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UK Consumer Confidence dropped by one point in July 2018 to -10, despite increases in both measures for people's personal financial situation.
Prevalence and clinical characteristics of chronic spontaneous urticaria in pediatric patients
We ran different ad tests during the World Cup, including using biometric testing on 21 ads. The ad that ‘won’, in terms of greatest subconscious and conscious audience response, was the Ladbrokes’s advertisement, which is driven by verbal and visual humour. But what was it that resonated so well with the audience?
According to a recent study published in the journal ‘Cerebral Cortex’, visual humour engages parts of the brain responsible for vision, and verbal humour activates the language-processing areas. These big brain areas tend to be in different hemispheres of the brain (with some exceptions) – so an ad that is working both on a visual and linguistic level is engaging both hemispheres.
Engaging both sides to the brain in a positive way (we confirmed positivity via the subjective accounts viewer gave to the Ladbrokes ad) improves the ad’s efficiency in grabbing and holding viewers’ attention, and creating a lasting impression of the brand.
Advertising needs to resonate with the audience’s current mood. While it is very hard to predict this in general, it is much easier with audiences focused on a major event. For ads aired before and during a major sporting event, for example, the audience’s mood is likely to be social, enthusiastic, emotional, and so forth.
In our test, the ads that were projecting a relaxed state of mind with representations of peaceful lifestyle elements performed very poorly. They were not in line with the audience’s prevailing mood at that particular time and therefore triggered very little subconscious engagement and subjective liking.
Similarly, such events are not the right context for ads that need the viewer to try hard in order to ‘get’ the joke or decipher the puzzle. People geed up for a big social event, and very focused on that, don’t want to be distracted by complex advertising. They respond better to the more obvious, or ‘slapstick’ type humour that doesn’t take their attention off their main purpose for watching.
Any threat to our self-esteem triggers withdrawal or prompts us to push back in defense of who we are. Therefore, advertising needs to be careful with any type of humour that is directed at people’s daily habits.
This is especially so for audiences who are in a social, festive mood in anticipation of a big sports event; they are not in the mood to see humour in the mundane, awkward moments in their lives.
In our test, the ad that portrayed that type of humour triggered relatively high emotional engagement, but the conscious responses showed it to be mainly negative. In fact, it scored 15.77 points below the average ‘performance score’ of all the ads tested before and at half time – which is a significant underperformance. In addition, it had only around half the amount of peak moments of strong emotional reaction compared to the average seen during this test. The ad was out of kilter with that audience’s present mindset and mood.
Humans love to join the dots. We are intrigued by the lack of connectedness, because we are driven to make the connection – and this holds true in advertising. While we are intrigued by disjointed scenes, or unexpected pauses in the music or visual frames, we have a certain threshold of tolerating this. This threshold is even lower during times of emotional turbulence when the audience’s minds are focused almost wholly on anticipating a major event, such as a big sports game.
Again, our test showed that ads that include high levels of these elements (70% of the total copy) can prompt frustration and disengagement in viewers. In particular, the ads that showed partial body parts – i.e. legs or arms shown only partially – or where the music or visual element was interrupted for more than a second during the ad, scored up to 20 points less than the average performance score for all the ads tested. In addition, these ads triggered hardly any peak moments of strong emotional reaction, performing up to 40 points below the average for this metric, in this test.
By layering stated responses with biometric testing, we can deliver strategic and tactical recommendations that are much more future-proofed. We find out not just what people say, but how they instinctively react – giving us the ‘what’ and also the ‘why’ on both conscious and subconscious levels. By analysing these layered findings, we get a holistic, as opposed to a one-angled, understanding of human behavior and human receptiveness in different situations. And that means you can do more successful planning, based on this better understanding.
For advertisers, the key message is that an ad that performs well during a ‘normal viewing’ situation could fail to resonate if screened around a specific type of event, where the audience is in an elevated frame of mind. To make the most of prime-time advertising, such as around a major event, we need to project the audience’s most likely mood and ensure the proposed ad dovetails with all the connotations of that mood.
GfK and Shimmer, a leading provider of wearable wireless sensor products, monitored the physiological responses of around 50 participants as they watched the live France-Peru World Cup game – including watching 21 advertisements from a variety of product categories that were shown before the game or at half time. The physiological response was recorded via a biometric device, which sits on a participant’s wrist and picks up the signals via two non-intrusive electrodes. As well as tracking the audience’s second-by-second skin response and heart rate as each advertisement played, GfK also recorded their stated response to each advertisement at the end of the session.
Findings of the GfK Consumer Climate Study for July 2018
We ran a test recently on some ads that were airing in the UK during the World Cup, all from the same product category (consumer electronics). Some of the advertisers were official World Cup sponsors; others had an alternative football sponsorship association – and we evaluated them using a new pre-test methodology that was co-created with major advertisers.
All the ads employed a football theme and the results from our unforced exposure method proved this to be a strong hook that attracted – and held – viewer notice equally well across all the ads. Strong and consistent brand name presence in each ad also led to the viewers correctly recalling which brand each ad was promoting.
However, one key thing was not quite right in the majority of these executions. While the product was always clearly shown, it was not always the hero of the ad. The football theme was the dominant attraction, which meant that viewers too often lost sight of the product’s actual features and benefits. Ultimately, the connection between the product and the sport was not always clear to the viewers.
Even more crucially, most of the ads were not driving a direct or indirect call to action – be that an interest to learn more about the product or brand, or a desire to go out and buy one.
In this test we only focused on a small proportion of each brands’ advertising activity around the World Cup – however, it’s always worth remembering that, while a brand may be relevant to the event it sponsors, that relevance needs to be clearly communicated to the viewers, in order for the brand to benefit.
Our Ad FIT method identified that the strongest performer for an ad that fascinates (grabs and holds viewers’ attention), imprints (leaves a positive, branded lasting impression) and triggers (generates a direct or indirect response from viewers) was not in this case the most ‘exciting’ execution. It was the one that clearly communicated the product’s benefits in a way that was relevant to the ‘big sports event’ theme – thereby driving a timely desire for the product.
Read our linked press release: Humorous ads trigger greater response than sporty ads screened around a World Cup game
For more information on how you can increase your ad performance with AdFIT pre-launch testing, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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GfK's Map of the Month for July illustrates the 2017 values for retail space productivity on a country-by-country basis in Europe.
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