A Romanian Ad Won The Cannes Lions Neuromarketing Award 2011

On March 16, 2012
At the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival 2011, IPG Media Lab and Affectiva announced the results of the Cannes Lions Neuromarketing Award: BV McCann Erickson Bucharest, with ‘American Rom’ entry.

The Neuromarketing Award focused on measuring viewers’ tacit, non-verbal response to entry videos. Winners were determined by reading the facial expressions of visitors to the IPG Media Lab at the Microsoft Advertising Cyber Lounge or the Neuromarketing Award website. The expression reading technology is provided by MIT spin-off Affectiva (read about this tool here, you can also test it). The Neuromarketing Awards winners were chosen on factors such as where in the video people paid attention and where people smiled. Also factored in were aggregated metrics.

As we watch content, our facial expressions paint a rich canvas of our emotional states. The Affdex technology recognizes expressions as viewers display them. It summarizes results so you can see right away where people smile, which scenes capture the most attention and more.
In this project, they looked at three facial actions that indicate emotional states:

  1. Smiles. When viewers watch ads, smiles and laughter typically correlates to enjoyment and amusement.
  2. Lowered eyebrow. This is a measure of the wrinkles that happen between the eyebrows. It typically correlates with negative emotions such as confusion or dislike.
  3. Attention. Are people watching your message? Affdex measures attention by looking at whether a person is facing the screen.

In the context of ads, this information is key to telling advertisers when their message is engaging, when it’s confusing or when they’re leaving their audience feeling negative, so they can measure and improve performance.

Of the fifteen entries measured, ‘American Rom’ sustained the highest attention levels throughout the video, drew the biggest and the highest smile scores. Viewers’ attention peaked at the end of the video, as opposed to tapering off the other three entries. “American Rom” is the same entry selected by the Cannes Lions judges for the Promo and Activation category.The expression analysis in this case matches what the judges knew intuitively; in some cases, however, judges’ may not guess correctly about the people. What’s exciting about Affectiva’s facial expression measurement is how it’s a scalable way to get objective about viewer’s emotional response to your ad before you spend a lot on a campaign“, said Brian Monahan, EVP, Managing Partner, IPG Media Lab. “There is a clear difference in people’s facial responses to this entry than the other three entries we tracked. The great levels of attention and smiles, and the way they rise an peak at the end of the video, help explain why “American Rom” is a winner“, said Rana el Kaliouby, co-founder and chief technology officer of Affectiva, Inc. in Waltham, Mass. As they state, in addition to having the best overall metrics, “American Rom” drew the most smiles and laughs when an American executive character explains why an American branded candy bar in Romania is a good thing. Also, a scene in which the Romanian president announces salary cuts drew the most confused/negative expressions.

For the full results, visit: http://labs.affectiva.com/cannes/dashboard.php


Smile Score Attention Lowered Brow
American ROM 39% 79% 29%
Musical Fitting Room 38% 76% 28%
Save as WFF 35% 68% 28%
4th Amendment Wear 34% 59% 27%


Smile Score Attention Lowered Brow
Crush Hour 43% 65% 33%
Your Happy News 38% 72% 27%
Homeplus Subway Virtual Store 33% 70% 26%
June 16th 2014 33% 63% 28%


Smile Score Attention Lowered Brow
Response Campaign 36% 84% 28%
The Wilderness Downtown 29% 77% 25%
Pay with a Tweet 31% 74% 28%

About the IPG Media Lab
At the center of Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands network, the IPG Media Lab helps clients and agencies put innovation into action. By creating opportunities for marketers to identify, formulate and test new approaches, the Lab mitigates risk through a process outside the normal campaign methodology. Employing creative thinking and a suite of proprietary research tools to understand how emerging media impacts purchase decisions, the Lab provides hands-on guidance, digital media insight and measurable results to clients. Their product framework is built around three fundamental pillars: Diagnosing Opportunity, Prioritization and Deployment.

About Affectiva
Founded in 2009, Affectiva grew out of collaborative research at the MIT Media Lab to help people on the autism spectrum. It applies innovations in affective computing to help understand how people feel in order to improve products and experiences. Affectiva’s customers include leading companies and universities conducting market and clinical research. Its products include the Q™ Sensor wearable biosensor and Affdex facial expression recognition technology.

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