Consumer neuroscience research company Neuro-Insight has released a study that it says outlines the six key links between TV advertising and long-term memory encoding (LTME.)
Neuro-Insight advises advertisers (more detail below) to: disregard ethnicity and gender; ignore the hard-sell; contrast the pace; show lots of conversations and affection; and drive the action with music; and time the branding with the “reveal” of the ad narrative to really make their ads pop.
There is a strong correlation between LTME and decision-making. By identifying the factors in ads which stick in our mind and affect our future behavior, the analysis gives advertisers a good clue as to how to make the most memorable commercial.
In a study commissioned by UK TV marketing body Thinkbox, Neuro-Insight coded more than 150 ads to recognize 50 creative criteria. These results were then correlated with the company’s data on LTME to identify their effectiveness.
1. Disregard ethnicity and gender
The neuroscience study revealed the ethnicity of actors in TV ads has no effect on encoding on our long-term memory. It also showed that whether women are portrayed in “traditional or non-traditional female roles” has no effect.
2. Don’t directly sell the product or list facts
Hard facts and direct sales do not help brands become memorable in TV ads.
Ads that went for the “hard product sell” performed 17% worse than those that interspersed the product within the ad’s narrative. Those ads which used scientific information performed worst in the study.
3. Contrast the pace
Ads that mixed up pace, sounds, breaks, and pauses were 20% better at staying within a viewer’s long-term memory and affecting their future behavior than those which did not. This is because our brains tend to respond most actively to things they find intriguing.
4. Recognize the importance of people
Ads with high levels of conversation and affection are 10% more likely to stay in our minds than those with a low level of this kind of interaction. Interestingly, celebrities made little impact in terms of recognition of the brand at the end of an advert. However, celebrities increased our memories of specific calls to action by 13%.
5. Music should be active and drive the action.
Music can make or break an ad, according to Neuro-Insight. Ads that are driven by their soundtrack are best at creating long term memories – particularly when song lyrics match the action. Ads that used music like this were 14% more efficient than those that use passive, background music.
6. Time the closure of the ad with mentioning the brand
If branding in the ad comes too late after the action, then the audience will be less receptive. When this happened in the study, memory encoding fell by 30%. The final “reveal” of the ad should be timed to happen only a few seconds before the branding appears at the end. Or better, make the brand a key part of this “reveal.”