FeelMore50™ Ad of the Moment: One Man’s Adorable Quest to Master the English Language

Welcome back to another FeelMore50 “Ad of the Moment” spotlight. Since we discovered the Polish auction website Allegro’s holiday ad, “English for Beginners,” we’ve fallen in love. This Polish ad was created by the Warsaw agency Bardzo and was directed by Sweden’s Jesper Ericstam of The Social Club.

Continue reading

Alerts on UK Xmas Ads: Bouncing High

David Whitelam, Head of New Client Development at BrainJuicer, reflects on 2016’s UK Christmas adverts – highlighting John Lewis’ “Buster the Boxer” Christmas advert and what makes it a 4-Star performance.

John Lewis wanted to make people smile this year with an ad that embraces a sense of fun and magic. They’ve certainly managed to achieve that with the appropriate help of a trampoline and some animal assistance.

With a hallmark “classic cover” soundtrack, the advert creates plenty of joy and surprise from viewers as they see an assortment of airborne woodland creatures enjoying the new trampoline, as a wistful Buster watches on. The advert then ends on a real (and literal!) high with Buster’s final bout of gleeful bouncing.


Our testing showed that a strong majority of consumers are indeed left feeling happy, driven by a sense that the Magic of Christmas is captured, reminding everyone what it feels like to give the perfect gift. The cuteness of the animals is, unsurprisingly, not too far behind as a reason for happiness. There is dynamism too, not just on the trampoline, but emotionally, as viewers empathise with Buster’s mood.

On our 1-to-5 Star scale, the advert achieves a strong 4 Stars and, with the added bandwagon (more a bandjuggernaut) of publicity, social media buzz will help no end in making John Lewis even more mentally available to shoppers when present buying time arrives.

Well bounced, Buster!

Watch John Lewis’ “Buster the Boxer” on BrainJuicer’s FeelMore50™.

Christmas 2015: When The Stars Go Out

In the last few years, Christmas has been the peak of the UK advertising season – the time when the nation’s biggest brands try their hardest to put us all in festive mood. Whether it be blockbusters like John Lewis’ Monty The Penguin in 2014, or lesser-known gems like Lego’s lovely father-and-son bonding ad in 2013, the one thing you can guarantee from Christmas is a five-star ad or two under the tree.

Until now.

Yes, the headline news about the standout Christmas ad of 2015 is – there wasn’t really one. We tested several dozen ads and only three of them were emotional enough to even hit our four-star rating for efficiency, let alone reach five.

That doesn’t make the other Christmas ads bad, of course. A lot of them got three stars – a good score, signifying a firmly above average ad. So before we talk about what went wrong, let’s celebrate the five best Christmas ads of 2015. Continue reading

To Make Adverts Shareable, Go With The Flow

One nice thing about testing thousands of ads is that we collect loads of data, and sometimes that data turns out to be useful in ways we hadn’t imagined it would.

For instance, we generally measure emotional reactions to video ads from moment to moment – so we can see where in a commercial happiness peaks, and whether it tails off towards the end. This is vital for working out how ads can be improved – spotting flat parts or unresolved negative emotions.

What we realised, though, is that it also gave us a way of measuring the emotional movement within an ad – in other words, how dynamic and dramatic the ad is. If we added up every time the emotion within an ad changed, we’d end up with a cumulative measure of how emotionally dynamic it is.

We called this measure Flux. If an ad takes you on a rollercoaster ride from happy, to fearful, to sad, then back to happy again, it would score a very high Flux rating. And if an ad just made you evenly happy from the first second to the last, with no other emotions coming in, its Flux would be really low.

What's your flux capacity?

What’s your flux capacity?

Investigating this stuff is fun, but it’s only useful if we can relate it to real-world behaviour. We know that if you feel nothing, you do nothing – ads which make people happy are better than ads which don’t, no matter how much dynamism and Flux we detect. So what sort of behaviour might the emotional movement in an ad predict? What is Flux good for? Continue reading

Our Best Blog Posts Of 2014

It’s been a busy year at BrainJuicer and on this blog, and with the end of 2014 fast approaching it’s time to take our annual look at the posts you read the most – our most popular content, as voted. Can anything beat last year’s runaway winner, “How To Eat A Sandwich (The Daniel Kahneman Way)“? As it happens, yes. Let’s count down and find out what…


10. So, How Many Basic Emotions Are There Again? Like most successful theories, Paul Ekman’s “7 basic emotions” makes a juicy target for a news story looking to debunk it. This year’s attempt spotlighted a claim that there are only four basic emotions. Bad news for Ekman? Not really – the new work identifies primal emotions that may have evolved earlier, but Ekman’s ideas are still the relevant ones to humans as we are today.

9. The Best Graduate Job In The World? Micha Dudley joined BrainJuicer in 2013 in our Behaviour Change Unit team. In this post, she offers a look at what working here is really like from a graduate perspective. (Spoilers! It’s awesome!)

8. Reclaiming Research’s Radicalism Back in May, planner Martin Weigel published a mini-manifesto about restoring planning to its radical roots. This was our cover version, looking at how well research lives up to his ideas. And in a lot of places, it doesn’t – things the industry should embrace, like learnings from marketing science, get ignored in favour of received wisdom and “zombie ideas”.

7. South-East Asian Advertising: What Works? Happiness is a universal emotion, but not every culture reaches it in a similar way. This post looks at some self-funded ad testing we ran in Thailand and Indonesia, exploring the different drivers of 5-star advertising in each country.

6. 7-1! There was a World Cup this year, you might remember. And if you’re Brazilian or German, you surely also remember the shock outcome of the two countries’ semi-final. In the aftermath of Brazilian despair and German triumph, we turned a behavioural science lens on the match: how on earth had it all gone so wrong for Brazil, and what lessons could be drawn from it using psychology and decision science?

5. Meet The Most Successful Research App Of 2014 The research industry has spent decades making trade-off analysis as tedious as possible for participants. The runaway success of a tough-decisions app for teens should make them think again.

4. 2014 Christmas Ads: The Emotional Winners Revealed This post only went up a couple of weeks ago, but with the UK Christmas ad race these days a lot more interesting than the race for the Christmas No.1, it’s no surprise it’s proved very popular. Monty The Penguin takes on raving Christmas lights, World War One soldiers, posh fairies and a kid on a chopper bike in this highlights and lowlights review. (For the full story – with over 15 ads rated – get in touch!)

3. These Aren’t The Insights You’re Looking For The second in a series of posts exploring the demise of the traditional research concept, and how to get testing new ideas right. The conceit here – what if Star Wars had been put through the research wringer? – helped make it one of our most-tweeted posts, as well as one of our most-read.

2. The Behavioural Economics Guide 2014 – A Free Behaviour Change Resource Want people to visit a blog? Give them free stuff! Longtime BrainJuicer associate Alain Samson wrote a Behavioural Economics guidebook this year, and we linked to a free PDF of it. It’s still up. It’s still free. What are you waiting for?

1. Obituary – The Traditional Concept c.1960-2014 And our most successful post of the year was probably also our most fun to write – there’s a lesson in there somewhere! A mock obituary of the traditional research concept, explaining how it can’t keep pace with a System 1 world. The interest in our proposed solution – VisiCepts – has been enormous, but the story starts here.

So that was our 2014 – how was yours? There will still be a couple of posts to go before the year ends, of course, and right at the end of the year there’s our 15th birthday (which we’ll be celebrating in January – that time of year needs a bit of cheering up…!)

Thanks for reading this blog, and have a fantastic holiday season.

Facebook: The Feel-Less Social Network?

Every year we ask how the British public feel about a range of brands in our Brands of British Origin survey. Some of the brands are British, but we throw in a lot of worldwide brands that British people use, too – like Coke, Pepsi, Apple or Amazon.

We collect emotional response using our FaceTrace methodology (which we’ve used to collect more than 5 million emotional responses from 3 million respondents worldwide, giving us the world’s biggest emotional database). How people feel about a brand is partly determined by category as well as the brand’s own qualities – no banks ever perform very well! But looking at the changes in a brand’s performance, its standing against its competitors, and the reasons given for the emotional response, can provide valuable insights.

One of the brands we ask about is Facebook – a brand with an enviable level of regular usage, a continuous presence in British life, and a compelling mission to keep you in constant connection with your friends. Surely people feel good about Facebook?

fb boredom

Well… not really. Continue reading

FEELMORE AD SPOTLIGHT #1: Thai Life – “Unsung Hero”

In the FeelMore Ad Spotlight we post about an ad we’ve tested that made people feel more. It’s all leading up to January’s release of the Global FeelMore50 – the definitive list of the year’s most emotional ads.

This inaugural spotlight falls on the Thai Life Insurance company’s “Unsung Hero”, released earlier this year. It’s the latest in a series of unashamedly emotional ads from Thai Life that dates back over a decade – well before any recent global trend for “sadvertising”. The ad’s director, “Tor” Sornsrivichai, has been described as “the most awarded ad director in the world”, and is perhaps the global king of emotional advertising.

“Unsung Hero” shows why “Tor” got those awards. It follows an ordinary guy who performs random acts of kindness to no apparent reward. The emotional journey of the ad mixes sadness and happiness – the man’s kind acts contrasted with the poverty or loneliness of some of those he helps. What does he get for it, the ad asks? Nothing. But the commercial puts the lie to its own claim, with a series of payoffs showing exactly what a difference he makes.

In an increasingly globalised world, ads with a universal appeal can make an international impact, wherever they’re from. But that same globalisation gives “Unsung Hero” its power: a globalised world is one where the individual feels less powerful and in control than ever. “Unsung Hero”- like a three-minute It’s A Wonderful Life – reassures us that the individual can still matter to other people.

It’s an important idea for a life insurance company – that’s a business where mattering to other people is the selling point – but very importantly Thai Life know better than to underline that in the ad. There’s no message here, and minimal branding – it just tells a story and makes you feel a lot. The result? When we tested Thai Life it got a very high (five-star) score – and it’s a strong possibility as the inaugural winner of the FeelMore Global list.

Ads in the FeelMore Ad Spotlight 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.