Neuroscience Proves Advertising’s Effectiveness

Conrad Li and Lauren Howard

“Great creative is about the gut feel and neuroscience proves it to be real.”

As advertisers we assume that great creative pieces will automatically result in high-recall and brand recognition. Human brains are decidedly lazy and have to be working all the time to gather and understand information, which means that advertisers need to work hard to make both the advertising message interesting and memorable.

In order for brands to be successful with their advertisements, they need to be understanding of the different ways to connect with consumers. They need to reduce the cognitive load that consumers are experiencing through their advertisements so that viewers don’t feel overwhelmed, but still understand the idea and message of the ad. Brands need to focus on three kinds of thinking to be successful and reduce the cognitive load: Brand Kind, Behavior Kind, and most importantly Brain Kind.

Brand Kind is the reality or relationship consumers have with brands; they are looking for “friends with benefits” relationship where they get what they want from the brand without too much effort. Behavior kind deals with the ability and opportunity for ads to bring a change in behavior such as making a purchase. Brain Kind is the most important one for brands to focus on and it deals with the visual shortcuts that allow brands to connect consumers using as many senses as possible. When ads only use one sense to reach consumers, there is not as much engagement, recognition, resonance, or relevance.

The speakers throughout this session showed that they used neuroscience to measure the key metrics stated above. Some of the world’s most memorable and well performing ads rated highly in engagement, but sometimes had the lowest brand recall. By using neuroscience, the presenters were trying to find a sweet spot between creativity and memory. Since memory is a finite resource, creatives need to find the best way to garner as much of it as possible. They believe that better experiences and engagement of senses can help with brand recall, but too much will lead to cognitive overload.

Brands that use creative ways to create moving ads (such as video) and experiential setups have the highest recognition, resonance, and relevance. Ads such as Sony’s Bravio Balls and Apple’s 1984 have high recall and recognition because of the ways they engage the brain. In the end, ads that have great creative elements that involve using different senses and direct brand messaging are the ones that stay with us the longest.

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