With news swirling about the probable demise of embattled BP CEO Tony Hayward, one neuromarketing firm, Innerscope Research, has data they say show that even weeks ago women found Hayward less believable than men did. This video tracks the biometric response of viewers to the BP “Apology” ad:

The reactions charted on the screen are Innerscope’s tracking of viewer engagement as determined by heart rate, sweat, and other biometric measures. Low levels, the firm says, indicate low viewer engagement and/or a negative reaction.

When Tony “I want my life back” Hayward says he is “deeply sorry,” the reactions by gender diverge widely, with women exhibiting a far stronger negative reaction. Other images, like shots of BP workers, show similar levels of emotional impact for both men and women.

Women’s Intuition?

Are women really better judges of character? If you buy into Innerscope’s biometric analysis, it would appear so. Despite past evidence that Hayward was largely indifferent to the human impact of the BP oil spill in the Gulf, men had a slight positive reaction to Hayward’s apology while women, according to Innerscope, were turned off by it.

If BP’s mostly male board of directors had a few more women on it, would the smarmy Hayward have been sent packing long ago? Or perhaps not been put in the CEO position to begin with?

Other coverage of the Innerscope video: Are women tougher on BP? by Lisa van der Pool (Boston Business Journal), Are Men More Sympathetic Than Women to BP CEO Tony Hayward? by Ariel Schwartz (FastCompany).

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