advertising keeping it real with neuromarketing

Guest blog: Successful Ads Keep it Real

In Customer Experience, Featured on App, Marketing and Sales by Caroline Hornby

advertising keeping it real with neuromarketing

Engaging people emotionally is a key part of making a successful ad

At Realeyes, we test hundreds of ads every week, measuring people’s reactions to the content they’re viewing, whether good or bad. We’ve observed an interesting trend lately – the rise (or should I say return?) of the home video.

Well, ‘home video’ isn’t perhaps quite right but there’s been an emerging trend for realistic ‘experience’ ads with a very amateur feel. Ads deliberately filmed à la Blair Witch Project depicting ‘real’ people, focusing on story rather than product, and reaping very high emotional engagement as a result.

These ads – such as Ford’s ‘Echt: Germans Learn a Stunning Truth at Frankfurt Motor Show’, or the ‘Devil Baby’ video promoting the film Devil’s Due – are designed to entertain the same way film studios and program-makers seek to entertain. They’re light on product features, but strong on narrative, suspense, humour – all features which recurrently make for high-scoring ads in our database. They often show the product in action, but the product is not always the main focus, which is very tricky to pull off, and exactly why authenticity goes a long way in doing so. (See LG’s ‘So Real It’s Scary’ series or Nivea’s ‘Stress Test’.)

It’s much easier to make a good-looking ad these days – a glossy finish has never been simpler to achieve, with post-production being as important as the shoot itself. A high level of execution is the standard. Take L’Oreal ads for example – all gorgeous models and impossibly shiny hair rippling across your TV. These ads are so highly polished that they look perfect – and feel fake. They leave the audience cold. We’re no longer impressed by glossy perfection, because it’s easy to achieve and, as a result, it’s become a common aesthetic.

Back to ‘Ford – Echt’. Paco Erhard, a presenter, walks around Frankfurt asking Germans who they think makes the best engine in the world. The ad is insensitively shot wide angle, giving the impression that a man with a cam is following him around. Paco himself is slightly chubby, unshaven, dressed casually, and prone to offhand comments to the cameraman – Cheryl Cole he is not.

And yet the ad garnered an exceptional EmotionAll® score (our combined measure of an ad’s attraction, retention, engagement and impact). The initial ‘Attraction’ score was average, but both happiness and engagement rise exponentially as the ad continues. Viewers were engaged in the premise – letting Germans know that it’s actually Ford who won best engine of the year – and amused by the way Paco went about it. The overwhelming impression is of a simple focus on narrative and humour that eschews high production values – even if a close examination of the ad will reveal that it’s expertly cut to achieve that very amateur feel.

No wonder brands have made an about-turn, leaving emotionless lustre behind in favour of realism. It’s ironically an almost anti-advertising stance, which contrasts high vs. low production values, and the hard vs. soft sell, equating emotional (and brand) honesty with the amateur, the everyman; and turning artlessness into an art form.

Mihkel Jaatma, CEO at Realeyes, will be hosting an interactive roundtable discussion at the upcoming Neuromarketing Briefing on the topic, ‘Get management buy-in for neuromarketing strategies.’ Book now to join him in exploring key issues like predicting the success or failure of a large campaign before its release, launching new products, and adapting neuromarketing to suit your business needs.

This guest blog post was kindly provided by Costanza Scarpa, Account Manager at Realeyes.

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