Think TV Study: Ads That Elicit A Strong Emotional Response Get Better Sales

Think TV Study: Ads That Elicit A Strong Emotional Response Get Better Sales
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TV advertisements that generate strong emotional reactions deliver a stronger sales impact, a new study by leading marketing science academic Professor Karen Nelson-Field has found.

The study, a continuation of Professor Nelson-Field’s groundbreaking Benchmark Series for ThinkTV, is being released as advertisers woo consumers with a festive flurry of emotionally-charged TV ads for the Christmas season.

As part of the Benchmark survey of more than 2,600 Australians, Professor Nelson-Field’s team asked 140 consumers to view 15 TV advertisements and classify their feelings upon viewing. Viewers were asked to classify the intensity of their reactions and whether their emotional responses were positive or negative. 

The Professor and her team then rated each ad’s sales impact using the well-established metrics of:

1.       Attention – how much their eyes were on the screen, measured using eye-tracking software

2.       Short-term advertising strength or STAS* (measured by how often brands were picked out by viewers in an online supermarket after they had watched a series of ads)

The study found that ads which generate a strong reaction, irrespective of whether or not the reaction is positive or negative, garner 16 per cent more attention than ads which elicit weak reactions.

Professor Nelson-Field’s findings also demonstrate the link between strong reactions to advertising and resulting sales impact. Ads which generated a high emotional response had a 30 per cent greater sales impact than ads which elicited a low response.

Professor Nelson-Field said: “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, chief executive of ThinkTV, said: “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.

“We already know that TV is an experience and the complete story-telling media that captures the hearts of minds of Australians. It affords brands the time and space to create a beginning, middle and end, build tension and resolution, triumph or loss – and the ads are shown against premium quality content.

“Karen’s earlier work for us has also proved the positive impact on attention and sales that TV ads make because they are shown on 100 per cent of the screen 100 per cent of the time.

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