Find The Feeling On January 14th

Every year we publish the FeelMore50 – a unique list of the world’s most emotional ads. If you feel nothing, you do nothing, and the ads we celebrate in the FeelMore50 have taken the best route to making people do something: making them feel.

The 2016 list – covering the viral successes, award winners, and notable ads of 2015 – comes out on January 14th. The night before, we’re hosting the FeelMore AdNight in London and New York, celebrating the best ads of the year.

fm50 banner

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be running a few previews of the FeelMore50 on this blog, and putting a spotlight on some of the questions the list will answer. Not just about which ads make people feel the most but about some of the new features in FeelMore and how the list reflects trends in 2015 advertising.

There’s one question that’s more important than any other, though. Why do brands make emotional ads in the first place? You’ve seen the evidence linking emotional campaigns to successful business effects (like profit gain, share gain, decline in price elasticity, and so on). But that’s only half the story.

What we know about brand building tells us that advertising – and particularly creative, emotional advertising – is absolutely critical to successful long-term brand growth. Brand growth is rooted in the 3Fs – Fame, Feeling and Fluency, mental shortcuts that help the brand become an easy, System 1 choice at the moment of decision.

Fame helps a brand come readily to mind. Feeling helps people choose it. And Fluency helps people recognise and process a brand quickly.

What’s not on that list? Differentiating messages. New product information. Appeals to brand loyalty. That stuff is far less important than many marketers believe. It’s an appeal to our slower, System 2, thinking. Which for the most part just rubber-stamps the choices our subconscious, System 1 brains already made using Fame, Feeling and Fluency as shortcuts.

So advertising shouldn’t try too hard to push a message, reel off product information, or tell you how smart you are for buying Brand X not Brand Y (which, let’s face it, you probably buy sometimes too.)

Instead it should create Fame, Feeling and Fluency.

Aim for Fame by going for reach – picking channels that get seen, making content that gets shared, and investing in your five-star ads.

Find the Feeling by making adverts that move people, not lecture them. The kind of adverts that show up in the FeelMore50, in other words.

Speed the decision by making sure the adverts use and build a brand’s unique assets to create Fluency. This does not mean simply plastering the logo everywhere! That kind of thing can damage Feeling. But if there are colours, shapes, characters, sounds and slogans as well as logos that your brand “owns”, then make your ads work harder by using them.

In the FeelMore50 we’ll be showcasing great work that hits each of these three targets, and by doing so sets the wheels of brand growth in motion. Join us on January 14th.

Branding: A Shift In Perspective

Last week I was lucky enough to go to the annual Polish Market Research Congress, to talk about branding and behavioural sciences. The organisers were friendly and incredibly helpful, even providing me with a simultaneous translation device: I felt like a UN delegate! Through it, I learned that the issues affecting Polish marketers are universal – what to do about new data sources, new media channels, new competitors, and the ever-changing relationship between brand owners and research buyers?


By devoting a session to behavioural science, the Congress acknowledged that shifting perspectives on branding aren’t all to do with screens, devices or generations. Understanding what happens in the mind of a decision-maker can be just as revolutionary. And since I was presenting in Poland, there was an obvious comparison to make: Copernicus. Continue reading

Fame, Feeling And Fluency – The Only Brand Metrics You Will Ever Need

Orlando Wood, MD, BrainJuicer Labs, takes a look into our new BrainJuicer Brand Tracking model – and explains why we developed it.

There has been a growing awareness in the marketing community that traditional Brand Tracking doesn’t really help much to guide and predict brand growth, and there is desire to see it reinvented from the bottom-up. Why not start with Behavioural Sciences as a guide, because the great thing about science is that it simplifies and clarifies things? And if there’s one area of consumer research that needs cleaning up, it’s brand tracking.

tesco extra

What the Behavioural Sciences tell us is that we humans are fast and frugal in our decision-making. The truth is that people think much less about brands than we, as an industry, previously believed. People don’t evaluate options carefully, but instead rely on mental shortcuts – rules of thumb – to help them decide between options quickly and effortlessly.

There are three key mental shortcuts that help people decide between brands. We call them Fame, Feeling and Fluency. To our fast-thinking, System 1 minds:

  • If a brand comes readily to mind, it’s a good choice (Fame).
  • If a brand feels good, it’s a good choice (Feeling).
  • If a brand is recognisable, it’s a good choice (Fluency).

These rules of thumb are what behavioural scientists call the ‘availability heuristic, the ‘affect heuristic’ and the ‘processing fluency heuristic’. Continue reading

Fame, Feeling And Fluency: A VW Case Study

Volkswagen, as you just may have heard, is in a spot of trouble at the moment. The kind of trouble that wipes a quarter or more off a company’s share price and removes CEOs. Whether the legal fallout from their emissions-test-fixing scandal, and the fines the company face, will cripple or even destroy VW is an open question. But there’s another question to answer too – what are consumers making of all this? How likely are they to forgive VW, or didn’t they care much in the first place?

Image (C) Telegraph Newspapers

Image (C) Telegraph Newspapers

Predicting consumer reaction in the wake of a scandal is a tricky business. It’s easy to overestimate the effects of news stories on people’s perceptions – particularly as the common ways of gauging that effect are often flawed. Asking people to predict future behaviour, for instance, is very unreliable, particularly when a single negative news story is dominating perceptions and making certain future behaviour seem more socially acceptable. Looking at social media data is just as problematic: social media is a performative medium with a high degree of norming. Or to put it more plainly, mob mentality today is no guide to brand strength tomorrow.

So what can you do? Keep an eye on the fundamentals. Decisions about brands are like decisions about anything: most of them are made quickly and without much conscious thought. As Gerd Gigerenzer puts it, we are “fast and frugal” decision makers, and we rely on certain broad heuristics to make choices that are good enough.

We rely on Fame – if a brand comes quickly to mind, it’s a good enough choice.

We rely on Feeling – if we feel positively towards a brand, it’s a good enough choice.

We rely on Fluency – if we recognise a brand easily, it’s a good enough choice. Continue reading

Branding Reality Bites: The Strange Tale Of OK Soda

2015 brings us a little-heralded marketing anniversary – it’s been 20 years since Coca-Cola pulled OK Soda from the market. If you’ve not heard of OK, or you’ve forgotten it, that’s more than forgivable. The drink – meant to appeal to the ironic, cynical, Nirvana-loving teens of Generation X – was launched in 1993 but never made it to general release. OK Soda survives now as an occasional case study and minor cult – like the Ford Edsel, it haunts the graveyard of global brands that never were.

But can OK Soda hold any lessons for modern marketers? I think it can. Let’s start with the name…



The origin of OK Soda’s name is one of the most interesting things about it. Supposedly, it drew on market research suggesting that while the word “Coke” was globally recognised, it was beaten by the word “OK”. Hence, OK Soda – a brand waiting to happen. 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