Biometric Ad Testing - A Leading Australian Airline TVC.

Uncovering Consumer’s Subconscious Emotional Responses to an Iconic Australian Airline TVC in the Midst of the Global Health Crisis and Travel Restrictions.

Background - The Who & Why

With the current global pandemic and the national restrictions on travel, our team at Neurolytics wanted to understand the general consumers’ perception, attention, emotional responses and attitudes towards a leading Australian Airline’s (Airline X) iconic TV Commercial (TVC) and to uncover what subconscious emotional responses were triggered while consumers watched the ad while being in the midst of the current health crisis.

Research Objective - The What

The Key Research Objectives for this project were to:

  1. Examine consumers’ emotional reactions towards the ‘Airline X’ TVC;

  2. Map consumers’ visual attention toward the TVC;

  3. Identify the ad element(s) that evoke attention, cognitive processing and positive and/or negative emotions;

  4. Provide preliminary consumer insights and recommendations on the ‘Airline X’ TVC.

Research Method - The How

This project leveraged on our “Neurolytics Triangulation Technique” to derive reliable and accurate findings in a scientific manner based on years of consumer research and psychological industry knowledge. Our technique methodology combines three key research elements:

1. Biometric measures of visual attention, emotions and cognitive processing, captured using:

  • Eye Tracking: Helping understand visual patterns and viewer attention.

  • Facial Expression Analysis: Tracking micro-facial expressions as muscles move in your face indicating distinct positive and negative emotions.

  • Pupillometry: Recording pupil dilation indicating cognitive processing difficulty and cognitive load.

  • A combination of all: Combining all three biometric measures into our Neurolytics holistic algorithm, proving an accurate and precise viewer engagement response.

2. Respondent Self Reported Survey: Allowing respondents to answer a series of questions on a survey developed by Neurolytics using key trusted principles and scales from psychological academia.

3. Thematic Analysis on probing one-on-one interview: Conducting a qualitative interview to ‘dig deeper’ into the consumer’s perception and understanding of the TVC and messaging.

Research Findings - The Results

Below are the research findings of the ‘Airline X’ TVC defined by each of the three key elements of our Neurolytics Triangulation Technique:

Consumer Self Reported Survey:

  • There were no significant differences in consumer self-reported responses between ‘Other TVC’ and ‘Airline X’s’ TVC. However, ‘Airline X’s’ TVC outperformed the ‘Other TVC’ descriptively due to the well-executed, humorous storyline.

Consumer Visual Attention:

  • Faces innately attracted attention

  • Attention is attracted to and generally followed the ‘key figure’ in TVC

  • The destination and travel elements attracted attention

  • Attention was paid toward ‘Airline X’s’ branding elements

  • The brand tag-line at the end-screen was processed

Moment-by-Moment Biometric Engagement:

  • The significant trigger points of engagement in the ‘Airline X’ TVC are the depiction of the dog looking up at the toupee, the surprise expression of the office lady, and the landing of the toupee (i.e., the revelation or explanation of the bizarreness).

Biometric Emotional Responses:

  • The ‘Airline X’ TVC evoked significantly higher joy than the ‘Other TVC’ as respondents found the humorous execution to be playful and cheeky.

Moment-by-Moment Biometric Positive Emotions:

  • The destination and travel element, as well as the traveller, evoked a significantly higher level of positive emotions, suggesting that respondent enjoyed the execution and aligned to travel and flying.

  • The branding element not only attracted attention but served as a significant trigger point of positive emotion, suggesting that the TVC was effective in generating positive emotional resonance.

Moment-by-Moment Biometric Negative Emotions:

  • The scenes where the ‘key figure’ was flying through the clouds were a significant trigger point of negative emotion, possibly due to satiation toward the lengthy execution and scene of the ‘key figure’ of the TVC flying without other elements.

Qualitative Interview Thematic Analysis:

  • I love the humour of the ad (TVC) and I understand how it links to the brand

  • I can relate to the joy of travelling

  • The ad got a little boring after the ‘key figure’ aimless fly around for a long time

  • I would put more iconic destinations in the ad

  • The ad is relevant to the message (tag-line) at the end.

Conclusions and Recommendations - The Solution

Our tests provide a moment-by-moment breakdown of viewer attention and emotion, we are then able to provide concrete second-by-second recommendations about how best to optimize that particular ad. Our recommendations to enhance engagement, attention and reduce ad spend for 'Airline X' are as follows:

  • The bizarreness of the ‘Airline X’ TVC storyline and creative execution effectively engaged consumers and evoked curiosity. The revelation or explanation of the bizarreness was effective in prompting audience understanding and therefore establish a strong alignment with the brand and the joy of travelling.

  • The TVC can be shortened or converted into a strategic shorter version TVC as engagement and positive emotional responses tapered when the ‘key figure’ flew through the clouds - This, in turn, will mean a cut-down of the content to encourage maximum engagement and ultimately lead to a reduction in Ad TV spend.

  • The TVC may benefit from adding more depiction of popular iconic destinations or attractions to enhance emotional resonance and establish a gradual build-up to the revelation or explanation at the end of the TVC.

  • Even with the current travel restrictions and the global health crisis, the respondents still resonated with the ad massaging and showed significant emotional and qualitative desires to travel. We can confidently say that even with the uncertainty and strong restrictions for global travel, people still have a high desire to travel and therefor airline brands should continue to promote and advertise to consumers to keep their brand visible and relevant.

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