A Neuromarketing Look at Award-Winning Ads

Neuromarketing will be on display at this week’s annual Advertising Research Foundation meeting, and one of the more interesting presentations is likely to be an analysis of past winners of Lion and Effie awards.

For the study, EmSense surveyed 200 people, ages 18 to 54, in New York and San Francisco. The study measured their biosensory responses to 19 commercials that won awards last year at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes, France, and ads that won Effie Awards last year from the New York the American Marketing Association.

The study looked at spots like a commercial for Apple with characters playing PC and Mac; the I Feel Pretty spot for Nike, with Maria Sharapova, and a commercial for Tide with a talking stain on a mans shirt.

On Madison Avenue, Cannes awards, known as Lions, are usually perceived as honoring creativity and Effie winners are typically deemed to reward effectiveness. The EmSense study sought to weigh the value of those emotional and cognitive approaches. [From the New York Times - Is the Ad a Success? The Brain Waves Tell All by Stuart Elliot.]

The article continues, quoting Elissa Moses of Emsense, ’There are very important similarities’ between the two types of winners, she added, which can help guide future campaigns.” That presumes, I suppose, that these award winning ads are actually better at selling things than other ads – not always a foregone conclusion. Still, I like the idea of backtesting successful ads as a means of correlating brain activity while viewing ads with real market results.

The exposure at the Advertising Research Foundation and resulting press coverage (starting with this New York Times story) is bound to give neuromarketing a boost in visibility.


This post was written by:

— who has written 985 posts on Neuromarketing.

Roger Dooley writes and speaks about marketing, and in particular the use of neuroscience and behavioral research to make advertising, marketing, and products better. He is the primary author at Neuromarketing, and founder of Dooley Direct LLC, a marketing consultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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1 response to "A Neuromarketing Look at Award-Winning Ads" — Your Turn


Peach 2. April 2008 at 11:21 pm

Somehow I missed what, if anything, this research showed. The 2 types of awards had similar responses and were not compared to ads that did not win. So what was the point? Negative findings — no differences between ads winning different awards that are “perceived” to honor different things. So the research did not measure anything that showed a difference between them — are they not different as perceived, or is the measurement insensitive to the differences? I’d say it was a poor research design to compare two sets of winning commercials without any kind of control.


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