Oz Neuro-Science Trial Aims to Prove Shorter Ads Are Better

12 September 2008

SYDNEY: Australian public service broadcaster SBS is hoping 'brain science' will persuade major advertisers that its shorter commercial breaks featuring fewer brands are better liked and remembered by TV viewers.

The broadcaster commissioned Melbourne researcher Neuro-Insight to monitor the brain activity of 200 viewers, split between the short ad breaks offered by SBS - specifically during its motoring show Top Gear - and a typical break carried by its three commercial rivals.

SBS has been allowed to show ads during programmes for just two years, but is limited to five minutes per hour. This compares with thirteen minutes per hour enjoyed by commercial channels such as Ten and Seven.

But SBS says its research reveals that viewers watching its 'low-clutter' ad breaks showed a 255% increase in their emotional attachment to brands, compared with those exposed to a longer break on a commercial network.

Comments SBS director of commercial affairs Richard Finlayson: "We know intuitively and from talking with our clients that they all accept there is additional value in having a low-clutter environment.

"But we also know that's not how the media industry buys media. We need proof points. This research delivers that."

Adds Finlayson: "What we've been successfully achieving over the past two years is giving the industry a reason to pay us the same rates they pay everyone else. Our low-clutter environment is at the forefront of that."

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff