That one time when George Clooney wasn’t everybody’s cup of coffee

Sometimes, it may not be enough to measure the subconscious responses to ad materials. A good researcher follows their instinct and ensures that the data team also conducts a proper segmentation of the results. When working with the Nespresso ad, we didn’t simply focus on average results but measured them by gender, completely changing the final result.

Case overview

Client: Nespresso
Research method: bioNavi Neuro Test
Research method: EEG, GSR, eye-tracking
When: 2016
Goal: measuring if men and women are equally emotionally engaged when watching the new Nespresso’s ad


  • high engagement among women from the very beginning resulted in a positive reaction when the logo was shown
  • men experienced an adverse reaction when the actor was brushed off
  • the ad is substantially more appealing to women

Client’s challenge:

Nespresso launched a new campaign, introducing the concept of coffee capsules. The goal of our research was to make sure if Nespresso chose the right actor for the role and if the ad is equally appealing to men and women, resulting in overall high emotional engagement and willingness to buy the product.


We presented the advertisement to each respondent from the target audience. Their subconscious reactions were measured with bioNavi equipment: EEG, eye-tracking, and GSR. We separated the results iby the gender.

Results by gender


  • Emotional engament scores from bioNavi clearly indicate that female respondents enjoy watching scenes starring George Clooney. We observe subconscious positive reactions to almost all of the scenes with the actor. Although when an attractive woman appears (0:22), reactions become neutral. However, right after Clooney shows up again, a re-engagement is observed.
  • High engagement from the very beginning influenced a positive response at the end of the ad, where the brand is shown. An ad needs to cause positive reactions when presenting the logo. Such a result might indicate a higher willingness to buy.
  • Women are the perfect target group for this ad.


  • Men did not appreciate George Clooney as much as women did, and their reactions mainly were neutral.
  • Moreover, when an attractive female turns down Clooney, men have a strong negative reaction. It seems a male audience does not appreciate watching men being rejected.
  • bioNavi emotional engagement scores indicate that the reception of previous scenes impacts the brand perception at the end when watching the logo is accompanied by negative emotions from the male audience.
  • This ad will not appeal to men.


bioNavi allowed us to check if the new Nespresso ad generates high engagement and positive reactions on an emotional, subconscious level. On average, it does, and it would seem this is a good ad for Nespresso’s new product. However, when we split our results by gender, we found out that the results weren’t as positive as we thought. The ad is very appealing to women, and they associate the brand logo with positive emotions, but when it comes to men — they don’t enjoy watching the leading actor quite as much. In fact, the scenario made the male audience reluctant toward the brand. Our recommendations include a follow-up campaign for the product also addressing average male needs or positioning the new product as female-friendly.
Tomasz Zając

Tomasz Zając

Consumer Neuroscience

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