How to know if your ad speaks to your target audience

Volkswagen TV commercial – Alien – has a non-standard format typical to independent cinema. It has a strong, horror-like vibe to it, the effect is strengthened by dark colors, numerous dangerous situations, and minimal dialogue. The ending is funny and releases the pressure, making it an emotionally-dense ad. Our goal was to measure if this format subconsciously appeals to men and if it results in a willingness to act.

Case overview

Client: Volkswagen
Research method: bioNavi Neuro Test
Research method: EEG, GSR, eye-tracking
When: 2018
Goal: determining the emotional engagement among men watching a new Volkswagen ad

Results

  • the spot causes high activation combined with positive emotions
  • repetitive scenes eventually result in a loss of interest and negative emotions
  • neuroscientific results suggest that the ad could be cut and compressed to maintain the highest engagement

Research

We presented the Volkswagen advertisement to each respondent from the target audience. Their subconscious reactions were measured with bioNavi tools: EEG, eye-tracking, and GSR.

Results

  • The ad proved to be highly engaging, attracting men’s attention from the very start.
  • Positive engagement appears when the product is presented (Volkswagen Hands-Free Trunk Opening), and the ending is strongly stimulating.
  • However, the repetition of the same joke disengages the viewers (0:45) – negative emotions appear, reinforced by high GSR activation, implying a willingness to reject and avoid the stimulus. Most likely, consumers get irritated by numerous repetitions of very similar scenes presenting trunk opening/closing.

Summary

bioNavi allowed us to determine if the ad causes high engagement in a positive way – and it does. The positive reaction at the beginning and the end of the ad proves that the spot has met its goal – it definitely attracts male viewers. Unfortunately, a high potential to attract is partially lost in the second part of the spot. Neuro results suggest that the ad should be cut by scenes that generate negative emotions, especially when they become repetitive and mundane. Considering the results, it is worth cropping the advertisement by removing some less engaging scenes, which would allow Volkswagen to optimize costs, engage the consumers, and create a positive connection with the brand.

Tomasz Zając

Tomasz Zając

Consumer Neuroscience

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