Companies that publicly turned to Neuromarketing Research

On December 27, 2012


Many companies use brainimaging in order to develop more efficient ads, products or marketing materials. You can find below a few examples of how they use neuromarketing:
Yahoo! tested it’s ads with neurometrics in order to maximize the return on investment. They had a 60-second television commercial that features happy, dancing people around the world. Before spending the money to air the ad on prime-time and cable TV, as well as online, Yahoo ran it by EEG-cap-wearing consumers. The brain waves showed stimulation in the limbic system and frontal cortices of their brains, where memory and emotional thought occurs. The ad, which is part of Yahoo’s new $100 million branding campaign, rolled out in September to bring more users to the search engine.
Microsoft used neuromarketing to gauge the effectiveness of some of its campaigns on the Xbox platform (how engaged gamers are when they use an Xbox). They wanted to get a clearer picture of how stimulated the brain was during 30 and 60-second TV ads compared with in-game ads run on the Xbox. While viewing TV ads for an automotive brand, the most brain activity happened in the first half of the ad. However, when watching the Xbox Live via in-game advertising, brain activity peaked at the repeat image of the car, reinforcing the advertisement’s memorability, claims Microsoft. Ads that excite several parts of the brain are supposed to make viewers more likely to go out and buy the product advertised.
Google used neuromarketing in order to determine the effectiveness of two forms of Internet advertising for YouTube (the pre-roll ad is between 10 and 15 seconds that occurs before displaying any content, and InVideo or overlay consists of overlapping announced in content). They found that the overlay ads are more effective because the ads do not interfere with the content and the user does not leave the site, converting clicks into sales.
Facebook researched how its ad system influences the unconscious perceptions and emotions of individuals (neurological engagement).
eBay, through its online payment company Paypal, used neuromarketing and found out that promoting speed in use of their service is more emotionally appealing for the consumer than promoting information security, as it did before.
Mercedes-Benz Daimler used neuromarketing for a campaign in which the fronts of cars were simulating human faces, linking directly to the pleasure center of the brain. Sales rised with 12% in the first quarter.
Campbell‘s redesigned their soup labels. They included a more contemporary soup, spoon disappeared and vapors were added, the key elements as the user perceives what he is looking for: a hot soup with flavor and aroma. They reduced the size of their logo, typography changed its type, size and color to be more pleasing to the eye and more clear to the consumer mind.
Frito Lay tested their advertisements, products and packaging using neuromarketing. One study focused on the reactions of the women’s brains in order to find a way to be more attractive to that market. The results showed a rejection to campaigns using guilt, and women accepted the ones that were associated with health. They also found out that natural or matte colors and images of healthy ingredients on their packaging did not motivate purchase. They discovered that matte beige bags of potato chips picturing potatoes and other “healthy” ingredients in the snack don’t trigger activity in the anterior cingulate cortex – an area of the brain associated with feelings of guilt – as much as shiny bags with pictures of chips. Frito-Lay then switched out of shiny packaging in the USA. So they choosed bright packaging and images of frying. Finally, they concluded that some 30-second ads were more effective than others of 60 seconds – this discovery resulted in savings millions of dollars. Frito-Lay Chief Marketing Officer Ann Mukherjee says brain-imaging tests can be more accurate than focus groups. Frito-Lay brain-tested a commercial that traditional focus groups panned. The spot for Cheetos featured a woman taking revenge on someone in a Laundromat by putting the orange snack food in a dryer full of white clothes. Participants said they didn’t like the prank, probably because they didn’t want to look too mean-spirited to other focus group members. But EEG tests showed brain activity that suggested women loved the ad. The snack-food marketer started airing the prank ad early last year.
20th Century FOX tests the trailers of their films, video games and advertisements in outdoor advertising campaigns using neuromarketing. They found that saturation produces diminishing returns.
Unilever ice cream applied neuromarketing and found that the ice causes greater pleasure than chocolate or yogurt.
Hyundai asked for a neuromarketing study having 30 men and women in order to test a sporty silver model of 2011. The 15 men and 15 women were are asked to stare at specific parts of the vehicle, including the bumper, the windshield and the tires. Electrode-studded caps on their heads captured the electrical activity in their brains as they viewed the car for an hour. Their brain activity is supposed to show preferences that could lead to purchasing decisions. “We want to know what consumers think about a car before we start manufacturing thousands of them,” says Dean Macko, manager of brand strategy at Hyundai Motor America. Macko expects the carmaker will tweak the exterior based on the EEG brain activity reports.
Coca-Cola has their own in-house neuroscience lab, where they use neuroimaging techniques in real time while volunteer subjects watch various commercials, using the scientific method and completely unbiased neural responses to what the subjects are hearing and seeing. Ultimately, the scans spit out an arbitrary score, allowing the brand to choose which commercials, or even individual shots, are most effective in promoting their product. (And it works; the Coca-Cola “Heist” commercial linked to above was ranked third overall during Super Bowl XLIII).

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