South-East Asian Advertising: What Works?

Here’s a question we get asked sometimes. If emotion is the main driver of advertising effectiveness, and if there’s a common set of universal human emotions – does the same advertising work all around the world?

The answer, of course, is no. We’ve researched almost 4000 ads in 43 countries, and we’ve consistently found that the most powerful and effective commercials are emotional – and use the positive emotions of happiness and surprise. But beyond that emotion is highly culturally sensitive – an ad that makes people happy in one market might leave others entirely cold.

We recently did some self-funded testing work in Thailand and Indonesia to further explore what makes emotional advertising work there. These are the two largest economies in ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) and Thailand in particular has a reputation as a regional bellwether: what works there ought to work across South-East Asia. Maria Spinelli, Vice President Southeast Asia at BrainJuicer, will be presenting what we found on May 6th at a WFA (World Federation Of Advertisers) Café Content meeting.

Here’s a sneak peek at what creates emotion in these two markets. Continue reading

Eight Days Of Emotion No.7: Surprise

The seventh in our series of posts looking at the primary emotions.

According to psychologist and emotional expert Paul Ekman, the defining quality of surprise is its brevity. Seen on the human face, surprise is a fleeting sensation, a feeling that quickly resolves into one of the other primary emotions, like happiness, anger or fear. But for brands and communications, surprise can have lasting and powerful effects, colouring an entire experience. Surprise is the spice of emotion.

The question is, is surprise a good thing? At BrainJuicer we see it as a broadly positive emotion, and display it as such on our results charts, but it should be approached with caution.

Telegraphed – but effective! – surprise from Bjork.

For a start, we have to ask – do people actually enjoy being surprised? As humans we tend to assume we like surprises and variety more than we actually do. Asked to predict our choices, we build surprises in, but left to our ordinary, day-to-day devices we turn out to be creatures of habit. And there are studies suggesting that spoiling twist endings in advance lets people enjoy films more. Continue reading

Creativity In A Viral Age

A mad chase for eyeballs sounds like a gruesome task on some celebrity reality show. But is it a possible fate awaiting advertising? Maybe, according to this blog post by Nick Hammond on The Wall. Hammond asks some interesting – and familiar – questions about the relationship between analytics and creativity. It’s sparked by a recent launch of a product claiming to predict the viral potential of advertising, and if that sounds familiar, it might be because we at BrainJuicer also have a technique that predicts viral potential.

These kind of tools worry Hammond – are they going to kill creativity? He’s concerned that they’ll lead advertising online down the kind of paths journalism has gone – a chase for eyeballs and traffic spikes which many journalists complain has devalued creativity and skill.

This isn’t just a bit of artisanal preciousness – there’s a real worry about short-termism. If you want your ad to “go viral”, then “how?” is a great question, but “why?” is a better one. Continue reading

Pop And The Power Of Surprise

Away from the world of market research, this has been a remarkable week in pop music, at least if you’re into major stars trumpeting unexpected comebacks. Destinys’ Child and Justin Timberlake have announced their first music for years, and David Bowie’s first record for a decade has made enormous media waves. Pity poor Suede – also gone for ten years – whose return has been a teensy bit overshadowed.

What do these flash comebacks have in common? They’re all surprise announcements, and they all relate to music coming out very soon – or at least in Timberlake’s case, that’s the assumption. Bowie’s new single came out on the same day he announced his return, and Destiny’s Child’s new material is released in a couple of weeks.

He’s been busy, apparently.

This is sensible practise in an age of leaks and pirated music. But it also shows great understanding of the social nature of music and fandom. The stars handled their announcements themselves – direct via social media – and as such outsourced promotion of their music to their fanbases: enthusiasm spreading rapidly via Twitter and Facebook with the media in second place.

Even if you’re one of the world’s biggest stars, with fans in the millions online, you have to activate those fans – and surprise is your best weapon. As we’ve mentioned before on the blog (and in a webinar), surprise – more than any other emotion – is what makes things spread online. The reaction if Bowie had announced he was simply working on a new album would have been sizable – he’s been gone a while, after all – but working on albums is what rock stars do. But by telling us the album was finished, ready, and almost out, he harnessed surprise and created a social tidal wave.

Door No. 3: The Virality Index

Today’s entry in the BrainJuicer Advent Calendar of Experiments!

The Experiment: Experts say it’s impossible to predict whether an ad will go viral – in fact some of them say we shouldn’t use the v-word at all! But that hasn’t stopped marketing companies trying to predict what will spread online – especially at a time when content marketing is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the mix. It felt like a challenge BrainJuicer couldn’t shy away from.

Most prescriptions for virality concentrate on specific recommendations – including humour, or celebrities, or sex. We decided to take a different angle, and focus on emotion. Our ComMotion tool for testing ads is based on our finding that the emotions a spot elicits are the best predictor of business effects – maybe somewhere in there was the key to virality, too.

By its very nature the spread of information online is chaotic and it’s a gargantuan – probably impossible – task to control for every factor. So in tandem with Contagious Magazine we used as our sample of ads those launched around this year’s Super Bowl. These would have a very large TV audience and a high degree of attention, but they’d have the same TV audience and attention. We used Unruly Media’s Viral Video Chart to get consistent data on number of shares online across the ad sample, too.

So what did we discover? Continue reading

Pull The Chain

“There are no boring categories,” a wise man once said, “there is only boring marketing.”

This new interactive ad for, er, toilet “power balls” from Bref aims to prove this point. Not the most glamorous of categories, you might think? How wrong you would be.

The ad shows a boy band, each of whom is – there’s no other way to put it – suspended in a toilet ball. You the viewer control the toilet flush, and – well, see for yourself.

Do these kind of interactive ads work? We haven’t tested the Bref spot – our expert eye suggests it has plenty of positive emotion and surprise, which ought to make it a hit. But other work we’ve done – around the BA Olympics ads and their “drive a plane down your street” concept, for instance – shows that interactivity can have a positive effect on both emotional effectiveness and sharing.

(Bref are also doing personalised influencer marketing – link in Italian – around the band.)

Thanks to MariaCarla Sanna for the link!