Mindshare’s NeuroLab has been launched with the goal of challenging long-held marketer assumptions around ad creative, storytelling, and more, and create new opportunities for brands to connect with consumers .
In the New York office of Mindshare U.S., the global media agency network of WPP, the NeuroLab uses medical-grade EEG (electroencephalogram) and GSR (galvanic skin response) technology to measure second-by-second, non-conscious neurological responses to brand stories and media. The NeuroLab supplements the data from these neurological responses with pre-and-post Implicit Association Tasks (implicit bias testing), as well as quantitative survey responses.
First stop: Audio-only ads vs visual-only ads. “One of the most surprising, and moving, findings from the study was just how enormous the power of audio was for speaking to consumers in very personal ways,” Arafel Buzan, Co-Lead, NeuroLab, Mindshare U.S., tells Cynopsis. “For example, when an ad mentioned ‘love’ we saw 40% higher emotional intensity of the ad when it was audible versus visual. When we hear a love story, we cast the ad with actors from our very own love stories, creating more personal and powerful content. Just think, if you hear an ad about ‘the most beautiful woman in the world’ versus if you’re shown the woman—with the former, when you hear the line you think of your version of beauty, or a loved one. The power of audio to tap into the vividness of our memories and daydreams is a massive underutilized resource in media. We hear so much about personalization in media, but there’s nothing more personal than our own memories.”
1. Audio ads elicit much stronger emotions from consumers.
Brand stories told just audibly elicited an average of 21% higher emotional intensity than brand stories told just visually, eliciting an average of 50% more positive emotional peaks than brand stories told just visually.
2. Consumers are much more receptive to audio branding and calls-to-action.
At the moment of end branding, audio stories elicited 18% higher average positive emotional response than visual-only stories. This resulted in a more positive encoding of the brand. When comparing audio-only ads to visual-only ads or ads that have both, audio was the only one with a consistent increase in emotional engagement for the end branding. In contrast, consumers were much more likely to shut off emotionally by the end of visual-only or combined ads. There is something about audio ads that makes calls-to-action uniquely positive emotional experiences for consumers.
In addition, implicit bias testing also showed that brand stories told just audibly elicited three times more positive brand associations than brand stories told just visually—though not as much as combined audio/visual stories.
3. Love is a story best told between the ears.
The research found 40% higher emotional intensity for audio brand stories that mentioned “love” when compared to visual-only brand stories that mentioned love.
The next phase of Mindshare U.S.’s analysis will focus on specific brand nuances and categories across beauty, retail, travel, and luxury. Additionally, phase two will further explore the relationship between neuro performance and measured performance of each tested ad.