Emotional advertising drives greater sales, ThinkTV finds

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 4 December 2017
The 'Friends Forever' campaign from Android used emotion to go viral

An ad that generates a strong emotional response is likely to drive a 30% higher sales boost than one that doesn't make people feel as strongly, according to new research by ThinkTV.

Despite the greater effectiveness, just a quarter of ads deliver a strong emotional response.

The research, which is part of the body’s Benchmark Series study, also claims those ads that get a strong reaction from consumers garner 16% more attention than those that get a weaker reaction - whether it’s positive or negative.

More than 140 Australian consumers were asked to view 15 TV ads and classify their emotional response to each one from a matrix of 16 emotions. The matrix offers four strong emotional responses, four strong negative reactions, four weak positive emotions and four week negative emotions to choose from.

The study also used eye-tracking to measure how much their eyes were on screen, and measures what they call ‘short term advertising strength’ (STAS) which determines the difference between the proportion of people that buy a grocery product having been exposed to advertising for the brand and those that have not.

Unveiling the research, ThinkTV director of research Steve Weaver, says the increasing downward pressure within companies to deliver short-term sales upticks has increased the proportion of rational ads being made by brands.

In line with Peter Field and Les Binet’s acclaimed effectiveness work for the IPA in the UK, it thinks the ratio of brand building ads to rational messaging should be 60/40 - although this is rarely the case.

“In the long-term, brands benefit, it costs money to do it and it takes a longer time to get results, but it you don’t have to spend as much propping up retail [promotions],” he says.

Rowena Newman, ThinkTV head of marketing, adds that the aim of driving sales and growth through brand building activity is to “prime” consumers so that when they arrive at the store they already want to buy the brand.

“You want them to already want Doritos, not just corn chips, for [an intangible] reason they can't explain but they feel,” she says.

The Benchmark Series is part of the research being independently conducted for ThinkTV by Professor Karen Nelson-Field.

Professor Nelson-Field says: “As part of the Benchmark Series, our cross-platform study into the impact attention has on ad sales, we shone a spotlight on the role emotion plays on generating attention and resulting short term sales strength when it comes to TV ads.

“When TV ads elicit strong reactions they will deliver more sales but they are however difficult to create. It is important to recognise that getting your ad seen still plays a more important role: low emotion ads will still gain more attention when distributed on more visible platforms than a highly emotional ad that can barely be seen.”

Kim Portrate, CEO of ThinkTV, ads: “The timing of Karen’s latest findings couldn’t be better as we head into the Christmas selling season and brands seek to stir our emotions with their seasonal ad campaigns.”

“This work is an important next step in ThinkTV’s mission to helping advertisers and agencies, including creative agencies, get the very best out of today’s multi-platform TV, which is brand safe, measurable, reaches more people faster than any other medium and makes advertisers more money than any other medium.”

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Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop me a line at rosiebaker@yaffa.com.au

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