What makes an advert outstanding?
How do you watch TV? Or more specifically, how do you watch TV adverts? Do you look forward to watching adverts, carefully watch them all and pay attention to all the different products and brands that you see? If you’re like most others in this respect, chances are you’re more likely to see adverts as a break from the programmes you actually want to watch. However, every now and again you will see an advert that really stands out from the crowd. An advert that draws you in, gets you to stop doing what you’re doing for a minute and really leaves an impression. But what differentiates this advert from all the other ones you see on a daily basis? There are 4 things that really make all the difference when it comes to dynamic advertising:
Capturing attention and engagement
When you saw the outstanding ad, could you reliable tell me which ad was shown before it? What brand the ad before was for, what the story line was? Would you be able to describe the characters in it? Probably not, seeing how bombarded you are with advertising every day. The outstanding ad, on the other hand, managed to grab your attention in the first few seconds and kept you engaged. Because of this, you could probably tell me about what was happening, importantly, what brand it was for and what the product was all about. What details you manage to recall, however, is not always the best way of testing whether an advert is engaging or not – in these experimental settings, people pay more attention than they normally would and almost expect to be tested, thereby making it look like the adverts were more exciting than they really are. Nevertheless, there are more effective ways of directly testing attention and engagement, especially when the adverts are presented in a more realistic context.
Fluency and ease of processing
There may have been other ads that managed to grab your attention, but you might have quickly completely zoned out again. The outstanding ad, however, kept you engaged, and this is partially because it was fluent and easy to process. Even if you were doing something else (e.g. playing a game), you still took in the plot and key messages because of the ad’s fluency. This ease of processing also makes you like the ad more and makes it feel more familiar to you.
Do you have any idea what was so special about this advert you saw? Why it felt so different from others, and how it managed to keep you interested? Why you wouldn’t mind watching it again? One of the aspects was that it made you feel something. It conveyed emotions to you in a way that’s different from the boring ads you see all the time. And this emotional impact does not stop at the ad, you actually will now subconsciously associate the brand/product with the advert and feel more positive about it, or link the associations you had with the advert with the brand. In a way that’s how adverts have always worked: Link a product to something wonderful, and people will associate the product with this ‘something wonderful’. Emotional impact is a tricky one to test because people tend to not be aware of it (especially when abstracted out to the brand), and questionnaires/recall interviews might not be the best tools to test it. There are however different ways of measuring subconscious emotional impact that go beyond just asking how people feel.
Recognition and familiarity
Next time you see the product that was being advertised in the outstanding ad, you will experience a certain feeling of familiarity, whether you are actively remembering the advert or not. And this is one of the key ways in which the advert will make you buy this product over one of the competitors. Familiarity increase linking which in turn increases trust. A lot of the time, this kind of recognition will be subconscious, which is why simply asking you what aspects of the ad you remember will not paint the full picture. Rather, it can be beneficial to test if you subconsciously remember it, as this kind of memory will most likely influence your decision at the point of sale. When faced with confusing options we tend to make a default choice which is invariably the familiar brand.
The outstanding ad achieved quite a lot then, didn’t it? It stood out to you, was easy to process, had an emotional impact on you and made you remember the brand at the point of sale. Not a lot of adverts manage to achieve all this effectively, but luckily every single important aspect listed here can be tested in advance by using the most effective, scientifically validated market research available to look at emotional and automatic drivers of consumer behaviour.
Juliane Schulz, Mindlab
Mindlab offers the most accurate and effective market research available because we don’t just ask people what they think, we find out how they feel.