Neuromarketing and the Oscars

If you're one of the billion-plus people who watched the Oscars, you probably already know how emotionally engaging cinema is, reports MediaDailyNews. In the first research of its kind, cinema advertising network NCM utilized some state-of-the-art technology that measured the unconscious responses of moviegoers to ads shown to them in movie theaters, and not surprisingly, they were considerably more engaged than the same type of ads shown on other media such as TV or the Internet.


Conducted by Boston-based Innerscope Research, one of the leaders in the field of neuromarketing research, which has come up with sophisticated models to explain the correlation between content and the environmental factors influencing how people experience them on different platforms, the researchers don't ask or measure behavior; they utilize various biometric methods that tap unconscious physiological responses of people and correlate them with science about the brain to reveal not simply what people are thinking about advertising and media content, but what they are feeling.


"The brand engagement was off the scale," says Doug Pulick, senior vice president of strategic insight and analytics at NCM Media Networks. Following exposure in cinema, the "lift in brand resonance," the unconscious emotional connection to a brand - was 75 percent higher on average than the norms generated by an ad watched on television, and some cinema spots generated levels that were 194 percent higher than television's.


Pulick acknowledged that there are other important environment differences between cinema and TV ads that likely influence their impact on consumers, including the fact that even when they were the same ads, the moviegoers were "captive" viewers, who didn't have the kinds of distractions and other competing content that viewers watching spots at home on their TV sets might have. "There is a difference between seeing an ad on a 40-foot screen vs. a 42-inch screen," he said.


Pulick acknowledged that the research is new and more needs to be done to understand the full effects and differences advertising has in theaters vs. other media, and he also acknowledges that consumer behavior is evolving along with consumer media technologies, especially the increasing availability of a "second screen" - their hand-held smartphone or other device - while they are sitting in what previously would have been a one-screen environment.


Pulick said NCM is already thinking about some research to measure that new behavior, but also doesn't necessarily believe it will be a net negative for movie advertising. In fact, he said NCM is exploring new mobile apps that would enable consumers to interact with ads, and presumably other content, on their hand-held screens while they are watching it on the big screen. "You can either get on this bus, or get out of the way, but you can't stop it," says Pulick, adding it's unlikely that theaters are going to be able to stop consumers from using their hand-held devices while in the theater, so it might be better to utilize them than to ignore or try and fight them.