Long Live The King

If you’ve listened to our recent webinar, or seen us present lately, you’ll have heard us talk a lot about branding. Specifically, about distinctive assets – a term coined by marketing science guru Byron Sharp to describe the little, sometimes even meaningless details that let a brand stand out and live in the memory. A colour, a sound, a logo, a particular brand character or instant association – these things give a brand fluency, making it rapidly recognisable. Marketing science shows that it’s distinction, not differentiation, that really helps a brand grow.

That can feel a bit abstract, though. It doesn’t necessarily help with knotty questions like – how, and when, do you change a brand’s assets? How does refreshing a brand fit in? Continue reading

Hound Dogs and Copy Cats

A review of Copy Copy Copy, by Mark Earls

On the way home last month from the IIEX conference in Atlanta – the last time I saw Mark Earls, as it happens – I was sat a few seats along from a well-preserved man with a perfectly-formed quiff, wearing a tight white Fred Perry shirt. He could make it as an Elvis impersonator, I thought. As we settled into our seats, he got out a sheaf of papers from a briefcase, and began to look through them. I was curious and glanced over. They were the lyrics to “Love Me Tender” and “Suspicious Minds”. He spent the flight earnestly watching Elvis videos on his laptop, looking at moves to copy.


There’s a lot of Elvis in Copy Copy Copy, Mark Earls’ new book. Mark’s been a pal of BrainJuicer since the early days, and since we’re cited in the book – as an example of what to do, luckily! – you shouldn’t consider this post a book review. We simply can’t be that objective.

So consider this more of a Book Notice. Mark Earls has a new book out. It’s illustrated by John Willshire, of Smithery, whose maxim, “Make things people want, don’t make people want things”, has been subject to its own share of copy-copy-copying in recent years. This book is a thing. People should want it.

It’s about copying (obviously). Earls takes aim at the cult of originality, the idea that the best ideas and solutions are blindingly novel. It’s something we’re prone to in research, when you think about it. The notion, for instance, that the best insight is something nobody has ever thought of before – rather than something that might be less original, but more useful to the problem at hand. Or the idea that brands have to have a unique selling proposition – when a universal human truth would do better at winning buyers over.

Continue reading

Tribute To An Innovator

We were saddened to hear today that Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo, died of cancer this morning.


This obituary details Iwata’s many achievements – most notably, it was under his leadership that Nintendo released the DS (the most successful handheld console ever) and the Wii, which reinvented the idea of gaming as something fun, casual and for the family. Continue reading

Fame, Fluency, Feeling – And Fortune Cookies

My eight year old has a thing for fortune cookies. When I say we’re getting a takeaway meal, that’s the first thing he wants to know. Not what we’re having, not what he’d like to order, and never mind the price, but “is there a fortune cookie?”. That little platitude of advice at the end of the meal enchants him – and why not? They’re a lot of fun. They make Chinese food distinctive.


Many of the insights that brand research generates, I’m sorry to say, work a little like fortune cookies. You pay for an expensive meal of information, and to finish you’re given a bite-size one-liner about your brand, or your target market, or both.

Now, of course my eight year old is right – this is better than just the indigestible information. But is it really more useful? Continue reading

Introducing FeelMore Ad of the Moment

Hi friends, my name is Evan Werdal, a Marketing Associate here at BrainJuicer, and I help coordinate the FeelMore50™ ranking each year. I’ll be guest posting periodically on anything advertising – the good, the bad and the ugly – in the lead up to FeelMore50™ 2016.

As some of you may know, the FeelMore50™ is an annual ranking of the most effective (read: emotional) ads from around the world. We mine award winners – think Cannes, Effies, Epica, Spikes, Jay Chiat, – industry publications, and monitor the Unruly Viral Video chart to compile a list of spots from 6 of the 7 continents. We test ads year round in preparation for the big launch in January. This year we’ve decided to present great ads as we test them –  these “Ads of the Moment” are emotional winners that are sure to make the next iteration of FeelMore50™. Our first Ad of the Moment is Android and Droga5’s  “Friends Furever”.

This popular spot featured in Adweek Ad of the Day, amongst other “best of” type charts, evokes nothing but happiness throughout its 62 seconds, and is even peppered with hints of nostalgia, thanks to its soundtrack – a perfectly appropriate “Oo-De-Lally” by Roger Miller. Lacking any voiceover whatsoever, the visuals and music do all the talking. I think the spot demonstrates the incredibly cliché (but true) rule of thumb, less is more. Even the song itself is a study in minimalist songwriting, it’s just acoustic guitar and Miller’s voice, allowing the tenderness of the tune to shine. In fact,“Oo-De-Lally” was actually originally used for the soundtrack of 1973’s Robin Hood produced by Disney – like I said, it’s a perfect choice for this spot. It’s no wonder why it scored a 5-Star rating with an EiA of 84.54. Droga5, Android’s creative agency, did a great job of presenting what could be seen as a safe concept in an entertaining and certainly enjoyable way.


The ad’s effectiveness is in its simple, powerful message as well as its emotional appeal. “Friends Furever” foregoes harping on any sort of USP or brand differentiation, instead opting for a UHT (Universal Human Truth), evident in the ad’s tagline, “Be Together. Not The Same.” The unlikely friendships featured in the spot undoubtedly illustrate the virtues of togetherness, leaving you with that warm and furry, err – I mean, fuzzy feeling.

FeelMore Ads of the Moment are tested using ComMotion ®, our award-winning proprietary ad testing tool: the only major ad testing product to use emotion as the foundation of its model. To learn more about emotional advertising and our methodology, contact BrainJuicer.

Emotions From The Inside Out

New Pixar movies are always worth checking out. But this year’s offering, Inside Out, looks especially interesting and relevant. It’s the story of a girl, but really it’s the story of the emotions inside her head that guide her behaviour – joy, disgust, fear, sadness and anger.

Judging by the trailers, Inside Out will be hilarious. What’s more, it’s based on a true story. We really are emotionally driven creatures, using our feelings to make better, faster decisions all day, every day. And that emotional cast should look familiar, too: it’s five of the seven basic emotions identified by psychologist Paul Ekman as being common to every culture. The only ones missing are Surprise – which quickly resolves into other emotions anyhow – and Contempt, and judging by the look on her face Disgust will be playing a dual role there!

Ekman’s work on identifying and understanding the seven basic emotions – happiness; surprise; anger; fear; disgust; sadness and contempt – go back decades. What’s really surprising about him is how well his ideas have lasted. After all, he hasn’t been without challenges. Like everyone whose theories become successful, Ekman has found himself a target for younger psychologists and researchers looking to make their name taking him down.

Getting emotion right is critical to understanding how to communicate and market better – because most of our decisions are made with our fast, emotional, System 1 brains. So it’s worth taking a little time to understand the main challenges to Ekman.

Because rather than invalidate his work, most of them make it more useful. Continue reading

The Innovation Imperative in an Age of Accelerating Marketing Change

Today’s blog post is by Susan Griffin, CMO.

Recently, a group of about 300 mostly client-side marketers gathered by the shores of Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin for the 25th annual Brandworks University, the brainchild of Marsha Lindsay, founder of LSB (Lindsay, Stone & Briggs).

Brandworks UniversityMany were multiple-repeat attendees and even speaker alumni who have come back for years. Is it a cult? A club? A new kind of continuing education? There was no certification, no paper competitions, no awards, but there was Latin homework, a falling Trojan Horse, stand-up comedy and lots of case studies on how marketing responds to disruptive innovation.

Continue reading