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The Effies Present: The Science Behind a Good Ad

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Working with the NZ Comms Council and the Effie Steering Committee, Neuro-Insight recently placed a collection of Effie’s winning TV adverts from previous years through neuroscience fieldwork to explore common themes that contributed to the success of these campaigns.

Following the announcement of this year’s Effie winners last week, it’s a good time to reflect on the key findings of this study that was conducted earlier this year.

Memory and emotion guide our behavior

The research and scientific communities have long agreed that for advertising to be effective, it must work its way into memory. Our memory exists to guide our future decisions and behaviors.

Neuroscience has gone further and proven that creation, which can stimulate a combination of long-term memory encoding and emotion, is more likely to drive positive business results.

All of the Effie winners we placed in neuroscience fieldwork were able to generate some combination of high levels of memory and emotion. This combination is effective because powerful emotions gather more energy and focus from our brain, which is then more likely to memorize the experience.

Our brain loves a good story

Hopefully it won’t shock any marketer that our brains aren’t particularly interested in your brand. However, the opportunity for brands is that the brain loves nothing more than following a great story.

Each of the Effie winners we analyzed had sparked emotion and memory through captivating storytelling, at the heart of which was a deeply human vision. This information is most powerful when it leverages a contextual factor important to consumers, such as health, social, economic, political, or cultural.

Insight is personal

The ideas and stories that have been harnessed by Effie winners have come in many varied forms. But what was consistent was that a deeply personal human vision was at the heart of the storytelling. This included Bay Audiology tapping into the impact hearing difficulties can have on loved ones, while the creation of the Election Commission successfully contrasts what it feels like to not be seen or heard against the feeling of belonging. of our community when we make the effort to vote.

With their Grand Effie winning campaign “Unbreakable bond”, Toyota Hilux’s creative strategy sought to be a celebration of all things Kiwi, of all ages, genders and lifestyles. This shameless festival of various Kiwi characters, with jokes at heart, managed to captivate the audience under its spell.

Winner of the Grand Effie in 2021, the Speights campaign “the dance”, which mixes its traditional theme of masculinity with a more emotional and romantic tale about a couple’s wedding dance, is always effective in engaging and attracting us emotionally. , several years after we were first introduced to this story.

Neuro-Insight GM, Brian Hill, commented that “the results confirm what we are experiencing in our work with our clients. This good creation will engage viewers, capture attention, retrigger and consolidate memory, and can continue to do so long after its initial launch.

stay subtle

Another recurring theme was that the selling message was embedded into the narrative of the story, so the audience did not feel overtly sold. Much research, including that of Robert Heath in the UK, suggests that relationships with brands can sometimes be strengthened when consumers pay little attention to advertising. Indeed, the more attention we pay to something, the more our brain can contradict what we see and hear, and therefore this may have less impact on our future behavior.

This research was supported by the Effie 2022 Steering Committee. Committee member David McIndoe said: “Subjectivity is a great strength in developing powerful creative solutions, but it’s a clear weakness when it comes to to measure effectiveness. Inside opinions and anecdotal comments mixed with public self-reporting are full of filters and biases. This approach is invaluable as it provides an independent, unfiltered and unhijacked view of the basic human response to our work.”

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