Does Your Brain Want Shorter Ads?
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
June 28 2012 08:30 AM ET
Who wouldn't prefer to watch shorter commercials? And there may be no harm to advertisers in paring back.
New research indicates that a 30-second ad can be cut in half without losing its power of persuasion. In some cases, an edited commercial proved even more effective than the original version.
But don't get too excited — chances are you won't get fewer interruptions to your show, just more ads in the same amount of time.
The research technique used is called neuro-compression — no, this is not about back pain, but about extracting the most effective parts of an ad by measuring a viewer's brain activity.
NeuroFocus (a research facility now owned by Nielsen) has been working with CBS TV at its lab in Berkeley, Calif., to determine what really connects with viewers when it comes to ads. They claim that 99 percent of all thinking and decision-making processes are subconscious.
Researchers measure three types of brain activity associated with what they call the "buying brain" — attention, emotion and memory. By identifying the scenes in a commercial that trigger the biggest changes in your brain activity, they can edit an ad to half its original length.
"Our brains are so smart, they retain the key pieces of logic, the key pieces of the flow," Dr. A.K. Pradeep, head of NeuroFocus, said in a statement. "If you threw out all the fillers … and got to the core, it’s a lot more effective."
NeuroFocus calls the new ads "neurologically impactful," which translates to an ad that you are more likely to watch rather than switching the TV channel or opening a new tab if you're watching on your computer.
CBS will test its new short-form ads this fall on four network shows.