Topic: Unveiling Advertising Effectiveness through Emotional Resonance

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Topic: Unveiling Advertising Effectiveness through Emotional Resonance
Topic: Unveiling Advertising Effectiveness through Emotional Resonance
Dr Nicolas Hamelin, Associate Professor of Marketing and Neuroscience Lab Director, S P Jain School of Global Management.
In the contemporary setting, characterized by an incessant barrage of advertisements and the transient nature of human attention, the imperative to apprehend the dynamics of effective communication has assumed unprecedented significance. The modern-day denizen of the United States, ensconced within an ecosystem inundated with stimuli, contends with an avalanche of over 350 advertisements daily, commanding an aggregate temporal investment of approximately 590 minutes (SJ Insight, 2021). However, a stark actuality emerges wherein only 153 of these advertisements succeed in momentarily capturing attention, starkly underscoring the profound challenge advertisers confront in breaking through the cacophony (Teixeira, 2014). The formidable dimensions of this challenge come cloaked in substantial financial outlays, as Teixeira aptly notes, delineating the substantial monetary resources required to secure a modicum of consumer focus within this clamorous landscape. In this crucible of heightened competition, crafting resonant and efficacious advertisements becomes increasingly pronounced.
 
Yet, the role of advertising extends beyond its traditional boundaries. Beyond the realms of product promotion and brand establishment, advertising serves as a potent tool within the arena of societal transformation. This evolution is epitomized by the domain of social marketing—a subfield of marketing that orchestrates campaigns not solely to serve financial interests but also to catalyse positive shifts within the societal fabric. My research group also focuses on pro-environmental behavior, anti-corruption measures, as well as citizen engagement for sustainability.
 
Advertising effectiveness can be measured along five dimension: attitudes toward advertisements, brand perceptions, behavioural intentions, actual actions, and memory recall. This research aims to shed light on the impact of emotionally charged advertisements on individual behavioural intentions and memory recall. 
 
We deliberately choose to center our research on the effectiveness of safe driving advertisements stems from the notable human and economic toll attributed to unsafe driving. This toll emphasizes the urgency underlying our investigation, particularly when considering the advertising landscape in India. In this context, the subcontinent faces an alarming annual tally of over 150,000 road traffic fatalities (World Health Organization, 2018), thereby underscoring the critical importance of fostering secure driving behaviours and attitudes. 

 

We decided to test the effect of high emotional versus low emotional ads on driving attitude. The experiment involved a group of 60 students, evenly divided between genders (50% males and 50% females). Participants were shown two videos—one with high emotional content and another with low emotional content. These visual stimuli revolve around road safety campaigns in the United Kingdom. To investigate the participants’ unconscious emotional responses, the study employs the computational capabilities of the GFK-EMO Scan, a facial recognition software that overcomes limitations often associated with traditional self-report methods.
 
To establish a connection between emotional responses captured by the GFK-EMO Scan and the intentions expressed in the survey responses, we chose to administer a survey immediately after the participants viewed the videos and the same survey two weeks later. Our specific focus was on addressing speeding habits.  This survey drew inspiration from the 2011 National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behavior (NSSAB) conducted by Schroeder, Kostyniuk, and Mack (2013).
 
Our findings shows that participants exposed to high-emotion videos exhibit a greater inclination to adopt safe driving behaviors and display enhanced memory recall compared to those exposed to low-emotion stimuli. This verification highlights the notable influence of high-emotion advertisements in leaving stronger impressions on behavioral intentions and memory retention. Conversely, the impact of low-emotion advertisements diminishes, underscoring their constrained ability to stimulate intentions and memory capacities. 
 
This research shows the crucial role of emotions. Emotion influence intentions and memory, forming the basis for lasting changes in behavior. In a world where attention is highly valued, this study demonstrates the long-lasting impact of emotionally driven communication. The neural mechanisms that govern emotional responses are orchestrated through the involvement of the amygdala, a central brain structure responsible for processing emotions. The emotional impulses evoked activate the amygdala, and its intricate connection with the hippocampus enhances the efficiency of memory encoding and retrieval. The coordinated interplay among the amygdala, neocortex (which plays a role in intention and behavior), and the hippocampus creates an environment in which emotions amplify the profound impact of advertising stimuli. 
 
As advertising evolves, this insight guides the creation of influential campaigns that extend beyond the moment. This research underscores the significant potential of advertising as a catalyst for positive societal change, contributing to a safer and more enlightened world.