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A Preview of the
Journal of Advertising Research

June 2015 (Vol. 55, Issue 2)

How Neuroscience Works In Advertising


Letter from the CEO
Honoring Insight Informed by Science
Gayle Fuguitt, CEO & President of the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), applauds the work of the industry’s prolific thought leaders and research scientists, citing, among others, the work of Horst Stipp and Leslie A. Wood, 2015 ARF Great Mind Award recipients and contributors to the current issue of JAR. “Science must be complemented by the art of insight, great communication, and leadership to drive growth and change in today’s complex media environment,” she notes.

Editor’s Desk
How Does Neuroscience Work in Advertising?
“It’s absolutely certain that neuroscience will be an integral part of the future of marketing research,” writes Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Precourt. In his summary of the contributed articles to the current issue’s special theme section on neuroscience in advertising, he adds, “Not only will [neuroscience] open new doors to academic research, but it also will provide new sets of natural grounding for people whose everyday job is to determine how to better connect with consumers.”

Numbers, Please
The Rise of the Digital Omnivore:
What It Means for Advertisers, Publishers, and App Developers

Mobile engagement represents about 60 percent of all time online. About 85 percent of that figure involves an app. At the same time, there’s no evidence that consumers have forgone use of the desktop (i.e. also laptop) computer. Citing these, and many more head-turning statistics, comScore’s Gian Fulgoni insists, “Mobile-advertising strategy must be viewed as essential, not experimental…. The time is now to increase mobile-advertising spending.” However, he cautions, keep the desktop on the radar: “A cohesive cross-platform advertising strategy (which Fulgoni proposes in detail) is where the outsize returns of tomorrow will be obtained.”

Speaker’s Box
The Evolution of Neuromarketing Research: From Novelty to Mainstream –
How Neuro Research Tools Improve Our Knowledge about Advertising

To understand neuromarketing fully, it’s important to assess today’s practice in the context of how far researchers have come in developing the tools that potentially can predict advertising effectiveness. And, while we might be somewhat biased, no one is more qualified to speak on this topic than Horst Stipp, the anchorman of two remarkable programs—the ARF’s “Neuro 1” and “Neuro 2” projects. Connecting with this JAR issue’s special theme section, “How Neuroscience Works in Advertising,” Stipp summarizes the development of neuroscience-based marketing research—from its novelty stages just five years ago to its current mainstream status—and predicts this process of innovation will continue. Moreover, Stipp adds, as long as “best practices are implemented, the methods will provide additional data points and insights that lead to better decision-making processes.”


Measuring the Long-Term Effects of Television Advertising
Nielsen-CBS Study Uses Single-Source Data to Reassess the “Two-Times” Multiplier
For the past quarter century, the so-called “two-times” multiplier has been used broadly to justify advertising spending; marketers essentially have doubled the short-term effects of advertisements found in their marketing-mix models to estimate the long-term benefits. But at a June 2014 ARF conference, Leslie A. Wood (Nielsen Catalina Solutions) and David F. Poltrack (CBS Corp.), suggested the long-term effects of television advertising, in fact, could be stronger than what the industry rule of thumb had demonstrated. Their study ‘stirred the pot’ of the advertising research community, and in 2015 the authors updated it testing single-source household data across 23 consumer packaged good brands and 31 television advertising campaigns. This time the result was only slightly better than the “two-times” multiplier had shown, but even more important was the insight that came with it, and the establishing of yet more questions for future research.

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC): Why Does It Fail?
An Analysis of Practitioner Mental Models Exposes Barriers of IMC Implementation
In collaboration with a major Swedish retailer and its IMC partners over a two-year period, Mart Ots (Jönköping International Business School, Sweden) and Gergely Nyilasy, (University of Melbourne, Australia) interviewed scores of marketing practitioners to find out why IMC—a widely accepted strategic process for brand communications—often doesn’t work. Their findings uncovered four basic “mental models”—unique combinations of beliefs and recipes for pragmatic action. Those models, in turn, revealed four aspects of IMC implementation dysfunction: miscommunication, compartmentalization, loss of trust, and decontextualization. With the insights gained from this intense study, professors Ots and Nyilasy provide practical recommendations for managers to overcome such dysfunction.

The Brand in the Boardroom:
How Ogilvy & Mather Reinvented the Marketing Principles of Brand Valuation
Joanna Seddon, president of OgilvyRED (Ogilvy & Mather’s global brand consulting unit) is on a mission to morph what she refers to as “often dubious methodology” of brand valuation into a transparent, accessible tool. The goal: to guide and inform every aspect of brand building and provide the financial underpinning for the many decisions that propel business growth. “Exploiting the power to link brand to money, Seddon writes, provides a financial justification for marketing decisions.” Furthermore, “this enhanced brand valuation approach makes it easier to make the case for marketing investment by demonstrating anticipated business impact.”

What Drives Advertising Success on Facebook? An Advertising-Effectiveness Model:
Measuring the Effects on Sales of “Likes” and Other Social-Network Stimuli
Reflecting changes brought on by emerging online channels, this research builds on the seminal framework (Vakratsas and Ambler, 1999) for studying how advertising works. Using 12 months of data from a prominent German e-commerce retailer, the authors Malte Brettel (RWTH Aachen University, Germany), Jens-Christian Reich and Jose M. Gavilanes (RWTH Aachen University/Boston Consulting Group), and Tessa C. Flatten (TU Dortmund) analyzed four types of advertising stimuli on Facebook to determine their short-term and long-term impact on sales. Those stimuli types are “stream” (news feed) impressions, page views, “Likes,” and user contributions. Access to the data provided an opportunity to integrate a direct-aggregation approach that accounted for time lags between user activity and sales effects. Among other findings, the authors learned that user’s click on “Like” is a strong long-term sales driver, while “stream” impressions have a significantly negative sales impact.

Special Section:
How Neuroscience Works In Advertising

How Reliable Are Neuromarketers’ Measures of Advertising Effectiveness?
Data from Ongoing Research Holds No Common Truth among Vendors
“Buyers … of new neuromarketing methods that potentially can predict advertising effectiveness face a daunting process,” write Duane Varan and Steven Bellman (Murdoch University/Audience Labs), Annie Lang (Indiana University/The Media School), Patrick Barwise, (London Business School), and René Weber (University of California, Santa Barbara). Indeed, these buyers must choose from among what the authors describe as a “confusing range of often proprietary differences in methodology.” In this assessment of vendors’ offerings that were analyzed in the ARF Neuro 1 and Neuro 2 initiatives, Varan and his colleagues call for greater transparency about the constructs measured and methodologies used. “Neuro vendors have cultivated an expectation that their measures are more reliable than traditional measures because they measure neurological and biological processes. The results of the current study question these strong claims and suggest methods that advertisers can use to choose their vendor carefully.” The authors conclude: Greater transparency “will advance the field of consumer neuroscience.”

A Psychophysiological Approach for Measuring Response to Messaging:
How Consumers Emotionally Process Green Advertising
Psychophysiology, briefly, is the study of the relationship between the mind and the body. In this article, the authors—Myriam Martínez-Fiestas (ESAN, Graduate School of Business, Peru), María Isabel Viedma del Jesus, Juan Sánchez-Fernández, and Francisco J. Montoro-Rios (University of Granada, Spain)—investigate whether a message could activate the consumer’s defensive motivational system (resulting in inaction) or the appetitive motivational system (inspiring positive physical action). The findings, the research proposes, would offer evidence as to what type of message is better at provoking the kind of emotion that would increase the potential of such campaigns to elicit positive changes in behavior. And, the authors suggest, these insights “open a line of research to assist the creation of more effective advertising campaigns by offering evidence about what type of stimulation is the most effective to provoke emotion that inspires real behavior changes.”

Visual Processing and Need for Cognition Can Enhance Event-Sponsorship Outcomes:
How Sporting Event Sponsorships Benefit from the Way Attendees Process Them
Are targeted consumers making the right connection between the sporting event and the sponsor? Angeline G. Close (The University of Texas at Austin), Russell Lacey (Xavier University), and T. Bettina Cornwell (University of Oregon) studied the way attendees visually and cognitively process sponsorship at sporting events, specifically, professional tennis. One factor, “need for cognition” is a personality variable that reflects the extent to which consumers engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive activities. Using tools of neuroscience, the researchers found that “individual differences in visual processing and need for cognition played significant roles in how an attendee perceived the sponsor’s products.” Furthermore, they add, overall results of this study “showed how attendees who rated the event as ‘higher quality’ had a higher attitude toward the sponsor’s products that were showcased at the tournament. That relationship was moderated by visual-processing style; that is, attendees who were visual processors showed an especially strong link from event quality to enhanced attitude.”

The Power of Direct Context as Revealed by Eye Tracking:
A Model Tracks Relative Attention to Competing Editorial and Promotional Content
Using eye tracking technology, Edith G. Smit and Sophie C. Boerman (University of Amsterdam), and Lex van Meurs (GfK/Netherlands) analyzed the way consumers view advertisements on a printed magazine “spread” (that opens up to two consecutive pages). Their focus was on “direct context”— the entire content an observer can view at the same time he or she views an advertisement. Expanding on earlier research, they focused on fixations within an advertisement during the first five seconds and attention paid to the combined main elements of an advertisement. And, among other findings, the researchers upended a key tenet of magazine publishing—that the top half of a right-hand page is the most desirable advertising position. In fact, they found: “Although the top of the page traditionally has been regarded as the most effective placement for an advertisement, the current study showed the opposite: Eye fixations were drawn to the bottom of the page.” Further, “context characteristics appeared to influence the visual attention paid to magazine advertisements, especially visual attention paid to the three main elements of advertisements: color, page, and the amount of text in the direct context…”. The color red, for example, “directs less attention to the main elements of the advertisement and more to the context.” Underscoring the theme of this special section of JAR, this study demonstrates how fully new neurologically empowered tools can offer a fresh look at the way we understand and use legacy media.