indeed, standout measures were the least accurate. Best practice, according to the IPA, involves a ‘metric of metrics’ or balanced scorecard approach to advertising evaluation.

On the back of this, Vision One has developed new metrics more closely aligned with sales and advertising effectiveness. This incorporates measures around emotion (E-Index) and response (impact and influence), sticky (memorable), fame (buzz) and branding (how the brand is integrated into the advertising).

This new learning and thinking can now be applied throughout the creative process through qualitative focus groups, or quantitatively as
a pre-test on an animatic of fully finished film.

AdProbe’s new metrics are designed to give advertisers the clearest picture yet about how their advertising is working. Beyond emotions and consumer responses, it explores the relationship between brand, messaging and other creative elements to ensure they all work together to maximise impact.

If you’re passionate about advertising or intrigued to find out more, please 
let us know.

Tony Lewis

Vision One Research Ltd

85-87 Bayham Street

T: 020 7692 0702